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Using Ref Cursors To Return Recordsets

Since Oracle 7.3 the REF CURSOR type has been available to allow recordsets to be returned from stored procedures and functions. Oracle 9i introduced the predefined SYS_REFCURSOR type, meaning we no longer have to define our own REF CURSOR types.

Related articles.

Using Ref Cursors

The example below uses a ref cursor to return a subset of the records in the EMP table.

The following procedure opens a query using a SYS_REFCURSOR output parameter. Notice the cursor is not closed in the procedure. It is up to the calling code to manage the cursor once it has been opened.

CREATE OR REPLACE
PROCEDURE get_emp_rs (p_deptno    IN  emp.deptno%TYPE,
                      p_recordset OUT SYS_REFCURSOR) AS 
BEGIN 
  OPEN p_recordset FOR
    SELECT ename,
           empno,
           deptno
    FROM   emp
    WHERE  deptno = p_deptno
    ORDER BY ename;
END GetEmpRS;
/

The resulting cursor can be referenced from PL/SQL as follows.

SET SERVEROUTPUT ON SIZE 1000000
DECLARE
  l_cursor  SYS_REFCURSOR;
  l_ename   emp.ename%TYPE;
  l_empno   emp.empno%TYPE;
  l_deptno  emp.deptno%TYPE;
BEGIN
  get_emp_rs (p_deptno    => 30,
              p_recordset => l_cursor);
            
  LOOP 
    FETCH l_cursor
    INTO  l_ename, l_empno, l_deptno;
    EXIT WHEN l_cursor%NOTFOUND;
    DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE(l_ename || ' | ' || l_empno || ' | ' || l_deptno);
  END LOOP;
  CLOSE l_cursor;
END;
/

The cursor can be used as an ADO Recordset.

Dim conn, cmd, rs

Set conn = Server.CreateObject("adodb.connection")
conn.Open "DSN=TSH1;UID=scott;PWD=tiger"

Set cmd = Server.CreateObject ("ADODB.Command")
Set cmd.ActiveConnection = conn
cmd.CommandText = "get_emp_rs"
cmd.CommandType = 4 'adCmdStoredProc

Dim param1
Set param1 = cmd.CreateParameter ("deptno", adInteger, adParamInput)
cmd.Parameters.Append param1
param1.Value = 30

Set rs = cmd.Execute

Do Until rs.BOF Or rs.EOF
  -- Do something
  rs.MoveNext
Loop

rs.Close
conn.Close
Set rs     = nothing
Set param1 = nothing
Set cmd    = nothing
Set conn   = nothing

The cursor can also be referenced as a Java ResultSet.

import java.sql.*;
import oracle.jdbc.*;

public class TestResultSet  {
  public TestResultSet() {
    try {
      DriverManager.registerDriver (new oracle.jdbc.OracleDriver());
      Connection conn = DriverManager.getConnection("jdbc:oracle:oci:@w2k1", "scott", "tiger");
      CallableStatement stmt = conn.prepareCall("BEGIN get_emp_rs(?, ?); END;");
      stmt.setInt(1, 30); // DEPTNO
      stmt.registerOutParameter(2, OracleTypes.CURSOR); //REF CURSOR
      stmt.execute();
      ResultSet rs = ((OracleCallableStatement)stmt).getCursor(2);
      while (rs.next()) {
        System.out.println(rs.getString("ename") + ":" + rs.getString("empno") + ":" + rs.getString("deptno")); 
      }
      rs.close();
      rs = null;
      stmt.close();
      stmt = null;
      conn.close();
      conn = null;
    }
    catch (SQLException e) {
      System.out.println(e.getLocalizedMessage());
    }
  }

  public static void main (String[] args) {
    new TestResultSet();
  }
}
If you are using a version of Oracle before 9i, then create the following package and replace any references to SYS_REFCURSOR with TYPES.cursor_type.
CREATE OR REPLACE PACKAGE types AS 
  TYPE cursor_type IS REF CURSOR;
END Types;
/

11g Updates

Oracle 11g allows the two-way conversion between ref cursors to DBMS_SQL cursors, as described here.

12c Updates

Oracle 12c allows implicit statements results, similar to that seen in Transact-SQL, as described here.

For more information see:

Hope this helps. Regards Tim...

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