I am sure you are familiar with Stored Procedures. Almost every major database vendor supports it. They are program units that are precompiled and stored inside the database. Since the program is inside the database, it is tightly coupled with the database SQL language constructs. This and the precompiled nature of these programs, make the database access faster. So, even if you are writing external programs that access the database, you will benefit from coding and combining the database operations in stored procedures. This saves a lot of back and forth and thus network traffic. Since version 7, Oracle has support for Stored Procedures. These programs are coded a in native language called PL/SQL.
Since Oracle 8i, Oracle supports coding and running similar procedures (program units) written in Java. Like PL/SQL procedures, these programs are precompiled and stored inside the database and are known as Java Stored Procedures. The JAVASPs(1) are stored as classes (in blob fields) and when invoked they are run inside a JVM that runs within Oracle database. Prior to Oracle 10g, they needed to be wrapped inside a PL/SQL procedure or package. Since Oracle 10g, you can actually invoke Java classes directly from SQL (just the same way you call a PL/SQL function in a SQL).
JavaSPs are different from regular java programs in that they actually run inside a VM within the database. There are a few restrictions while coding a JAVASP.
Building and Deploying Java SP
To write and build the Java stored procedures, you can use your standard Java development environment. I use eclipse to develop and Ant to build it
build_LATAXSP.xml has steps to compile java classes and build jar file.
Deploying Java SP
At this point the jar file is ready to be deployed to Oracle. Typically we pass this step onto the DBA who will then load the jar into Oracle Database instance. But during development, developer can load these themselves using the loadjava utility. This is typically available on the machine where the database is running. (Remember, it is run by DBAs?). In our case we have the Oracle databases running on Unix boxes, so we have loadjava utility available there. I upload the file to Unix and run loadjava. While uploading make sure it’s in binary mode.
Below screenshot shows a sample run of loadjava command on Unix.
In this example, I loaded all the classes in a jar file, to the database. As shown there were 24 classes and 2 resources loaded and there were no errors. If the command failed to load the Java classes, you will see an error message here. The first time around, all the classes files are loaded. Next successive load of the same jar file, will load only classes that have been modified since the last load.
Verifying the load
To view the objects in Oracle, following SQLs can be used:
select * from all_objects where object_type = ‘JAVA CLASS’ and owner = <owner>;
select * from user_objects where object_type = ‘JAVA CLASS’;
To see a little more detail about the Java stored procs, use
SELECT * FROM user_java_classes; — this lists java procs for the user.
Earlier I posted about displaying contents of the resources files (text files) loaded above.
(1) Oracle actually refers to Java Stored Procedure as JSP. To avoid confusion with Java Server Pages, I prefer JavaSP.