Chapter 17. Procedures, Functions, and Parameters

Earlier parts of this book have explored in detail all of the components of the PL/SQL language: cursors, exceptions, loops, variables, and so on. While you certainly need to know about these components when you write applications using PL/SQL, putting the pieces together to create well-structured, easily understood, and smoothly maintainable programs is even more important.

Few of our tasks are straightforward. Few solutions can be glimpsed in an instant and immediately put to paper or keyboard. The systems we build are usually large and complex, with many interacting and sometimes conflicting components. Furthermore, as users deserve, demand, and receive applications that are easier to use and vastly more powerful than their predecessors, the inner world of those applications becomes correspondingly more complicated.

One of the biggest challenges in our profession today is finding ways to reduce the complexity of our environment. When faced with a massive problem to solve, the mind is likely to recoil in horror. Where do I start? How can I possibly find a way through that jungle of requirements and features?

A human being is not a massively parallel computer. Even the brightest of our bunch have trouble keeping track of more than seven tasks (plus or minus two) at one time. We need to break down huge, intimidating projects into smaller, more manageable components, and then further decompose those components into individual programs ...

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