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Oracle 10g Representing Dynamically Typed Data Using SYS.AnyData, SYS.AnyType, and SYS.AnyDataSet Types

There are features in some languages that allow datatypes to change at runtime, and there are functions that let a program check the type of a variable. For example, Java has the typeof operator and wrapper types such as Number, and C has the union keyword and the void * pointer.

Oracle9i and Oracle Database 10g include features that let you create variables and columns that can hold any type of data, and allow you to test such data values to see their underlying representation. Using these features, a single table column can represent different data types, depending on the row in which it resides.

The SYS.ANYDATA Oracle built-in type can represent any scalar or object value. The SYS.ANYDATA type has methods to bring in scalar (single) values of any type, and to convert the value back into a scalar or object.

In addition to the scalar SYS.ANYDATA, the built-in type SYS.ANYDATASET can be used to represent values of any Oracle collection type.

In conjunction with the SYS.ANYDATA and SYS.ANYDATASET types, you can use the SYS.ANYTYPE and dbms_types package to manipulate and check type information.

The same functionality is available through the OCI interface, using the OCIType, OCIAnyData, and OCIAnyDataSet interfaces.


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