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The DBMS_Utility Package
Oracle Tips by Burleson

There is one especially useful function in the DBMS_Utility package that merits attention. This is the Get_Time() function, which returns the current time in hundredths of seconds. If you use this function to implement time-sensitive code, make sure you are prepared for the value to roll over to 0.


The UTL_File package, implemented with Oracle 7.3, provides server-side file I/O to text files. There are several basic steps required to do file I/O with the package:

1.  Open one or more files for reading or writing using the FOpen() function.

2.  Read data from a file using the Get_Line() procedure or write data to a file using the Put_Line(), PutF(), Put(), and/or New_Line() procedures.

3.  Close files using the FClose() or FClose_All() procedures.

The package contains the following 10 procedures and functions:

  • The FClose() procedure

  • The FClose_All() procedure

  • The FFlush() procedure

  • The FOpen() function

  • The Get_Line() procedure

  • The Is_Open() function

  • The New_Line() procedure

  • The Put() procedure

  • The PutF() procedure

  • The Put_Line() procedure

Each of these procedures and functions is described in detail in the following sections. There is also a brief example of using the UTL_File package.

The FClose() Procedure

The FClose() procedure is provided to close a text file after you have finished reading data. The procedure definition is as follows:


The file_handle parameter is a pointer to an open file. This parameter is of type FILE_TYPE, a user-defined datatype in the package spec for the UTL_File package.

The FClose_All() Procedure

The FClose_All() procedure is used to close all files that are currently open. This is commonly used for cleaning up during error handling or shutdown operations. The procedure accepts no parameters.

All changes to a file are flushed from the buffer before the file is closed.

The FFlush() Procedure

The FFlush() procedure is used to force all buffered changes to files to be written to the files immediately. The procedure definition is as follows:

PROCEDURE FFlush (file_handle IN     FILE_TYPE)

The FOpen() Function

The FOpen() function is used to open a text file so that data can be read from or written to the file. The function definition is as follows:

FUNCTION FOpen (location  IN     varchar2,
                filename  IN     varchar2,
                open_mode IN     varchar2)

The location parameter identifies the directory where the file is located or where the file is to be created. The values for this parameter are constrained by an init.ora parameter. Check with your DBA to find out precisely which directories you can use with this parameter.

The open_mode parameter determines how the package will handle contents of an existing file. The values for this parameter are shown in Table 9.6.

Table 9.6 Values for the open_mode parameter of the FOpen( ) function.

Parameter Value



Append text to an existing file.


Read text from an existing file.


Write text to a new file, or write over an existing file.

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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