Advanced Oracle PL/SQL Programming with Packages

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6. PLV: Top-Level Constants and Functions

Null Substitution Value
Setting the PL/Vision Date Mask
Assertion Routines
PLV Utilities
The Predefined Datatypes
The Predefined Constants

Let's start our exploration into PL/Vision with the PLV package, which can be considered the lowest-level package or perhaps even the "miscellaneous" package. It provides a single collection point for constants and basic functions used throughout PL/Vision. Whenever I thought of something useful that was needed in more than one package but that did not belong in any particular functional package, it ended up in PLV.

The PLV (PL/Vision) package offers the following:

The following sections show how to use each of the different elements in the PLV package.

6.1 Null Substitution Value

It has been my experience that when I display a variable that is NULL, I want to see some evidence of that fact. In fact, I have found that in several places in PL/Vision I want to be able to substitute a NULL value for some other string. Rather than hard code that value into my package, I added the ability in the PLV package to decide what the substitution value would be with the set_nullval procedure:

PROCEDURE set_nullval (nullval_in IN VARCHAR2);

The default value for NULL substitutions is the string NULL. You can obtain the current setting of the substitution value by calling the nullval function:


The p package makes use of the substitute value for NULLs. When you call p.l to display text that RTRIMs to a NULL, it will automatically display the string that you have specified for substitution. In the following example, I set the NULL substitution value to N/A and then demonstrate its use in a call to the p.l procedure.

SQL> exec PLV.set_nullval ('N/A');
SQL> exec p.l (:v);

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