Control structure, PL-SQL Programming

Control Structures

The Control structures are the most important PL/SQL extension to the SQL. Not only does PL/SQL let you manipulate Oracle data, it lets you process the data using iterative, conditional, and sequential flow-of-control statements like IF-THEN-ELSE, WHILE-LOOP, FOR-LOOP, EXIT-WHEN, and GOTO. Together, these statements can handle any situation.

Conditional Control

Frequently, it is necessary to take alternative actions depending on the circumstances. The IF THEN-ELSE    statement executes a sequence of statements conditionally. The IF  clause checks the condition; the THEN clause defines what to do if the condition is true; the ELSE clause defines what to do when the condition is false or null.

Consider the program below, that process a bank transaction. Before permitting you to withdraw $500 from account 3, it makes sure that the account has sufficient funds to cover the withdrawal. If the fund is available, the program debit the account. If not, the program inserts a record into an audit table.

-- available online in file 'examp2'


acct_balance NUMBER(11,2);

acct CONSTANT NUMBER(4) := 3;

debit_amt CONSTANT NUMBER(5,2) := 500.00;


SELECT bal INTO acct_balance FROM accounts

WHERE account_id = acct


IF acct_balance >= debit_amt THEN

UPDATE accounts SET bal = bal - debit_amt

WHERE account_id = acct;



(acct, acct_balance, 'Insufficient funds');

-- insert account, current balance, and message




A sequence of statements that uses query results to select an alternative action is common in database applications. Another common sequence inserts/deletes a row only if an associated entry is found in other table. You can pack these common sequences into a PL/SQL block using conditional logic. This can improve the performance and simplify the integrity checks built into Oracle Forms applications.

Iterative Control

The LOOP statements execute a sequence of statements multiple times. You put the keyword LOOP  before the first statement in the sequence and the keywords END LOOP  after the last statement in the sequence. The example below shows the simplest kind of loop, that repeats a sequence of statements repeatedly:


-- sequence of statements


The FOR-LOOP statement specifies a range of integers, after that execute a sequence of statements once for every integer in the range. For e.g., assume that you are a producer of custom-made cars and that each car has a serial number. To keep the track of which customer buys each car, you might use the FOR loop as shown:

FOR i IN 1..order_qty LOOP

UPDATE sales SET custno = customer_id

WHERE serial_num = serial_num_seq.NEXTVAL;


The WHILE-LOOP statement associates a condition with a series of statements. Before every iteration of the loop, the condition is calculated. When the condition is true, the chain of statements is executed, afterward control resumes at the top of the loop. And if the condition is false or null, the loop is bypassed and control passes to the next statement.

In the example below, you find the first employee who has a salary over $4000 and is higher in the chain of the command than employee 7902:

-- available online in file 'examp3'


salary emp.sal%TYPE;

mgr_num emp.mgr%TYPE;

last_name emp.ename%TYPE;

starting_empno CONSTANT NUMBER(4) := 7902;


SELECT sal, mgr INTO salary, mgr_num FROM emp

WHERE empno = starting_empno;

WHILE salary < 4000 LOOP

SELECT sal, mgr, ename INTO salary, mgr_num, last_name

FROM emp WHERE empno = mgr_num;


INSERT INTO temp VALUES (NULL, salary, last_name);



The EXIT-WHEN statement completes a loop if further processing is not possible or undesirable. When the EXIT statement is encountered, the condition in the WHEN clause is checked. If the condition is true, the loop completes and control passes to the next statement. In the example below, the loop completes when the value of total exceeds 25,000:



total := total + salary;

EXIT WHEN total > 25000; -- exit loop if condition is true


-- control resumes here

Sequential Control

The GOTO statement branch to an unconditionally label. The label, an undeclared identifier enclosed by double angle brackets, should precede an executable statement or a PL/SQL block. If executed, the GOTO statement transfers the control to the labeled statement or block, as shown:

IF rating > 90 THEN

GOTO calc_raise; -- branch to label




IF job_title = 'SALESMAN' THEN -- control resumes here

amount := commission * 0.25;


amount := salary * 0.10;


Posted Date: 10/2/2012 1:46:41 AM | Location : United States

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