Category Archives: General

Not Every “Not Equals” is Equal

Yesterday I voted on the poll by @SQL Daily about using different forms for “not equals” conditions and that brought back bad (and funny) memories. Over 25 years I have always used “!=”. “Does it matter”, you might ask? Actually, it shouldn’t. But here is my story and the reason, why I was considering to change my habits and use “<>”.

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Using Subqueries and Views with PTF or SQL macros

In the last post about SQL macros in 19c I tried to use a subquery as an input for the function. And when I had some DATE calculations in a query, I got ORA-62558: Unsupported data types (DATE) The result looked somewhat confusing at first, but if you think about it, it is logical and maybe not a bug at all. You should just be very explicit while using subqueries and views(!) in this scenario. And because this behavior is not documented, it is worth sharing, I think.

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SQL macros in Oracle 19c

Now that I have created a patched Oracle database docker image with Release Update 19.8 (19.8.0.0.DBRU:200714) to play with, I can finally start testing the backport of SQL macros! (UPDATE: As of now you can play with SQL macros on Autonomous Databases in Oracle Cloud (also free tier!) and on livesql.oracle.com)

SQL Macros have been introduced in Oracle 20c. As of now, Oracle 20c is only available as preview version in Oracle Cloud. That’s why I was quite excited when Connor McDonald pointed out on Twitter that they were backported to 19c. Let’s see if it works, and how.

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Dynamic Pivot with SQL Macros in Oracle 20c

More than a year ago I blogged about my view on using Polymorphic Table Function (PTF) for dynamic pivot in Oracle 18c. Actually I was not as optimistic. The solution had at least two significant problems:

  • the function will not see any changes on the underlying data until new hard parse of the query
  • operating on bigger data sets returns multiple result rows: one per 1024 rows (the size of the row sets in PTF), thus requiring some post processing

With Oracle 20c we now have SQL macros and I was curious, whether they can help here.

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Building Hash Keys using SQL Macros in Oracle 20c

In the next post about SQL macros in Oracle 20c we look at how they could be useful for building hash keys. If you are familiar with Data Warehousing and Data Vault modelling approach, you will probably know why it can be a good idea to build hash keys or hash diffs. Anyway, we will not discuss whether or not you should use them, but rather how you can do this in Oracle in a consistent and performant way.

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Issue with the Hint ENABLE_PARALLEL_DML

Performing an ETL with large data sets, it is often a good idea to run DML in parallel. But, in contrast to parallel query or DDL, parallel DML has to be explicitly enabled. You had to issue ALTER SESSION ENABLE PARALLEL DML in the past. Starting with 12c you can enable parallel DML specifically for each query using the hint ENABLE_PARALLEL_DML. For a few years now, I’ve been using the hint now and then and was quite happy. An observation I made a few days ago can lead to a rethinking. What I could observe is that for the SQL with embedded hint a new child cursor was created each time. Let’s test it!

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Dynamic Pivot with Polymorphic Table Function?

LiveSQL is great place to start playing with new features. It provides a couple of very helpful demo scripts explaining how polymorphic table functions work. There I found a new script few days ago which uses PTF for dynamic pivot! WOW! According to my subjective perception, it seems to be one of the most desired features in Oracle SQL! But let’s have a closer look. Is this really feasible and mature enough to be used in production code?

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Polymorphic Table Functions (PTF) , Part 3 – Row Replication

In the third part of the PTF-series we learn how a PTF can change the cardinality of the input data flow: return more or less rows as in the input. We’ll use the same simple table as in the part 2 and our new task will be column transposing. We’ll still define, which columns have to stay unchanged (as we already did using the parameter cols2stay). All other columns should be displayed as key-value pairs. Continue reading

Polymorphic Table Functions (PTF) , Part 2 – More Basics With Some Deep-Dive

In the first part of PTF series we went through a very basic example removing some columns and adding a new column with a constant value. Starting from the same example we’ll do something more meaningful in the second part. How about concatenating the values of the removed columns as CSV in a new column? Continue reading

Polymorphic Table Functions (PTF) – Tinkering with Rowsets

Writing the second “basics” post on PTF I discovered, that there were much more details worth mentioning, than it would be acceptable for a “basics” post and would blow it up anyway 😉 So I decided to to separate the tests and finding in this (more deep-dive) post. Continue reading