External Tables + Merge

This is an example of how you would upload data from a flat file, or Comma Separated Value (CSV) file. It’s important to note that in the file upload you are transferring information that doesn’t have surrogate key values by leveraing joins inside a MERGE statement.

Step #1 : Create a virtual directory

You can create a virtual directory without a physical directory but it won’t work when you try to access it. Therefore, you should create the physical directory first. Assuming you’ve created a /u01/app/oracle/upload file directory on the Windows platform, you can then create a virtual directory and grant permissions to the student user as the SYS privileged user.

The syntax for these steps is:

CREATE DIRECTORY upload AS '/u01/app/oracle/upload';
GRANT READ, WRITE ON DIRECTORY upload TO student;

Step #2 : Position your CSV file in the physical directory

After creating the virtual directory, copy the following contents into a file named kingdom_import.csv in the /u01/app/oracle/upload directory or folder. If you attempt to do this in Windows, you need to disable Windows UAC before performing this step.

Place the following in the kingdom_import.csv file. The trailing commas aren’t too meaningful in Oracle but they’re very helpful if you use the file in MySQL. A key element in creating this files requires that you avoid trailing line returns at the bottom of the file because they’re inserted as null values. There should be no lines after the last row of data.

'Narnia',77600,'Peter the Magnificent','20-MAR-1272','19-JUN-1292',
'Narnia',77600,'Edmund the Just','20-MAR-1272','19-JUN-1292',
'Narnia',77600,'Susan the Gentle','20-MAR-1272','19-JUN-1292',
'Narnia',77600,'Lucy the Valiant','20-MAR-1272','19-JUN-1292',
'Narnia',42100,'Peter the Magnificent','12-APR-1531','31-MAY-1531',
'Narnia',42100,'Edmund the Just','12-APR-1531','31-MAY-1531',
'Narnia',42100,'Susan the Gentle','12-APR-1531','31-MAY-1531',
'Narnia',42100,'Lucy the Valiant','12-APR-1531','31-MAY-1531',
'Camelot',15200,'King Arthur','10-MAR-0631','12-DEC-0686',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Lionel','10-MAR-0631','12-DEC-0686',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Bors','10-MAR-0631','12-DEC-0635',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Bors','10-MAR-0640','12-DEC-0686',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Galahad','10-MAR-0631','12-DEC-0686',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Gawain','10-MAR-0631','12-DEC-0686',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Tristram','10-MAR-0631','12-DEC-0686',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Percival','10-MAR-0631','12-DEC-0686',
'Camelot',15200,'Sir Lancelot','30-SEP-0670','12-DEC-0682',

Step #3 : Reconnect as the student user

Disconnect and connect as the student user, or reconnect as the student user. The reconnect syntax that protects your password is:

CONNECT student@xe

Step #4 : Run the script that creates tables and sequences

Copy the following into a create_kingdom_upload.sql file within a directory of your choice. Then, run it as the student account.

-- Conditionally drop tables and sequences.
BEGIN
  FOR i IN (SELECT table_name
            FROM   user_tables
            WHERE  table_name IN ('KINGDOM','KNIGHT','KINGDOM_KNIGHT_IMPORT')) LOOP 
    EXECUTE IMMEDIATE 'DROP TABLE '||i.table_name||' CASCADE CONSTRAINTS';
  END LOOP;
  FOR i IN (SELECT sequence_name
            FROM   user_sequences
            WHERE  sequence_name IN ('KINGDOM_S1','KNIGHT_S1')) LOOP 
    EXECUTE IMMEDIATE 'DROP SEQUENCE '||i.sequence_name;
  END LOOP;
END;
/

-- Create normalized kingdom table.
CREATE TABLE kingdom
( kingdom_id    NUMBER
, kingdom_name  VARCHAR2(20)
, population    NUMBER);

-- Create a sequence for the kingdom table.
CREATE SEQUENCE kingdom_s1;

-- Create normalized knight table.
CREATE TABLE knight
( knight_id             NUMBER
, knight_name           VARCHAR2(24)
, kingdom_allegiance_id NUMBER
, allegiance_start_date DATE
, allegiance_end_date   DATE);

-- Create a sequence for the knight table.
CREATE SEQUENCE knight_s1;

-- Create external import table.
CREATE TABLE kingdom_knight_import
( kingdom_name          VARCHAR2(20)
, population            NUMBER
, knight_name           VARCHAR2(24)
, allegiance_start_date DATE
, allegiance_end_date   DATE)
  ORGANIZATION EXTERNAL
  ( TYPE oracle_loader
    DEFAULT DIRECTORY upload
    ACCESS PARAMETERS
    ( RECORDS DELIMITED BY NEWLINE CHARACTERSET US7ASCII
      BAFFLE      'UPLOAD':'kingdom_import.bad'
      DISCARDFILE 'UPLOAD':'kingdom_import.dis'
      LOGFILE     'UPLOAD':'kingdom_import.log'
      FIELDS TERMINATED BY ','
      OPTIONALLY ENCLOSED BY "'"
      MISSING FIELD VALUES ARE NULL )
    LOCATION ('kingdom_import.csv'))
REJECT LIMIT UNLIMITED;

Step #5 : Test your access to the external table

There a number of things that could go wrong with setting up an external table, such as file permissions. Before moving on to the balance of the steps, you should test what you’ve done. Run the following query from the student account to check whether or not you can access the kingdom_import.csv file.

COL kingdom_name FORMAT A8 HEADING "Kingdom|Name"
COL population   FORMAT 99999999 HEADING "Population"
COL knight_name  FORMAT A30 HEADING "Knight Name"
SELECT   kingdom_name
,        population
,        knight_name
,        TO_CHAR(allegiance_start_date,'DD-MON-YYYY') AS allegiance_start_date
,        TO_CHAR(allegiance_end_date,'DD-MON-YYYY') AS allegiance_end_date
FROM     kingdom_knight_import;

Step #6 : Create the upload procedure

Copy the following into a create_upload_procedure.sql file within a directory of your choice. Then, run it as the student account.

-- Create a procedure to wrap the transaction.
CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE upload_kingdom IS 
BEGIN
  -- Set save point for an all or nothing transaction.
  SAVEPOINT starting_point;

  -- Insert or update the table, which makes this rerunnable when the file hasn't been updated.  
  MERGE INTO kingdom target
  USING (SELECT   DISTINCT
                  k.kingdom_id
         ,        kki.kingdom_name
         ,        kki.population
         FROM     kingdom_knight_import kki LEFT JOIN kingdom k
         ON       kki.kingdom_name = k.kingdom_name
         AND      kki.population = k.population) source
  ON (target.kingdom_id = source.kingdom_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
  UPDATE SET kingdom_name = source.kingdom_name
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
  INSERT VALUES
  ( kingdom_s1.nextval
  , source.kingdom_name
  , source.population);

  -- Insert or update the table, which makes this rerunnable when the file hasn't been updated.  
  MERGE INTO knight target
  USING (SELECT   kn.knight_id
         ,        kki.knight_name
         ,        k.kingdom_id
         ,        kki.allegiance_start_date AS start_date
         ,        kki.allegiance_end_date AS end_date
         FROM     kingdom_knight_import kki INNER JOIN kingdom k
         ON       kki.kingdom_name = k.kingdom_name
         AND      kki.population = k.population LEFT JOIN knight kn 
         ON       k.kingdom_id = kn.kingdom_allegiance_id
         AND      kki.knight_name = kn.knight_name
         AND      kki.allegiance_start_date = kn.allegiance_start_date
         AND      kki.allegiance_end_date = kn.allegiance_end_date) source
  ON (target.kingdom_allegiance_id = source.kingdom_id)
  WHEN MATCHED THEN
  UPDATE SET allegiance_start_date = source.start_date
  ,          allegiance_end_date = source.end_date
  WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN
  INSERT VALUES
  ( knight_s1.nextval
  , source.knight_name
  , source.kingdom_id
  , source.start_date
  , source.end_date);

  -- Save the changes.
  COMMIT;
  
EXCEPTION
  WHEN OTHERS THEN
    ROLLBACK TO starting_point;
    RETURN;
END;
/

Step #7 : Run the upload procedure

You can run the file by calling the stored procedure built by the script. The procedure ensures that records are inserted or updated into their respective tables.

EXECUTE upload_kingdom;

Step #8 : Test the results of the upload procedure

You can test whether or not it worked by running the following queries.

-- Check the kingdom table.
SELECT * FROM kingdom;

-- Format Oracle output.
COLUMN knight_id             FORMAT 999 HEADING "Knight|ID #"
COLUMN knight_name           FORMAT A23 HEADING "Knight Name"
COLUMN kingdom_allegiance_id FORMAT 999 HEADING "Kingdom|Allegiance|ID #"
COLUMN allegiance_start_date FORMAT A11 HEADING "Allegiance|Start Date"
COLUMN allegiance_end_date   FORMAT A11 HEADING "Allegiance|End Date"
SET PAGESIZE 999

-- Check the knight table.
SELECT   knight_id
,        knight_name
,        kingdom_allegiance_id
,        TO_CHAR(allegiance_start_date,'DD-MON-YYYY') AS allegiance_start_date
,        TO_CHAR(allegiance_end_date,'DD-MON-YYYY') AS allegiance_end_date
FROM     knight;

It should display the following information:

KINGDOM_ID KINGDOM_NAME         POPULATION
---------- -------------------- ----------
         1 Narnia                    42100
         2 Narnia                    77600
         3 Camelot                   15200

                                  Kingdom
Knight                         Allegiance Allegiance  Allegiance
  ID # Knight Name                   ID # Start Date  End Date
------ ----------------------- ---------- ----------- -----------
     1 Peter the Magnificent            2 20-MAR-1272 19-JUN-1292
     2 Edmund the Just                  2 20-MAR-1272 19-JUN-1292
     3 Susan the Gentle                 2 20-MAR-1272 19-JUN-1292
     4 Lucy the Valiant                 2 20-MAR-1272 19-JUN-1292
     5 Peter the Magnificent            1 12-APR-1531 31-MAY-1531
     6 Edmund the Just                  1 12-APR-1531 31-MAY-1531
     7 Susan the Gentle                 1 12-APR-1531 31-MAY-1531
     8 Lucy the Valiant                 1 12-APR-1531 31-MAY-1531
     9 King Arthur                      3 10-MAR-0631 12-DEC-0686
    10 Sir Lionel                       3 10-MAR-0631 12-DEC-0686
    11 Sir Bors                         3 10-MAR-0631 12-DEC-0635
    12 Sir Bors                         3 10-MAR-0640 12-DEC-0686
    13 Sir Galahad                      3 10-MAR-0631 12-DEC-0686
    14 Sir Gawain                       3 10-MAR-0631 12-DEC-0686
    15 Sir Tristram                     3 10-MAR-0631 12-DEC-0686
    16 Sir Percival                     3 10-MAR-0631 12-DEC-0686
    17 Sir Lancelot                     3 30-SEP-0670 12-DEC-0682

You can rerun the procedure to check that it doesn’t alter any information, then you could add a new knight to test the insertion portion.

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