How does one use SQL*Loader to load images, sound clips and documents? (for DBA)

SQL*Loader can load data from a “primary data file”, SDF (Secondary Data file - for loading nested tables and VARRAYs) or LOGFILE. The LOBFILE method provides and easy way to load documents, images and audio clips into BLOB and CLOB columns. Look at this example:
Given the following table:
CREATE TABLE image_table (
image_id NUMBER(5),
file_name VARCHAR2(30),
image_data BLOB);
Control File:
INTO TABLE image_table
image_id INTEGER(5),
file_name CHAR(30),
image_data LOBFILE (file_name) TERMINATED BY EOF

What is the difference between the conventional and direct path loader?

(for DBA)
The conventional path loader essentially loads the data by using standard INSERT statements. The direct path loader (DIRECT=TRUE) bypasses much of the logic involved with that, and loads directly into the Oracle data files. More information about the restrictions of direct path loading can be obtained from the Utilities Users Guide.

What is the significance of the & and && operators in PL SQL ?

The & operator means that the PL SQL block requires user input for a variable. The && operator means that the value of this variable should be the same as inputted by the user previously for this same variable. If a transaction is very large, and the rollback segment is not able to hold the rollback information, then will the transaction span across different rollback segments or will it terminate ? It will terminate (Please check ).

What all important parameters of the init.ora are supposed to be increased if you want to increase the SGA size ?

In our case, db_block_buffers was changed from 60 to 1000 (std values are 60, 550 & 3500) shared_pool_size was changed from 3.5MB to 9MB (std values are 3.5, 5 & 9MB) open_cursors was changed from 200 to 300 (std values are 200 & 300) db_block_size was changed from 2048 (2K) to 4096 (4K) {at the time of database creation}.
The initial SGA was around 4MB when the server RAM was 32MB and The new SGA was around 13MB when the server RAM was increased to 128MB.

What are actual and formal parameters ?

Actual Parameters : Subprograms pass information using parameters. The variables or expressions referenced in the parameter list of a subprogram call are actual parameters. For example, the following procedure call lists two actual parameters named emp_num and amount:
Eg. raise_salary(emp_num, amount);
Formal Parameters : The variables declared in a subprogram specification and referenced in the subprogram body are formal parameters. For example, the following procedure declares two formal parameters named emp_id and increase: Eg. PROCEDURE raise_salary (emp_id INTEGER, increase REAL) IS current_salary REAL;

What are the advantages of Oracle ?

Portability : Oracle is ported to more platforms than any of its competitors, running on more than 100 hardware platforms and 20 networking protocols.
Market Presence : Oracle is by far the largest RDBMS vendor and spends more on R & D than most of its competitors earn in total revenue. This market clout means that you are unlikely to be left in the lurch by Oracle and there are always lots of third party interfaces available.
Backup and Recovery : Oracle provides industrial strength support for on-line backup and recovery and good software fault tolerence to disk failure. You can also do point-in-time recovery.
Performance : Speed of a ‘tuned’ Oracle Database and application is quite good, even with large databases. Oracle can manage > 100GB databases.
Multiple database support : Oracle has a superior ability to manage multiple databases within the same transaction using a two-phase commit protocol.

Can one read/write files from PL/SQL?

Included in Oracle 7.3 is a UTL_FILE package that can read and write files. The directory you intend writing to has to be in your INIT.ORA file (see UTL_FILE_DIR=... parameter). Before Oracle 7.3 the only means of writing a file was to use DBMS_OUTPUT with the SQL*Plus SPOOL command.
fileHandler := UTL_FILE.FOPEN(‘/home/oracle/tmp’, ‘myoutput’,’W’);
UTL_FILE.PUTF(fileHandler, ‘Value of func1 is %sn’, func1(1));

How can I protect my PL/SQL source code?

PL/SQL V2.2, available with Oracle7.2, implements a binary wrapper for PL/SQL programs to protect the source code. This is done via a standalone utility that transforms the PL/SQL source code into portable binary object code (somewhat larger than the original). This way you can distribute software without having to worry about exposing your proprietary algorithms and methods. SQL*Plus and SQL*DBA will still understand and know how to execute such scripts. Just be careful, there is no “decode” command available.
The syntax is:
wrap iname=myscript.sql oname=xxxx.yyy

Can one improve the performance of SQL*Loader? (for DBA)

A very simple but easily overlooked hint is not to have any indexes and/or constraints (primary key) on your load tables during the load process. This will significantly slow down load times even with ROWS= set to a high value.
Add the following option in the command line: DIRECT=TRUE. This will effectively bypass most of the RDBMS processing. However, there are cases when you can’t use direct load. Refer to chapter 8 on Oracle server Utilities manual.
Turn off database logging by specifying the UNRECOVERABLE option. This option can only be used with direct data loads. Run multiple load jobs concurrently.

Can one use dynamic SQL within PL/SQL? OR Can you use a DDL in a procedure ? How ?

From PL/SQL V2.1 one can use the DBMS_SQL package to execute dynamic SQL statements.
cur integer;
rc integer;
rc := DBMS_SQL.EXECUTE(cur);