Sql – When do I need to use a semicolon vs a slash in Oracle SQL

oraclesqlsqlplus

We have been having some debate this week at my company as to how we should write our SQL scripts.

Background:
Our database is Oracle 10g (upgrading to 11 soon). Our DBA team uses SQLPlus in order to deploy our scripts to production.

Now, we had a deploy recently that failed because it had used both a semicolon and a forward slash (/). The semicolon was at the end of each statement and the slash was between statements.

alter table foo.bar drop constraint bar1;
/
alter table foo.can drop constraint can1;
/

There were some triggers being added later on in the script, some views created as well as some stored procedures. Having both the ; and the / caused each statement to run twice causing errors (especially on the inserts, which needed to be unique).

In SQL Developer this does not happen, in TOAD this does not happen. If you run certain commands they will not work without the / in them.

In PL/SQL if you have a subprogram (DECLARE, BEGIN, END) the semicolon used will be considered as part of the subprogram, so you have to use the slash.

So my question is this: If your database is Oracle, what is the proper way to write your SQL script? Since you know that your DB is Oracle should you always use the /?

Best Solution

I know this is an old thread, but I just stumbled upon it and I feel this has not been explained completely.

There is a huge difference in SQL*Plus between the meaning of a / and a ; because they work differently.

The ; ends a SQL statement, whereas the / executes whatever is in the current "buffer". So when you use a ; and a / the statement is actually executed twice.

You can easily see that using a / after running a statement:

SQL*Plus: Release 11.2.0.1.0 Production on Wed Apr 18 12:37:20 2012

Copyright (c) 1982, 2010, Oracle.  All rights reserved.

Connected to:
Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release 11.2.0.1.0 - Production
With the Partitioning and OLAP options

SQL> drop table foo;

Table dropped.

SQL> /
drop table foo
           *
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-00942: table or view does not exist

In this case one actually notices the error.


But assuming there is a SQL script like this:

drop table foo;
/

And this is run from within SQL*Plus then this will be very confusing:

SQL*Plus: Release 11.2.0.1.0 Production on Wed Apr 18 12:38:05 2012

Copyright (c) 1982, 2010, Oracle.  All rights reserved.


Connected to:
Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release 11.2.0.1.0 - Production
With the Partitioning and OLAP options

SQL> @drop

Table dropped.

drop table foo
           *
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-00942: table or view does not exist

The / is mainly required in order to run statements that have embedded ; like CREATE PROCEDURE,CREATE FUNCTION,CREATE PACKAGE statements and for any BEGIN...END blocks.