Having a hard time grasping PL/SQL
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Thread: Having a hard time grasping PL/SQL

  1. #1
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    Sep 2002
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    Having a hard time grasping PL/SQL

    Currently I'm tasked with monitoring our Oracle Database which powers or OSS system. There's no one onsite with any degree Oracle experience. My manager wants me to become an OCDBA 8i and will pay for my testing. I'm trying to grasp the concepts in the SYBEX Oracle8i SQL and PL/SQL study guide and I seem to be struggling when taking the self-tests. I have no practical knowledge of Oracle or DB admin other than what I have picked up on my own and from books. I want to proceed with the Oracle path but I feel like I'm going no where fast. The PL/SQL sections, blocks, control structures, and cursors just seem beyond my grasp. I understand SQL to a degreee and can write simple queries and an occasional subquery. With my background, and lack of experience would it make more sense to look at preparing and understanding the PL/SQL exam or the Architecture and Administration exam? Should one fully understand the concepts of PL/SQL before taking the Architecture and Admin exam? Someone please help me down the right path. I just don't know how to proceed.
    BradO

  2. #2
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    OSS? DSS? I guess you have two (or more) issues at hand. The two are: learning Oracle and doing Oracle DBA work. PL/SQL is a prgramming language. If you know programming logic, much of PL/SQL will be familiar. Knowing PL/SQL is useful for DBA work, but not necessarily mission essential (depends on your shop, who does what, etc.). Focusing more on SQL would be better, because that is your gateway into finding information about the state or health of your database.

    Oracle DBA 101, Oracle DBA Bible, UNIX Administration Handbook, Oracle9i for Windows Tips and Tricks, Backup and Recovery 101 - these will get you off and running. It sounds like you will be doing Oracle database administration before you will really know what it is you are doing. Focus on what it takes to be a DBBS (database baby sitter).

    The Sybex books are pretty good overall. They will come in handy as a quick reference source for you.

    technet.oracle.com
    tahiti.oracle.com
    metalink.oracle.com
    and when you finally have time,
    education.oracle.com

  3. #3
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    Architecture and Administration should be a higher priority than PL/SQL I think.

    When you do get to PL/SQL, get your boss to buy you Steven Feuerstein's book - it seems to be the most widely recommended.

    Also, get him to buy you Tom Kyte's "expert one-on-one Oracle".
    David Aldridge,
    "The Oracle Sponge"

    Senior Manager, Business Intelligence Development
    XM Satellite Radio
    Washington, DC

    Oracle ACE

  4. #4
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    CAUTION: Do not read an Oracle Press book while in bed. Reading these books can and do cause severe drowsiness, resulting in facial scars as a result of the book falling on your face.

  5. #5
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    I guess he means Operation Support System as OSS, quite popular in Telco industries

  6. #6
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    Well you got the first step - understanding what you don't know!

    You don't say what your background is, but I agree with Steve when he says that PL/SQL uses fairly typical programming constructs.

    I've always found that it's very tough to learn something without a specific task. Is there a repetitive task at your shop you could build in PL/SQL or an existing process you could convert?

    I bought Oracle PL/SQL 101 (isbn 007212606X) from Oracle Press. I found it to be a bit basic for my tastes (I've been programming with SQL for years) but it does have some nice little exercises.

    I take it there's no chance of a course then? If you can, I found "Developing PL/SQL program units" to be pretty good. Don't go for the basic PL/SQL course as it only touches on stored procedures, supplied packages and triggers which is half the point after all.

    I did find this exam one of the hardest, partly because it was the first in the series but more because they are into testing your knowledge of systax. If I get a syntax error, I'll bloody well RTFM.

    Sounds like you are in a similar position to mine of 2 years ago. I decided to do the OCP simply as framework for learning the basics. I did have an advantage in that I'd worked with DB2 and couple of specialist DBMS products for years so I knew a fair bit of RDBMS theory. I found it suited me pretty well and that generally the Sybex books were very good (don't mention RMAN!!).

    If you really want to learn this stuff, I still say the OCP is as good a way as any to learn the basics. So best of luck.

    BTW I still have my notes for IZ0-001 which I can post if you want them, just don't take them as being 100% correct that's all!

    Good Luck

    Nick

  7. #7
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    Don't misunderstand me here but pl/sql is one of the easiest languages to learn. It can't get any simpler than that. You don't want to know how the "easy" languages like java and php are...

    But keep continuosly looking and working at the pl/sql block structures and you'll understand it better. Do downlaod the pl/sql manual pdf. http://download-west.oracle.com/docs...a77069/toc.htm


    Cheers!
    Tarry Singh
    I'm a JOLE(JavaOracleLinuxEnthusiast)
    TarryBlogging
    --- Everything was meant to be---

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Originally posted by stecal
    CAUTION: Do not read an Oracle Press book while in bed. Reading these books can and do cause severe drowsiness, resulting in facial scars as a result of the book falling on your face.
    NO SH*T!!

    Although in bed you are safe, I am studying for the 8i upgrade exam (again) and it is the perfect sleeping pill. every day at my desk AT WORK it knocks me right out.

    PL/SQL, my opinion is that in order to get good with it, you have to code it regularly. I had a VERY rough time with the PL/SQL OCP exam, of course I had zero coding experience at the time. Now as a DBA I have 0.1 experience

    The first OCP exam is a good place to start, it will build you up in baby steps and you will be able to see how things work at a basic level. You will need the ILT books for this.

    MH
    Last edited by Mr.Hanky; 04-29-2003 at 10:11 AM.
    I remember when this place was cool.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    I really appreciate everyone's input. Yes the OSS is an Operation Support System. I am in the telco business as well. Good call. My background in all honesty goes like this--Degreee in Social Studies Education, Worked in two customer service call centers in the financial industry, worked in Disaster Recovery and used Microsoft Access and now work for an overbuilder CLEC who also provides cable and high speed internet service. As you can see by background is a bit unusual. I think I'll just try and work on both of the exams together. They both seem to be intertwined and working on one should help with the other. I will try to automate some routine tasks and give it a shot. Thanks for the advice on the books.
    BradO

  10. #10
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    Brad,

    Background in today's world means nothing. Couple of years ago I wuz a sailor boy, sex drugs and rock 'n roll-read kareoke(Oh..How much I miss that). Now I'm a tamed pet.

    But if you seriously want to learn pl/sql then you must buy the steven feurstein's book(3rd ed). It's a good book. And participate actively in this forum.


    Cheers!
    Tarry Singh
    I'm a JOLE(JavaOracleLinuxEnthusiast)
    TarryBlogging
    --- Everything was meant to be---

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