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PL/SQL Cursor

When an SQL statement is processed, Oracle creates a memory area known as context area. A cursor is a pointer to this context area. It contains all information needed for processing the statement. In PL/SQL, the context area is controlled by Cursor. A cursor contains information on a select statement and the rows of data accessed by it.

A cursor is used to referred to a program to fetch and process the rows returned by the SQL statement, one at a time. There are two types of cursors:

  • Implicit Cursors
  • Explicit Cursors

1) PL/SQL Implicit Cursors

The implicit cursors are automatically generated by Oracle while an SQL statement is executed, if you don?t use an explicit cursor for the statement.

These are created by default to process the statements when DML statements like INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE etc. are executed.

Orcale provides some attributes known as Implicit cursor?s attributes to check the status of DML operations. Some of them are: %FOUND, %NOTFOUND, %ROWCOUNT and %ISOPEN.

For example: When you execute the SQL statements like INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE then the cursor attributes tell whether any rows are affected and how many have been affected. If you run a SELECT INTO statement in PL/SQL block, the implicit cursor attribute can be used to find out whether any row has been returned by the SELECT statement. It will return an error if there no data is selected.

The following table soecifies the status of the cursor with each of its attribute.

Attribute Description
%FOUND Its return value is TRUE if DML statements like INSERT, DELETE and UPDATE affect at least one row or more rows or a SELECT INTO statement returned one or more rows. Otherwise it returns FALSE.
%NOTFOUND Its return value is TRUE if DML statements like INSERT, DELETE and UPDATE affect no row, or a SELECT INTO statement return no rows. Otherwise it returns FALSE. It is a just opposite of %FOUND.
%ISOPEN It always returns FALSE for implicit cursors, because the SQL cursor is automatically closed after executing its associated SQL statements.
%ROWCOUNT It returns the number of rows affected by DML statements like INSERT, DELETE, and UPDATE or returned by a SELECT INTO statement.

PL/SQL Implicit Cursor Example

Create customers table and have records:

ID NAME AGE ADDRESS SALARY
1 Ramesh 23 Allahabad 20000
2 Suresh 22 Kanpur 22000
3 Mahesh 24 Ghaziabad 24000
4 Chandan 25 Noida 26000
5 Alex 21 Paris 28000
6 Sunita 20 Delhi 30000

Let’s execute the following program to update the table and increase salary of each customer by 5000. Here, SQL%ROWCOUNT attribute is used to determine the number of rows affected:

Create procedure:

  1. DECLARE
  2.    total_rows number(2);
  3. BEGIN
  4.    UPDATE  customers
  5.    SET salary = salary + 5000;
  6.    IF sql%notfound THEN
  7.       dbms_output.put_line(‘no customers updated’);
  8.    ELSIF sql%found THEN
  9.       total_rows := sql%rowcount;
  10.       dbms_output.put_line( total_rows || ‘ customers updated ‘);
  11.    END IF;
  12. END;
  13. /

Output:

6 customers updated
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

Now, if you check the records in customer table, you will find that the rows are updated.

  1. select * from customers;
ID NAME AGE ADDRESS SALARY
1 Ramesh 23 Allahabad 25000
2 Suresh 22 Kanpur 27000
3 Mahesh 24 Ghaziabad 29000
4 Chandan 25 Noida 31000
5 Alex 21 Paris 33000
6 Sunita 20 Delhi 35000

2) PL/SQL Explicit Cursors

The Explicit cursors are defined by the programmers to gain more control over the context area. These cursors should be defined in the declaration section of the PL/SQL block. It is created on a SELECT statement which returns more than one row.

Following is the syntax to create an explicit cursor:

Syntax of explicit cursor

Following is the syntax to create an explicit cursor:

  1. CURSOR cursor_name IS select_statement;;

Steps:

You must follow these steps while working with an explicit cursor.

  1. Declare the cursor to initialize in the memory.
  2. Open the cursor to allocate memory.
  3. Fetch the cursor to retrieve data.
  4. Close the cursor to release allocated memory.

1) Declare the cursor:

It defines the cursor with a name and the associated SELECT statement.

Syntax for explicit cursor decleration

  1. CURSOR name IS
  2.  SELECT statement;

2) Open the cursor:

It is used to allocate memory for the cursor and make it easy to fetch the rows returned by the SQL statements into it.

Syntax for cursor open:

  1. OPEN cursor_name;

3) Fetch the cursor:

It is used to access one row at a time. You can fetch rows from the above-opened cursor as follows:

Syntax for cursor fetch:

  1. FETCH cursor_name INTO variable_list;

4) Close the cursor:

It is used to release the allocated memory. The following syntax is used to close the above-opened cursors.

Syntax for cursor close:

  1. Close cursor_name;

PL/SQL Explicit Cursor Example

Explicit cursors are defined by programmers to gain more control over the context area. It is defined in the declaration section of the PL/SQL block. It is created on a SELECT statement which returns more than one row.

Let’s take an example to demonstrate the use of explicit cursor. In this example, we are using the already created CUSTOMERS table.

Create customers table and have records:

ID NAME AGE ADDRESS SALARY
1 Ramesh 23 Allahabad 20000
2 Suresh 22 Kanpur 22000
3 Mahesh 24 Ghaziabad 24000
4 Chandan 25 Noida 26000
5 Alex 21 Paris 28000
6 Sunita 20 Delhi 30000

Create procedure:

Execute the following program to retrieve the customer name and address.

  1. DECLARE
  2.    c_id customers.id%type;
  3.    c_name customers.name%type;
  4.    c_addr customers.address%type;
  5.    CURSOR c_customers is
  6.       SELECT id, name, address FROM customers;
  7. BEGIN
  8.    OPEN c_customers;
  9.    LOOP
  10.       FETCH c_customers into c_id, c_name, c_addr;
  11.       EXIT WHEN c_customers%notfound;
  12.       dbms_output.put_line(c_id || ‘ ‘ || c_name || ‘ ‘ || c_addr);
  13.    END LOOP;
  14.    CLOSE c_customers;
  15. END;
  16. /

Output:

1  Ramesh  Allahabad
2  Suresh  Kanpur
3  Mahesh  Ghaziabad
4  Chandan  Noida
5  Alex  Paris
6  Sunita  Delhi
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
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