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Oracle PL/SQL Programming, 4th Edition

If you're doing database application development in the Oracle environment, you're going to have to know PL/SQL, the company's extended query and update language. If you want your programs to exploit the special capabilities of Oracle software, you'll need to know the language well. That's where the third edition of Oracle PL/SQL Programming comes into play. It's an absolutely comprehensive reference (as well as a rather extensive tutorial) on PL/SQL, ideally suited to answering your questions about how to perform some programming tasks and reminding you of the characteristics of functions, triggers, and other elements of the database programmer's toolkit. The new edition covers calls to Java methods from within PL/SQL programs, autonomous transactions, object type inheritance, and the new Timestamp and XMLType data types. There's also more information about server internals--the way PL/SQL programs are run--than before, better enabling readers to optimize their code for fast and safe execution.

Steven Feuerstein takes care to explain, with prose and example code, the characteristics of PL/SQL elements. In explaining number conversions, for example, he explores Oracle's different ways of formatting numbers, then details the behavior of the to_number function under different conditions (with and without a specified format model, and with National Language Support information attached). It's a helpful approach that will have readers using the index to locate places in which Feuerstein mentions language elements of interest. --David Wall

Topics covered: How to use Oracle PL/SQL in all its manifestations through Oracle9i. Fundamentals of program structure (loops, cases, exceptions, etc.) and execution get attention, as do data types, transaction management, triggers, and the object-oriented aspects of the language. There's also coverage of calls to external Java and C programs.