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The PL/SQL language is tightly integrated with SQL.You do not have to translate between SQL and PL/SQL datatypes; a variable in PL/SQL.PL/SQL lets you write very compact code for manipulating data.In the same way that scripting languages such as Perl can read, transform, and write data from files, PL/SQL can query, transform, and update data in a database.Running a SQL query and processing the result set is as easy in PL/SQL as opening a text file and processing each line in popular scripting languages.Using PL/SQL to access metadata about database objects and handle database error conditions, you can write utility programs for database administration that are reliable and produce readable output about the success of each operation.This extensive SQL support lets you manipulate Oracle data flexibly and safely.
For information on the use of dynamic SQL, see Chapter 7, "Performing SQL Operations with Native Dynamic SQL".
Many database features, such as triggers and object types, make use of PL/SQL.
You can write the bodies of triggers and methods for object types in PL/SQL. The syntax of static SQL statements is known at precompile time and the preparation of the static SQL occurs before runtime, where as the syntax of dynamic SQL statements is not known until runtime.
This chapter introduces the main features of the PL/SQL language.
It shows how PL/SQL meets the challenges of database programming, and how you can reuse techniques that you know from other programming languages.
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As Figure 1-1 shows, you can use PL/SQL blocks and subprograms to group SQL statements before sending them to the database for execution.