What, specifically, will this book help you do?
Oracle’s reference manuals may describe all the features of the PL/SQL language, but they don’t tell you how to apply the technology. In fact, in some cases, you’ll be lucky to even understand how to use a given feature after you’ve made your way through the railroad diagrams. Books and training courses tend to cover the same standard topics in the same limited way. In this book, I’ll venture beyond the basics to the far reaches of the language, finding the nonstandard ways that a particular feature can be tweaked to achieve a desired result.
You don’t spend your days and nights writing PL/SQL modules so that you can rise to a higher plane of existence. You use PL/SQL to solve problems for your company or your customers. In this book, I try hard to help you tackle real-world problems, the kinds of issues developers face on a daily basis (at least those problems that can be solved with mere software). To do this, I’ve packed the book with examples—not just small code fragments, but substantial application components that you can apply immediately to your own situations. There is a good deal of code in the book itself, and much more on the accompanying web site. In a number of cases, I use the code examples to guide you through the analytical process needed to come up with a solution. In this way you’ll see, in the most concrete terms, how to apply PL/SQL features and undocumented applications of those features to a particular situation.
PL/SQL and the rest of the Oracle products offer the potential for incredible development productivity. If you aren’t careful, however, this capability will simply let you dig yourself into a deeper, darker hole than you’ve ever found yourself in before. I would consider this book a failure if it only helped programmers write more code in less time; I want to help you develop the skills and techniques to build applications that readily adapt to change and that are easily understood and maintained. I want to teach you to use comprehensive strategies and code architectures that allow you to apply PL/SQL in powerful, general ways to the problems you face.