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Structure of This Book

This book is separated into six parts as follows:

Part I: Working With Packages

This part introduces packages, the most important construct in PL/SQL for building reusable code and employing object-oriented design techniques. Chapter 1, PL/SQL Packages describes how and when you should create packages and explains why PL/SQL developers should learn to center their entire development process around packages Chapter 2, Best Practices for Packages presents my tried-and-true "best practices" for building packages. Chapter 3, The PL/SQL Development Spiral puts packages in the context of overall PL/SQL development by providing a tutorial on solving a typical problem in PL/SQL .

Part II: PL/Vision Overview

Chapter 4, Getting Started with PL/Vision gets you started with PL/Vision, a collection of PL/SQL packages and supporting SQL*Plus scripts that can radically change the way you develop applications with the PL/SQL language. Chapter 5, PL/Vision Package Specifications provides a brief summary of all of the specifications for the PL/Vision packages, and is marked with a thumb-tab for quick reference.

Part III: Building Block Packages

Chapters 6 through 13 describe the building block packages of PL/Vision; these are low-level packages that you can use to enhance your development -- for example, string parsers, a list manager, and an interface to PL/SQL tables.

Part IV: Developer Utility Packages

Chapters 14 through 18 describe the developer utilities of PL/Vision; these are programs that improve your PL/SQL development environment -- for example, a code generator, a powerful substitute for SHOW ERORS, and an online help delivery mechanism.

Part V: PL/Vision Plug-and-Play Packages

Chapters 19 through 22 describe the plug-and-play components of PL/Vision; these are pieces of code that can be used as is in your own applications -- for example, a high-level exception handler mechanism and a generic, reusable logging mechanism.

Part VI: Testing Your Knowledge

The appendix provides a set of exercises (and their solutions) to test your knowledge of the PL/SQL language.

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