Oracle Corporation
Best Practice PL/SQL
with Steven Feuerstein

Steven answers your questions about PL/SQL programming and best practices from a practical implementation point of view.

Steven Feuerstein is an expert on the Oracle PL/SQL language. He is the author or coauthor of nine books on PL/SQL (all from O'Reilly & Associates), including Oracle PL/SQL Programming and Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices, is a senior technology adviser for Quest Software, and has been developing software since 1980. His current interests include the development of Qnxo, an active mentoring software product. You can find out more about Steven by visiting

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Welcome to Best Practice PL/SQL!

"Oracle PL/SQL: Procedural Language extensions to the Structured Query Language." Now, there's a mouthful, and to be honest, a somewhat dull-sounding mouthful, at that. But for millions of software professionals around the world, the Oracle PL/SQL language is a source of income, satisfaction, and enjoyment. This new page on the Oracle Technology Network web site, "Best Practice PL/SQL," is intended to help you maximize all three, and to celebrate all that is PL/SQL.

Best Practice PL/SQL will focus heavily on increasing the overall quality of PL/SQL application development efforts worldwide. That is not to say, however, that we will only address issues of code quality here. Performance, new features, architecture—anything and everything having to do with PL/SQL is relevant to Best Practice PL/SQL!

I have come to believe that admitting ignorance is a critical aspect of writing good code. We can't, any of us, know all there is to know about, well, anything. And if we hide what we don't know, that ignorance can introduce bugs into our applications. So I hereby declare: there is a lot about PL/SQL I don't know, and for that reason I will be relying on my hotline to Bryn Llewellyn, Oracle PL/SQL Product Manager, to fill the gaps in my understanding so that I can be 100% accurate and responsive. (Any comments, perspectives, and especially mistakes in this column are, however, entirely my own!)

At the center of Best Practice PL/SQL is the Q & A section; on a regular basis, I will answer questions posted to me about some aspect of the PL/SQL language and your use of it. You are welcome to send me your questions, to respond to my posted answers, to offer your own suggestions on how best to use PL/SQL. But that's not all you will find of interest on Best Practice PL/SQL.

  • We will offer downloads of useful PL/SQL utilities.
  • We will post PL/SQL Knowledge Tests—challenges that will get you thinking about PL/SQL and problem solving with PL/SQL in new ways.
  • (Note on performance claims: When I publish efficiency advice intended for a general audience, it is perhaps permissible to say "often faster" or "sometimes it will be more efficient to take this approach." When you are making decisions about how to write the code for your application on your databases, however, you cannot afford this ambiguity. A particular technique either does or does not help you. So whenever you read advice and recommendations like those below, you should always build yourself a test case and run it on your database, for your schema, on your computer. )

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