Sql – How to combine multiple rows into a comma-delimited list in Oracle?

concatenationoraclepivotsqlstring-aggregation

I have a simple query:

select * from countries

with the following results:

country_name
------------
Albania
Andorra
Antigua
.....

I would like to return the results in one row, so like this:

Albania, Andorra, Antigua, ...

Of course, I can write a PL/SQL function to do the job (I already did in Oracle 10g), but is there a nicer, preferably non-Oracle-specific solution (or may be a built-in function) for this task?

I would generally use it to avoid multiple rows in a sub-query, so if a person has more then one citizenship, I do not want her/him to be a duplicate in the list.

My question is based on the similar question on SQL server 2005.

UPDATE:
My function looks like this:

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION APPEND_FIELD (sqlstr in varchar2, sep in varchar2 ) return varchar2 is
ret varchar2(4000) := '';
TYPE cur_typ IS REF CURSOR;
rec cur_typ;
field varchar2(4000);
begin
     OPEN rec FOR sqlstr;
     LOOP
         FETCH rec INTO field;
         EXIT WHEN rec%NOTFOUND;
         ret := ret || field || sep;
     END LOOP;
     if length(ret) = 0 then
          RETURN '';
     else
          RETURN substr(ret,1,length(ret)-length(sep));
     end if;
end;

Best Solution

The WM_CONCAT function (if included in your database, pre Oracle 11.2) or LISTAGG (starting Oracle 11.2) should do the trick nicely. For example, this gets a comma-delimited list of the table names in your schema:

select listagg(table_name, ', ') within group (order by table_name) 
  from user_tables;

or

select wm_concat(table_name) 
  from user_tables;

More details/options

Link to documentation