UTL_RAW: Manipulating Raw Data

The UTL_RAW package contains a set of programs that allow you to manipulate raw data. This package was originally written as a component of the Oracle Server’s advanced replication option, and it supported procedural replication of data across different NLS (National Language Support) language databases. By converting data to RAW, the remote procedure calls would not perform NLS conversion, thus preserving the nature of some special data. The functions included in this package actually go beyond this original functionality and provide a toolkit for the manipulation of raw data that is not otherwise available in the Oracle Server product. These functions perform a number of special operations: conversion and coercion, slicing and dicing of raw data, and bit-fiddling, all described in the next section.

Other than replication support, there are a number of advantages Oracle can offer in storing raw data in the database, such as tighter integration with the rest of the application, transaction-level consistency, concurrency, and recoverability. One of the difficulties in the use of raw data in an Oracle database has been in the poor support for manipulation of this data. The UTL_RAW package provides this support.

Getting Started with UTL_RAW

The UTL_RAW package is created when the Oracle database is installed. The utlraw.sql script (found in the built-in packages source code directory, as described in Chapter 1) contains the source code for this package’s ...

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