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Use an object in a query?

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Using an Oracle object type’s instance in a query is a powerful capability. Unfortunately, Oracle’s SQL syntax doesn’t make it immediately obvious how to do it. Most get far enough to put it in a runtime view (a subquery in the FROM clause), but then they get errors like this:

SELECT	 instance.get_type()
         *
ERROR AT line 4:
ORA-00904: "INSTANCE"."GET_TYPE": invalid identifier

The problem is how Oracle treats runtime views, which appears to me as a casting error. Somewhat like the ORDER BY clause irregularity that I noted in July, the trick is complete versus incomplete syntax. The following query fails and generates the foregoing error:

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2
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4
SELECT instance.get_type() AS object_type
,      instance.to_string() AS object_content
FROM  (SELECT dependent()AS instance
       FROM   dual);

If you add a table alias, or name, to the runtime view on line 4, it works fine:

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SELECT cte.instance.get_type() AS object_type
,      cte.instance.to_string() AS object_content
FROM  (SELECT dependent() AS instance
       FROM   dual) cte;

That is the trick. You use an alias for the query, which assigns the alias like a table reference. The reference lets you access instance methods in the scope of a query. Different columns in the query’s SELECT-list may return different results from different methods from the same instance of the object type.

You can also raise an exception if you forget the open and close parentheses for a method call to a UDT, which differs from how Oracle treats no argument functions and procedures. That type of error would look like this:

SELECT cte.instance.get_type AS object_type
       *
ERROR AT line 1:
ORA-00904: : invalid identifier

It is an invalid identifier because there’s no public variable get_type, and a method is only found by using the parenthesis and a list of parameters where they’re required.

The object source code is visible by clicking on the expandable label below.

As always, I hope this helps those solving problems.

Written by maclochlainn

August 22nd, 2015 at 5:23 pm