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Using Built-In SQL and PL/SQL Functions
Oracle Tips by Burleson

One of the nice things about SQL and PL/SQL is the number of built-in functions that Oracle provides. This appendix provides explanations and examples for the most commonly used built-in functions. (You’ll also find some other useful functions that Oracle didn’t take the time to include.)

Single-Row SQL Functions

This is the largest and most varied group of SQL functions. Functions within this group can operate only on the values contained within a single-row. Single-row functions can be sorted by functionality and the datatype of their parameters. In most aspects, single-row functions closely resemble stored functions. For purposes of this appendix, I’ve divided the most commonly used single-row SQL functions into five groups: conversion, alphabetic, date, numeric, and miscellaneous.

Examples of each function are included. In some instances, the functions are illustrated like this:

chr (97)

This is a call to the function that can appear in one of two places:

  Inside a DML statement:

SELECT chr (97)
FROM   <table>;

In this instance, <table> can be the name of any table to which you have access. You can also use DUAL here. DUAL is a dummy table recognized by the system for the express purpose of retrieving a value.

  On the right side of an expression in a PL/SQL block:

vDelimiter := chr (25);

In this instance, the output of the function will be assigned to the variable vDelimiter.

In other instances, the examples utilize a DML statement or excerpt from a PL/SQL block. This indicates that the function calls must be used in the context shown in the example.

This is an excerpt from the book "High Performance Oracle Database Automation" by Jonathan Ingram and Donald K. Burleson, Series Editor.


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