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

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Since Oracle PL/SQL Programming was first published in 1995, it has had a busy and productive history as the “go to” text on how to use the PL/SQL language. For that, I first of all express our appreciation to all our readers.

Maintaining Oracle PL/SQL Programming as an accurate, readable, and up-to-date reference to PL/SQL has been, from the start, a big (all right, I admit it—sometimes overwhelming) job; it certainly would not have been possible without the help of many Oracle specialists, friends, and family, and of course the incredible staff at O’Reilly Media.

You will find below rather detailed thank yous for those who helped pull together the fifth edition of Oracle PL/SQL Programming. Following that, you will find an acknowledgment of the many people who were instrumental in the earlier editions.

First and foremost, I thank those who contributed chapters and/or substantial content for the book; listed alphabetically, they are Adrian Billington, Chip Dawes, Jonathan Gennick, Ron Hardman, Darryl Hurley, and Arup Nanda. As of this edition, Chip Dawes has taken over responsibility for updating a half-dozen chapters. Jonathan wrote or substantially updated six chapters in past editions. Darryl has updated the fine chapter on database triggers for several editions and contributed insights on Oracle’s internationalization features. Arup Nanda wrote the excellent chapter on security. Ron Hardman stepped up to the plate and wrote the chapter on globalization and localization. Adrian Billington provided excellent material in Chapter 21 on pipelined table functions.

New to the fifth edition, I have also invited each of our contributors to say a few words about themselves:

Adrian Billington is a consultant in application design, development, and performance tuning who has been working with Oracle databases since 1999. He is the man behind oracle-developer.net, a web site full of SQL and PL/SQL features, utilities, and techniques for Oracle developers. Adrian is also an Oracle ACE and a member of the OakTable Network. He would like to thank James Padfield (Padders), Tom Kyte, and Steven Feuerstein for inspiring him to become a better developer during his impressionable early years as an Oracle professional. He lives in the UK with his wife Anji and three children, Georgia, Oliver, and Isabella.

Chip Dawes has been building and maintaining systems on relational databases since 1988 and with Oracle since 1990. He is currently a consultant with Piocon Technologies, a Chicago-based consultancy. He enjoys working with, lecturing on, and writing about Oracle database administration, PL/SQL programming, and Business Intelligence systems. Chip is an Oracle Certified Professional and has earned computer science and aerospace engineering degrees from St. Louis University.

Jonathan Gennick is an experienced technology professional who is well-known for his Oracle database expertise. His past experience encompasses both software development and database administration. As a developer, he has always enjoyed troubleshooting and debugging. He loves working with SQL and PL/SQL, and is well-known for his books and articles on those topics. In his off hours, Jonathan enjoys a rather low-tech approach to life. He serves actively in his local church where you’ll often find him putting together crazy props such as floor-sized crossword puzzles for the class he teaches each week. He is an avid mountain-biker, riding even in the dead of winter on very cool, studded bicycle tires imported from Finland. He assists in cooking lunch at his local school. And he serves his local community as an Emergency Medical Technician for the Alger County Ambulance Service.

Ron Hardman owns AcademyOnDemand.NET, a software company for the K-12 education community. He also consults around the world on Oracle Text and Oracle globalization technologies, and has been working with Oracle both as an employee and as a customer for more than 13 years. Ron is an Oracle ACE and teaches Oracle Text, Application Express (APEX), and PL/SQL classes at his offices in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He enjoys writing about more than technology, and he will release his first historical fiction title in the spring of 2010 through his FoxRunPress.com publishing company.

Darryl Hurley has been working with Oracle technology for 20-plus years, focusing on PL/SQL and DBA work. He lives in Richmond, BC, Canada with his lovely wife Vanessa and beautiful daughter Bianca. He can be reached at .

Arup Nanda has been an Oracle DBA since 1993, touching all aspects of the job—modeling, performance troubleshooting, PL/SQL coding, backups, disaster recovery, and more. He works as a Lead DBA at a major corporation, has written about 300 articles, coauthored four books, and presented several times at conferences. He offers training sessions, engages in special projects like audits and DR, and writes about Oracle technology. He was Oracle Magazine’s 2003 DBA of the Year and is an OCP, an OTN ACE Director, and a member of the OakTable Network. He lives in Connecticut, USA, with his wife Anu and son Anish.

With such a big book, we needed lots of reviewers, especially because we asked them to test each code snippet and program in the book to keep to an absolute minimum the number of errors that made it into the printed version. I am deeply grateful to the following men and women of the Oracle PL/SQL world, who took time away from the rest of their lives to help make Oracle PL/SQL Programming the best book that it could be.

For this fifth edition, I first thank our full-book reviewers: Robert A. G. Cook and Edward Wiles. They actually read and reviewed all the chapters and measurably improved the quality of the book.

Next, I offer my deep appreciation to Bryn Llewellyn, Oracle’s PL/SQL Product Manager, and other members of the PL/SQL development team, most notably Charles Wetherell. Bryn provided crucial information and feedback on Oracle Database 11g’s new features and answered endless questions about various PL/SQL features with bottomless patience. There is no doubt that my understanding of PL/SQL and the accuracy with which I present it owe a great debt to Bryn.

I also give thanks to our other, deeply appreciated technical reviewers: Patrick Barel, Daniel Cronk, Shelley Johnson, Dwayne King, Andrew McIlwrick, Dan Norris, Alex Nuijten, Drew Smith, Mark Vilrokx, and Daniel Wong. From a non-Oracle perspective, grateful thoughts go to Joel Finkel, my favorite jack-of-all-trades who makes up for the narrow specialization that simultaneously benefits and constrains my capabilities when it comes to computers and software.

Of course, that’s just the technical content. Once I feel that we’ve got our treatment of PL/SQL “right,” it’s time for the remarkable crew at O’Reilly Media, led by my good friend, Deborah Russell, to transform our many chapters and code examples into a book worthy of the O’Reilly imprint. Many thanks to Julie Steele, editor and Loranah Dimant, production editor for the book; Rob Romano, who created the excellent figures; and the rest of the crew.

I have now had the pleasure and honor of working with Deborah Russell for 16 years, since I started cranking out pages for the first edition of Oracle PL/SQL Programming back in 1993. Surely, Debby, you must know more about PL/SQL than almost any developer in the world. If you ever need a programming job, be sure to give me a call! It has been a real joy to work with Debby, and I look forward to producing at least ten more editions of this book with her guiding the way.

And here are the many people we thanked (and continue to be grateful to) for their contributions to the first four editions of this book:

Sohaib Abassi, Steve Adams, Don Bales, Cailein Barclay, John Beresniewicz, Tom Berthoff, Sunil Bhargava, Jennifer Blair, Dick Bolz, Bryan Boulton, Per Brondum, Boris Burshteyn, Eric Camplin, Joe Celko, Gary Cernosek, Barry Chase, Geoff Chester, Ivan Chong, Dan Clamage, Gray Clossman, Avery Cohen, John Cordell, Steve Cosner, Tony Crawford, Ervan Darnell, Lex de Haan, Thomas Dunbar, Bill Dwight, Steve Ehrlich, Larry Elkins, Bruce Epstein, R. James Forsythe, Mike Gangler, Beverly Gibson, Steve Gillis, Eric Givler, Rick Greenwald, Radhakrishna Hari, Gerard Hartgers, Donald Herkimer, Steve Hilker, Bill Hinman, Gabriel Hoffman, Chandrasekharan Iyer, Ken Jacobs, Hakan Jakobsson, Giovanni Jaramillo, Dwayne King, Marcel Kratochvil, Thomas Kurian, Tom Kyte, Ben Lindsey, Peter Linsley, Vadim Loevski, Leo Lok, Debra Luik, James Mallory, Raj Mattamal, Nimish Mehta, Ari Mozes, Steve Muench, Jeff Muller, Kannan Muthukkaruppan, James Padfield, Rakesh Patel, Karen Peiser, Fred Polizo, Dave Posner, Patrick Pribyl, Nancy Priest, Shirish Puranik, Chris Racicot, Sri Rajan, Mark Richter, Chris Rimmer, Alex Romankevich, Bert Scalzo, Pete Schaffer, Scott Sowers, JT Thomas, David Thompson, Edward Van Hatten, Peter Vasterd, Andre Vergison, Zona Walcott, Bill Watkins, Charles Wetherell, Solomon Yakobson, Ming Hui Yang, and Tony Ziemba.

Finally, I thank my wife, Veva Silva, and two sons, Christopher Tavares Silva and Eli Silva Feuerstein, for their support and tolerance of so much of my time and attention.

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