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Oracle PL/SQL Programming, 5th Edition by Bill Pribyl, Steven Feuerstein

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The Optimizing Compiler

PL/SQL’s optimizing compiler can improve runtime performance dramatically, with a relatively slight cost at compile time. The benefits of optimization apply to both interpreted and natively compiled PL/SQL because optimizations are applied by analyzing patterns in source code.

The optimizing compiler is enabled by default. However, you may want to alter its behavior, either by lowering its aggressiveness or by disabling it entirely. For example, if, in the course of normal operations, your system must perform recompilation of many lines of code, or if an application generates many lines of dynamically executed PL/SQL, the overhead of optimization may be unacceptable. Keep in mind, though, that Oracle’s tests show that the optimizer doubles the runtime performance of computationally intensive PL/SQL.

In some cases, the optimizer may even alter program behavior. One such case might occur in code written for Oracle9i Database that depends on the relative timing of initialization sections in multiple packages. If your testing demonstrates such a problem, yet you wish to enjoy the performance benefits of the optimizer, you may want to rewrite the offending code or to introduce an initialization routine that ensures the desired order of execution.

The optimizer settings are defined through the PLSQL_OPTIMIZE_LEVEL initialization parameter (and related ALTER DDL statements), which can be set to 0, 1, 2, or 3 (3 is available only in Oracle Database 11g). The higher ...

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