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Oracle PL/SQL Programming Guide to Oracle 8i Features

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1. Oracle8i: A Bounty for PL/SQL Developers

After long delays, Oracle8 i Release 8.1 went into production in 1999. Oracle8 i , the "Internet database," is packed with an astounding and intimidating array of powerful new features -- and I don't even work for Oracle any more! Hey, I don't have to use exclamation marks to describe all the great things you can do with Oracle8 i Release 8.1!

Whew. Got that out of my system. Do you ever have trouble separating the marketing from the reality with Oracle Corporation? The name of their latest release brings that issue to the fore like never before. "Oracle8 i Release 8.1" -- what does all that mean? Here is how I see it: "Oracle8 i "  -- that's the marketing piece touting the first database for the Internet. "Release 8.1" -- now they're talking my language, the actual database version. I started with Oracle 5.1 and have been steadily pleased with the improvements through Oracle6 (quickly, please) and then Oracle7. Oracle 8.0 was a .0 release and, as a result, many, many organizations around the world paid very little attention to it. Now, finally, we have Oracle 8.1 and I expect that many organizations will move relatively quickly to this release level.

1.1 What's in Oracle8i Release 8.1?

What do you get with Oracle 8.1? The list is very long and very impressive ("more than 150 new features," says Oracle). Here are some of the features I have heard about:

  • The Aurora Java(TM) Virtual Machine ( JVM) right inside the database

  • Support for Java stored procedures ( JSPs)

  • i FS, the Internet File System (not currently available at the time of publication)

  • Support for the Linux operating system

  • inter Media

  • Support for SQLJ and JDBC(TM) ( Java Database Connectivity)

  • WebDB

  • Autonomous transactions

  • Invoker rights model

  • Many performance improvements

TIP: Throughout this book, Oracle 8.1 refers to Oracle8 i Release 8.1, and PL/SQL 8.1 refers to the Oracle8 i

The Oracle8 i documentation has a section titled "Getting to Know Oracle8 i "; the table of contents for new features is 259 lines long! Is that more than mere mortals can deal with? It sure is more than I can deal with. So I am going to stick with what I know best: PL/SQL. This book focuses almost exclusively on new Oracle8 i features that have a direct impact on (or are implemented by) the PL/SQL language. As you will see, even if the focus is constrained to PL/SQL, there are many, many new techniques and technologies to learn, absorb, and then leverage in application environments.

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