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Exception Handling in PL/SQL


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Exception Handling in PL/SQL

PL/SQL provides a feature to handle the Exceptions which occur in a PL/SQL Block known as exception Handling. Using Exception Handling we can test the code and avoid it from exiting abruptly. When an exception occurs a messages which explains its cause is recieved.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

PL/SQL Exception message consists of three parts.

  1. Type of Exception
  2. An Error Code
  3. A message

By Handling the exceptions we can ensure a PL/SQL block does not exit abruptly.

The General Syntax for coding the exception section.

DECLARE
   Declaration section
BEGIN
   Exception section
EXCEPTION
WHEN ex_name1 THEN
   -Error handling statements
WHEN ex_name2 THEN
  -Error handling statements
WHEN Others THEN
  -Error handling statements
END;

General PL/SQL statments can be used in the Exception Block.

When an exception is raised, Oracle searches for an appropriate exception handler in the exception section. For example in the above example, if the error raised is 'ex_name1 ', then the error is handled according to the statements under it. Since, it is not possible to determine all the possible runtime errors during testing fo the code, the 'WHEN Others' exception is used to manage the exceptions that are not explicitly handled. Only one exception can be raised in a Block and the control does not return to the Execution Section after the error is handled.
If there are nested PL/SQL blocks like this.

DELCARE
  Declaration section BEGIN
  DECLARE
   Declaration section
BEGIN
  Execution section
EXCEPTION
 Exception section
END;
EXCEPTION
 Exception section
END;

In the above case, if the exception is raised in the inner block it should be handled in the exception block of the inner PL/SQL block else the control moves to the Exception block of the next upper PL/SQL Block. If none of the blocks handle the exception the program ends abruptly with an error.

Types of Exception.

There are 3 types of Exceptions.

  • Named System Exceptions :System exceptions are automatically raised by Oracle, when a program violates a RDBMS rule. There are some system exceptions which are raised frequently, so they are pre-defined and given a name in Oracle which are known as Named System Exceptions.
  • Unnamed System Exceptions :Those system exception for which oracle does not provide a name is known as unamed system exception. These exception do not occur frequently. These Exceptions have a code and an associated message.
    There are two ways to handle unnamed sysyem exceptions:
    1. By using the WHEN OTHERS exception handler, or
    2. By associating the exception code to a name and using it as a named exception.
    We can assign a name to unnamed system exceptions using a Pragma called EXCEPTION_INIT. EXCEPTION_INIT will associate a predefined Oracle error number to a programmer_defined exception name.
    Steps to be followed to use unnamed system exceptions are:
    They are raised implicitly.
    If they are not handled in WHEN Others they must be handled explicity.
    To handle the exception explicity, they must be declared using Pragma EXCEPTION_INIT as given above and handled referecing the user-defined exception name in the exception section.
  • User-defined Exceptions :Apart from sytem exceptions we can explicity define exceptions based on business rules. These are known as user-defined exceptions.
    Steps to be followed to use user-defined exceptions:
    They should be explicitly declared in the declaration section.
    They should be explicitly raised in the Execution Section.
    They should be handled by referencing the user-defined exception name in the exception section.

RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR ( )

RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR is a built-in procedure in oracle which is used to display the user-defined error messages along with the error number whose range is in between -20000 and -20999. Whenever a message is displayed using RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR, all previous transactions which are not committed within the PL/SQL Block are rolled back automatically (i.e. change due to INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statements).

RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR raises an exception but does not handle it. RAISE_APPLICATION_ERROR is used for the following reasons:

  • to create a unique id for an user-defined exception.
  • to make the user-defined exception look like an Oracle error.


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Keywords: Exception Handling, PL-SQL, pl-sql, PL-SQL Tutorial, PL-SQL tutorial pdf, history of PL-SQL, PL-SQL Administration, learn PL-SQL

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