Procedural Language/Structured Query Language

What Does Procedural Language/Structured Query Language Mean?

Procedural language/structured query language (PL/SQL) is Oracle’s implementation of a structured query language (SQL) programming language extension. PL/SQL is a powerful tool that combines SQL’s querying ability with the added bonus of programming features.

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Techopedia Explains Procedural Language/Structured Query Language

Beginning with Oracle7 in the early 1990s, Oracle first developed and offered PL/SQL. Since that time, PL/SQL has been included wherever SQL is offered. A separate Oracle PL/SQL engine inside the software is used to process the PL/SQL code.

Like SQL, PL/SQL follows a strict syntax-controlling structure. The PL/SQL code block consists of three main sections:

Declaration (optional): Declaration section introduction keyword is DECLARE.
Execution (mandatory): Main execution section introduction keyword is BEGIN.
Exception (optional): Exception handling section introduction keyword is EXCEPTION.
Thus, the layout appearance is structured as follows:

DECLARE
declaration_section
BEGIN
Program_execution
EXCEPTION
Exception_handling

Objects created only by using PL/SQL, rather than purely SQL, include functions, packages and procedures. However, most applications that run SQL code also support PL/SQL. Thus, database administrators and developers rarely separate SQL and PL/SQL code.

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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.