Connecting to Oracle ADB from Python

Connecting to Oracle ADB

Connect to Oracle ATP or ADW from Python

I realised that in some of my previous posts I didn't really detail connecting to ATP and ADW. Here's a slight more in depth walkthough.

Connecting to Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing or Autonomous Datawarehouse is pretty simple from Python. It requires only a few things

  • Oracle Instant Client (Or alternative)
  • A Python environment.
  • The Oracle_CX Python driver Module.
  • A valid wallet for an ATP or ADW service

Let's go through each of these in turn

Oracle Instant Clent

The next step is pretty straight forward. You can download the oracle instant client from here.

instant client screen shot

You'll only need the basic package. Unzip the downloaded file into a suitable location. It's worth pointing out that on Linux this step is even easier. You can now use yum to install the instant client direct from the command line. You can find details on how to configure it here

Python environment

There's plenty of guides out there that show you how to install python on your windows or mac. If you haven't done this already This guide is a good place to start. I'm assuming that you've also gone through the steps of installing pip. If not you can follow this simple guide. I'd also advice you create a virtual environment with virtualenv before you doing anything else. It's considered best practice and isolates you from current or future library conficts.

First lets create our virtual env

virtualenv adb_virt_env

And then active it (I'm assuming linux or mac)

source adb_virt_env/bin/activate

The next step is to install the Python driver. This is as simple as

pip install cx_Oracle

And thats all we need to do at this stage inside to setup our Python environment.

Oracle ADW or ATP Wallet

The final thing we need is the wallet containing the credential and connect string details to enable us to connect to ATP or ADW. You'll need to log onto Oracle OCI console to do this unless have been provided the wallet by a colleague. Simply navigate to your ATP or ADW instance and follow the instructions below.

download wallet screen shot

While it's not necessary we'll download and unzip the wallet into the virtual directory we've created (adb_virt_env).

$> ls
bin                cx_Oracle-doc      include            lib                pip-selfcheck.json
$> unzip
  inflating: cwallet.sso             
  inflating: tnsnames.ora            
  inflating: truststore.jks          
  inflating: sqlnet.ora              
  inflating: ewallet.p12             
  inflating: keystore.jks
$> ls
bin                cx_Oracle-doc      include            lib                pip-selfcheck.json tnsnames.ora
cwallet.sso        ewallet.p12        keystore.jks   sqlnet.ora         truststore.jks

Next we need to edit the sqlnet.ora file to reflect the location where it's located. Currently for my environment it looks like

WALLET_LOCATION = (SOURCE = (METHOD = file) (METHOD_DATA = (DIRECTORY="?/network/admin")))

We'll need to change the DIRECTORY parameter to our virtual environment. In my case /Users/dgiles/Downloads/adb_virt_env. So for my environment it will look like

WALLET_LOCATION = (SOURCE = (METHOD = file) (METHOD_DATA = (DIRECTORY="/Users/dgiles/Downloads/adb_virt_env")))

We should also take a look at tnsnames.ora to see which services we'll be using. You can do this by taking a look in the tnsnames.ora file. There's likely to by lots of entries if you have lots of ATB or ADW instances in you OCI compartment. In my instance I'll be using a connect string called sbatp_medium which has a medium priority but pick the one appropriate to your environment.

sbatp_medium = (description= (address=(protocol=tcps)(port=1522)(
        ",OU=Oracle BMCS US,O=Oracle Corporation,L=Redwood City,ST=California,C=US"))   )

We'll only need to remember its name for the next step.

The Code

Finally we're ready to write some code. The first step is to import the modules we'll need. In this case it's just cx_oracle and os

In [16]:
import cx_Oracle
import os

We need to set the environment variable TNS_ADMIN to point at our directory (adb_virt_env) where all of the files from our wallet are located.

In [17]:
os.environ['TNS_ADMIN'] = '/Users/dgiles/Downloads/adb_virt_env'

And now we can simply connect to ATP or ADW instance using a standard Python database connect operation using the connect string we remebered from the tnsnames.ora file. NOTE : I'm assuming you've created a user in the database or you're using the admin user created for this instance.

In [18]:
connection = cx_Oracle.connect('admin', 'ReallyLongPassw0rd', 'sbatp_medium')

And thats it... From here on in we can use the connection as it was a local database.

In [19]:
cursor = connection.cursor()
rs = cursor.execute("select 'Hello for ADB' from dual")
[('Hello for ADB',)]

Update to MonitorDB

Just a quick one I've update MonitorDB to enable it to use wallets. So it can now run against Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing and Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse.

You can add the location in the configuration file or

Screenshot of IntelliJ IDEA (22-01-2019, 18-48-21)

On the command line

Screenshot of Terminal (22-01-2019, 18-51-09)

I've also compiled it for Java8 and used the latest jdbc drivers.

You can find it here

Oracle SODA Python Driver and Jupyter Lab


Oracle SODA Python Driver and Jupyter Lab

This workbook is divided into two sections the first is a quick guide to setting up Jupyter Lab (Python Notebooks) such that it can connect to a database running inside of OCI, in this case an ATP instance. The second section uses the JSON python driver to connect to the database to run a few tests. This notebook is largely a reminder to myself on how to set this up but hopefully it will be useful to others.

Setting up Python 3.6 and Jupyter Lab on our compute instance

I won't go into much detail on setting up ATP or ADW or creating a IaaS server. I covered that process in quite a lot of detail here. We'll be setting up something similar to the following

OCI Cloud

Once you've created the server You'll need to logon to the server with the details found on the compute instances home screen. You just need to grab it's IP address to enable you to logon over ssh.

OCI Cloud

The next step is to connect over ssh to with a command similar to

ssh opc@
Enter passphrase for key '/Users/dgiles/.ssh/id_rsa': 
Last login: Wed Jan  9 20:48:46 2019 from host10.10.10.1

In the following steps we'll be using python so we need to set up python on the server and configure the needed modules. Our first step is to use yum to install python 3.6 (This is personal preference and you could stick with python 2.7). To do this we first need to enable yum and then install the environment. Run the following commands

sudo yum -y install yum-utils
sudo yum-config-manager --enable ol7_developer_epel
sudo yum install -y python36
python3.6 -m venv myvirtualenv
source myvirtualenv/bin/activate

This will install python and enable a virtual environment for use (our own Python sand pit). You can make sure that python is installed by simply typing python3.6 ie.

$> python3.6
Python 3.6.3 (default, Feb  1 2018, 22:26:31) 
[GCC 4.8.5 20150623 (Red Hat 4.8.5-16)] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> quit()

Make sure you type quit() to leave the REPL environment.

We now need to install the needed modules. You can do this one by one or simply use the following file requirements.txt and run the following command

pip -p requirements.txt

This will install all of the need python modules for the next step which is to start up Jupyter Lab.

Jupyter Lab is an interactive web based application that enables you do interactively run code and document the process at the same time. This blog is written in it and the code below can be run once your environment is set up. Vists the website to see more details.

To start jupyer lab we run the following command.

nohup jupyter-lab --ip= &

Be aware that this will only work if you have activated you virtual environment. In out instance we did this with with the command source myvirtualenv/bin/activate. At this point the jupyter-lab is running in the background and and is listening (by default) on port 8888. You could start a desktop up and use VNC to view the output. However I prefer to redirect the output to my own desktop over ssh. To do this you'll need to run the following ssh command from your desktop

ssh -N -f -L 5555:localhost:8888 opc@

Replacing the IP address above with the one for your compute instance

This will redirect the output of 8888 to port 5555 on your destop. You can then connect to it by simply going to the following url http://localhost:5555. After doing this you should see a screen asking you input a token (you'll only need to do this once). You can find this token inside of the nohup.out file running on the compute instance. It should be near the top of the file and should look something like

[I 20:49:12.237 LabApp]

Just copy the text after "token=" and paste it in to the dialogue box. After completing that step you should see something like this

Jupyter Lab

You can now start creating your own notebooks or load this one found here. I'd visit the website to familiarise yourself on how the notebooks work.

Using Python and the JSON SODA API

This section will walk through using The SODA API with Python from within the Jupyter-lab envionment we set up in the previous section. The SODA API is a simple object API that enables developers persist and retrieve JSON documents held inside of the Oracle Database. SODA drivers are available for Java, C, REST, Node and Python.

You can find the documentation for this API here

To get started we'll need to import the need the following python modules

In [11]:
import cx_Oracle
import keyring
import os
import pandas as pd

We now need to set the location of the directory containing the wallet to enable us to connect to the ATP instance. Once we've done that we can connect to the Oracle ATP instance and get a SODA object to enable us to work with JSON documents. NOTE : I'm using the module keyring to hide the password for my database. You should replace this call with the password for your user.

In [20]:
os.environ['TNS_ADMIN'] = '/home/opc/Wallet'
connection = cx_Oracle.connect('json', keyring.get_password('ATPLondon','json'), 'sbatp_tpurgent')
soda = connection.getSodaDatabase()

We now need to create JSON collection and if needed add any additional indexes which might accelerate data access.

In [21]:
    collection = soda.createCollection("customers_json_soda")
    collection.createIndex({ "name"   : "customer_index",
                          "fields" : [ { "path"     : "name_last",
                          "datatype" : "string"}]})
except cx_Oracle.DatabaseError as ex:
    print("It looks like the index already exists : {}".format(ex))

We can now add data to the collection. Here I'm inserting the document into the database and retrieving it's key. You can find find some examples/test cases on how to use collections here

In [22]:
customer_doc = {"id"          : 1,
       "name_last"    : "Giles",
       "name_first"   : "Dom",
       "description"  : "Gold customer, since 1990",
       "account info" : None,
       "dataplan"     : True,
       "phones"       : [{"type" : "mobile", "number" : 9999965499},
                         {"type" : "home",   "number" : 3248723987}]}
doc = collection.insertOneAndGet(customer_doc)

To fetch documents we could use SQL or Query By Example (QBE) as shown below. You can find further details on QBE here. In this example there should just be a single document. NOTE: I'm simply using pandas DataFrame to render the retrieved data but it does highlight how simple it is to use the framework for additional analysis at a later stage.

In [23]:
documents = collection.find().filter({'name_first': {'$eq': 'Dom'}}).getDocuments()
results = [document.getContent() for document in documents]    
account info dataplan description id name_first name_last phones
0 None True Gold customer, since 1990 1 Dom Giles [{'type': 'mobile', 'number': 9999965499}, {'t...

To update records we can use the replaceOne method.

In [24]:
document = collection.find().filter({'name_first': {'$eq': 'Dom'}}).getOne()
updated = collection.find().key(doc.key).replaceOne({"id"          : 1,
       "name_last"    : "Giles",
       "name_first"   : "Dominic",
       "description"  : "Gold customer, since 1990",
       "account info" : None,
       "dataplan"     : True,
       "phones"       : [{"type" : "mobile", "number" : 9999965499},
                         {"type" : "home",   "number" : 3248723987}]},)

And just to make sure the change happened

In [25]:
data = collection.find().key(document.key).getOne().getContent()
account info dataplan description id name_first name_last phones
0 None True Gold customer, since 1990 1 Dominic Giles [{'type': 'mobile', 'number': 9999965499}, {'t...

And finally we can drop the collection.

In [26]:
except cx_Oracle.DatabaseError as ex:
    print("We're were unable to drop the collection")
In [27]:

Accessing the Oracle Object Store


OCI Object Store Examples

The following are a series of examples showing the loading of data into the Oracle Object Store. For these to work with your own data you'll need to have your own Oracle Cloud account and uploaded a key. You can find details on how to achieve this here

I'll be using the Oracle OCI Python SDK which wrappers the REST API. You can find details on the API here

Before we do anything we'll need to load the required needed Python modules.

In [127]:
import oci
import keyring
import ast
import os

Configuration needed to connect

I'm using the "keyring" Python module to hold the config for my connection to OCI (to avoid needlessly exposing sensitive information). It's of the form

    "user": "your user ocid",
    "key_file": "the path to your private key file",
    "fingerprint": "the fingerprint of your public key",
    "tenancy": "your tenancy ocid",
    "region": "the region you are working with"

After retrieving it from my keyring store I then need to convert it into a dictionary before using it. You can also validate the config you are using as well. Handy if this is the first time you've configured it.

In [128]:
my_config = ast.literal_eval(keyring.get_password('oci_opj','doms'))

Create object storage client

Then I just need to retireve a Object Storage client to start working with data

In [129]:
object_storage_client = oci.object_storage.ObjectStorageClient(my_config)
In [130]:
namespace = object_storage_client.get_namespace().data
bucket_name = "doms_object_store"

Upload the contents of user directory to a bucket

I'll create a bucket and then select all of the files from a user defined directory and upload them to the newly created bucket

In [131]:
import os, io

directory = '/Users/dgiles/datagenerator/bin/generateddata'
files_to_process = [file for file in os.listdir(directory) if file.endswith('csv')]

Create a bucket named "Sales_Data" and give it the tenancy ocid from your config.

In [132]:
    create_bucket_response = object_storage_client.create_bucket(
except Exception as e:

Then we just need to loop through the list of files in the directory specified and upload them to the newly created bucket

In [133]:
bucket_name = 'Sales_Data'
for upload_file in files_to_process:
    print('Uploading file {}'.format(upload_file))
    object_storage_client.put_object(namespace, bucket_name, upload_file,,upload_file),'r'))
Uploading file CUSTOMERS.csv
Uploading file PRODUCTS.csv
Uploading file COUNTRIES.csv
Uploading file PROMOTIONS.csv
Uploading file CHANNELS.csv
Uploading file SALES.csv

Retrieve a list of objects in a bucket

The folowing retrieves a bucket and gets a list of objects in the bucket

In [134]:
bucket = object_storage_client.get_bucket(namespace, bucket_name)
object_list = object_storage_client.list_objects(namespace, bucket_name)

for o in

Download the contents of an object

The following downloads a file from a named bucket in chunks and writes it to user defined directory on the client

In [135]:
# Attempt to download a file

object_name = "CUSTOMERS.csv"
destination_dir = '/Users/dgiles/Downloads'.format(object_name) 
get_obj = object_storage_client.get_object(namespace, bucket_name, object_name)
with open(os.path.join(destination_dir,object_name), 'wb') as f:
    for chunk in * 1024, decode_content=False):

Delete a bucket

We can just as simply delete the bucket we've just created but first we'll need to delete all of the objects inside of it.

In [136]:
object_list = object_storage_client.list_objects(namespace, bucket_name)

for o in
    print('Deleting object {}'.format(
    object_storage_client.delete_object(namespace, bucket_name,

print('Deleting bucket')    
response = object_storage_client.delete_bucket(namespace, bucket_name)
Deleting object CHANNELS.csv
Deleting object COUNTRIES.csv
Deleting object CUSTOMERS.csv
Deleting object PRODUCTS.csv
Deleting object PROMOTIONS.csv
Deleting object SALES.csv
Deleting bucket

Making the alert log just a little more readable

One of the most valuable sources of information about what the Oracle database has done and is currently doing is the alert log. It's something that every Oracle Database professional should be familiar with. So what can you do to improve you chances of not missing important pieces of info? The obvious answer is that you should use a tool like Enterprise Manager. This is particularly true if you are looking after hundreds of databases.

But what if you are only looking after one or two or just testing something out? Well the most common solution is to simply tail the alert log file.

The only issue is that it's not the most exciting thing to view, this of course could be said for any terminal based text file. But there are things you can do to make it easier to parse visually and improve your chances of catching an unexpected issue.

The approach I take is to push the alert log file through python and use the various libraries to brighten it up. It's very easy to go from this (tail -f)

Screenshot of ScreenFloat (20-03-2018, 08-25-26)

To this

Screenshot of ScreenFloat (20-03-2018, 08-25-58)

The reason this works is that python provides a rich set of libraries which can add a little bit of colour and formatting to the alert file.

You can find the code to achieve this in the gist below

Just a quick note on installing this. You'll need either python 2.7 or 3 available on your server.

I'd also recommend installing pip and then the following libraries

pip install humanize psutil colorama python-dateutil

After you've done that it's just a case of running the script. If you have $ORACLE_BASE and $ORACLE_SID set the library will try and make a guess at the location of the alert file. i.e


But if that doesn't work or you get an error you can also explicitly specify the location of the alert log with something like

python -a $ORACLE_BASE/diag/rdbms/orcl/orcl/trace/alert_orcl.log

This script isn't supposed to be an end product just a simple example of what can be achieved to make things a little easier. And whilst I print information like CPU load and Memory there's nothing to stop you from modifying the script to display the number of warnings or errors found in the alert log and update it things change. Or if you really want to go wild implement something similar but a lot more sophisticated using python and curses

The age of "Terminal" is far from over….

ORDS From : Start to Finish


This is likely to be a pretty long posting on ORDS to describe the workflow for creating a REST application from start to finish. With that said I'm going to have to make a few compromises to keep it tolerable to follow. I thought long and hard about what would be a meaningful example that would be easy to understand but show most of the aspects of building a REST based application using Oracle ORDS. With this in mind I settled on a simple micro service to enable users to "like" products/rows in a similar fashion to being able to like posts on Facebook/Twitter or other social media networks. Whilst there are plenty of examples of how to do this out there already I couldn't find many that explained the entire process from start to finish and using the Oracle Database as the target. I'll try and keep it up to date as we are expecting to see a few changes in SQLDeveloper and ORDS shortly. On completion we should have a web page that looks a little like the one below.


The code for this blog is maintained here

To create a working environment simply go to the link above, click on the "Clone or download" button and then click on the "Download ZIP" link. When it's finished downloading uncompress the file into your preferred location.

This post should largely serve as a reference for those wishing to test out this functionality themselves. I'll also be releasing a version of this code where we store JSON in the database as opposed to relational table to offer a comparison with the approach.

ORDS Description

First of all what is ORDS and why do we care. Well this is Oracle's description

"Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS) makes it easy to develop modern REST interfaces for relational data in the Oracle Database and now, with ORDS 3.0, the Oracle Database 12c JSON Document Store and Oracle NoSQL Database. ORDS is available both as an Oracle Database Cloud Service and on premise.

REST has become the dominant interfaces for accessing services on the Internet, including those provided by major vendors such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Oracle, and within the enterprise by leading companies throughout the world. REST provides a powerful yet simple alternative to standards such as SOAP with connectivity to virtually every language environment, without having to install client drivers, because it is based on simple HTTP calls which virtually all language environments support.

For relational data, ORDS 3.0 now automatically generates REST endpoints for about a dozen major single table operations including create, query, update, and delete. Easy to write JSON filters allow query predicates and sorts to be specified in a query-by-example format. For more complex operations, REST calls are mapped to SQL and PL/SQL routines you can write which return data in JSON and other formats.

ORDS 3.0 enables a wide range of operations to be performed on JSON documents in the Oracle Database 12c Document Store using the Simple Oracle Document Access (SODA) API over REST. These operations include create, query, update, and delete with support for JSON filters.

With that said lets get started.


If you plan to install this example you'll need to have the following components available. I won't be describing their installation. I'll assume you'll have done this ahead of time
  • Oracle Database (SE or EE) 11.1 or later. Oracle Database 12c is the preferred version. It can be configured either as a PDB or not. You can download it from here
  • Oracle SQL Developer 4.1.3. It needs to be at least this version. You can down load it here
  • Oracle ORDS 3.0.6. You can download it here. (NOTE : I will walkthrough this installation later in the document)
  • A Java Virtual Machine on the server/laptop/VM you are running the example on. I'd recommend Java 8 available here
  • Alternatively you could download a Virtual Box VM such as the "Hands-on Database Application Development" VM from here.Which will provide everything you need in a ready configured package.

I'm also going to assume that you'll be running on a unix type OS (Linux, Mac OS, Solaris, AIX). Although this will also work fine on windows (just need to convert some of the commands).

My setup

For my setup I have the following configuration.
In reality everything is running on my workstation but the the diagram above provides a working model

Install of ORDS

Assuming you aren't going down the pre installed Virtual Box VM mentioned in the previous section. The install of ORDS is very simple. After you've downloaded it to your VM/Server/Laptop all you need to do is unzip it and change into the directory . i.e.

In the directory you unzipped the download run ORDS. The first time you run this it will lead you through the install asking you for the connection to the database. I'd recommended skipping configuring APEX at this stage (by selecting 2 when asked) and running ORDS using http. Whilst these options might not be ideal for production environments they will enable you to get started.

After this completes hit control-c to exit the program. At this stage you should probably add a user with SQLDeveloper development support. I've named mine "appdev" but any name would be fine. We'll use this user later in the example. You can do this using the following command and supplying passwords.

And then restart ORDS. This time it won't prompt you for any passwords but simply run in the foreground

Thats all thats needed to install ORDS.

Install Database Tables

The next step is to create a user and tablespace to hold the tables. I've provided a simple script "create_user.sql" that will create a database user "SOE" and tablespace "SOE" to run it simply connect to the database with a user with DBA privilege. (NOTE : This could also be done inside of SQLDeveloper)
The script creates a user "soe" and and tablespace "soe" and then grants the user access to the tablespace. It finishes off by granting the user enough privileges to create tables, views and procedures
At this stage it's worth starting SQLDeveloper where the bulk of the work will be done. You'll need to create a connection to the Database .You'll do this from the connections tab as show below.

Oracle SQL Developer

Then fill in the details and hit connect

New - Select Database Connection

The next step is to create the example tables and test data. I've provided a simple script "create_tables.sql to do this for you. It will create one to hold the "product_information" that would be typically part of and existing application and other to hold the likes. This table is called "user_likes".

The "USER_LIKES" table is an Index Organised Table. Whilst the trivial amount of data we holding in this example won't benefit from his approach it would likely have an impact on production scale workloads. The script will insert a few sample rows as well.

To run this script copy and paste the SQL into the SQLDeveloper
Oracle SQL Developer - oracle12c2 - soe

Install REST Service Application Code

At this point we'll connect to ORDS from SQLDeveloper. You'll be using the username you used during the installation of ORDS. In my case this was "appdev". From the menu you'll need to view "REST Data Services" and select the "Development" option as shown below

Oracle SQL Developer

This will launch the REST development UI (by default on the left hand side of the screen) as shown below. Add a new connection and fill in the details as shown i.e. Server Path = "/ords" and Schema Workspace = "/soe/".

Affinity Designer

The next step is to run a script "utilities_module.sql" which will enable the schema to support ORDS and create the ORDS modules used by the application. This is purely for convenience. I'll describe the process of creating one of the modules in a blog shortly after this one. To install the REST modules simply copy and paste the code below into the SQLDeveloper session you've already created.

As shown below
Oracle SQL Developer - oracle12c2 - soe

After this script completes we can then download the modules into SQLDeveloper from ORDS's repository. The reason we need to do this is that we've simply imported the data into the ORDS repository and not made it visible to SQLDeveloper at this point. To achieve this all we need to do is


This will display the modules we created by running the script. The two modules are
  • Products : This will simply retrieve the rows from the PRODUCTS table. It's not really necessary to explicitly declare this module as ORDS base functionality already has a REST API that could be used instead.
  • Utilities : This module contains three templates or services we can call to like a row in a table
    • get likes : Gets the total number of likes of a row by all users and the user specified in the parameter
    • like : Enables you to like a row if you haven't already
    • unlike : reverses a like operation by the user specifed if he's liked it before
You can drill into the details of each service by clicking on it and then clicking on the HTTP operation it uses in SQLDeveloper. The details of the service comprises of three sections (here we'll take a look at the "like" service).

The first tab list the SQL or PL/SQL that will implement the business logic. In this particular example we are using PL/SQL to first check if a user has liked a row by checking first the USER_LIKES table. If they haven't already liked the row we insert a new one and commit the transaction.

Oracle SQL Developer

The next tab lists the parameters that are passed to our logic or SQL statement. In our particular example we are passing three parameters that tell the procedure the table that is being liked, the unique identifier for the row (in our simple case it's assumed to be a string but could as equally be a rowid or number) and the user identifier (typically application specific but we'll assume it's something like an email).

Oracle SQL Developer

The final tab summarises some of the settings for the service and provides you with a url to call to test the service.

Oracle SQL Developer

You can test most "GET" REST calls pretty trivially within a browser put it takes just a little bit more for POST, PUT and DELETE. To test the POST call shown in the screen shot above we are going to use a command line utility called curl (installed by default on linux and MacOS). We'll also use a file that contains the json we want to send to the REST service. This file is called "test.json" and has the following contents

To call the REST service all we need to do is issue the following command

Obviously substitute the name of your server in the code. You should get a HTTP return code of 200. Indicating that the code successfully ran.

We can also test the GET REST call that returns the "like" we just made using the following command

You should get a small JSON snippet with the number of likes by everybody and the user "dominic.giles"

Calling the REST Services from a web page

Now that we've got the services up and running we can use a simple web page that displays all of the rows from the PRODUCT_INFORMATION table with a "thumb" to enable us to like the row. Like all of the code used in this blog you can find them all on my github repository.Let me start by saying that the web page we are going to create is a very simple example and would normally require a lot more validation and error handling before it would ever be considered for a production environment.

The web page we'll put together uses JQuery and a javascript library called "DataTables" (link here). However it's important to point out that implementing this functionality doesn't require these tools. It could have been as easily achieved using Oracle Application Express or a framework like Jet. But to simplify things this approach allows us to minimise the steps required and reduce the amount of moving parts.

The final app should look like this


When the form is first loaded the javascript calls the "GetLikes" REST service (once for each row displayed) which asynchronously returns the total count of "likes" a product has received and sets the colour of the them dependent on whether the current user has liked it. It will stay grey if the current user hasn't liked it and turn blue if they have. On clicking on a thumb the javascript checks whether the user has previously like it. If they haven't it calls the "Like" REST Call and call the "Unlike" REST call if they have.

The code is made up broken up into two files. One containing the HTML and the other the containing the javascript.

And the javascript

This really isn't the place to go into all of the details of the code but there are one or two things that are worth pointing out. The first is at the start of liketable.js file. You'll need to change the following entries to reflect your own environment. It's likely you'll only need to change the "hostport" variable to start with. The username is hardcoded in this example but in the real world it would be derived from the system context.

var $userName = 'dominic.giles';
var $tableName = 'product_information';
var $hostport = 'http://oracle12c2:8080';
var $uniqueIDColumn = "product_id";

The other piece of code worth looking at is the calls to the REST service. The code below uses the javascript ajax functionality to make an asynchronous call to ORDS which with then return the JSON response.

function getRowLikes(un, tn, rID) {
    var likeResult = $.ajax({
        url: $hostport + "/ords/soe/utilities/getlikes?table_name=" + tn + "&column_value=" + rID + "&user_id=" + un,
        type: "GET"
    return likeResult;

Likewise the following shows the AJAX call to the like function. This call unlike the the previous one is performed synchronously but follows the same principals.

function likeRow(un, tn, rID) {
        url: $hostport + "/ords/soe/utilities/like",
        type: "POST",
        data: {"table_name": tn, "column_value": rID, "user_id": un},
        async: false

Once you've made the changes to the hostname variable you should be able to open a browser and open the products.html file within it.

Over the coming days I'll knock up a little screen cast to accompany this blog.

A new member of the family

I’ve just add a new member to the family. MonitorDB. It’s a simple tool that allows you to trivially chart and record the values of a SQL query. You can have as many charts as you want and you can pretty much chart anything as long as it’s expressed in SQL form. Take a look at short description here or download it here
Monitor IO

Notes on pre-parsing data for Oracle data loads

Sometimes data simply isn't in a form that is easy to load into an Oracle database i.e. column form. It would be great if everybody exchanged data in a simple CSV form with a single file to table mapping. Sadly that isn't the case and sometimes you have to do a little work to get it into a form thats useable. A recent benchmark highlighted this issue very well. The customer provided the data in compressed CSV form (so far so good) but the data was held in key value pairs (not so good). They also provided us with a mapping file that describes how it all fits together. 

Now typically the approach many people would take would be to develop some form of program that parses all of the data and writes it to staging  area and then loads all of it in one go to the target database. I make no criticism of this approach since it works well and as long as its not time critical. It's by far the simplest method. However Im a big fan of taking advantage of whats already available and one of the most underused and powerful features of the Oracle database is  the preparser. It enables you to pipeline various operations so they all run as quickly as possible. So going back to my benchmark we used this approach to load data into out target database. It consisted of 4 steps
  • Read the data of the filesystem as efficiently as possible and write it to stdout
  • Read from stdin and Unzip the the data writing it to stdout
  • Read from stdin into a java program to do the key value mapping and error detection/correction writing the output to stdout
  • Read from stdin into sqlloader
I will at this time point out I'm not really using Oracle's pre-parser I'm just using good old "Pipes" but why this is important will become clearer later This approach gave us a great deal of flexibility and simplified the code we had to write. It operates in some respects as a serialised map reduce flow but I'll come back to that another day and explain how it can be integrated directly into a massively parallel approach. It's also possible to get Java to natively read the zipped file as well having said that I offloaded that process to the os to enable me to use different compression formats when needed.

The java program simple reads from stdin and writes to stdout. To handle key value pairs just required the program to read the mapping file in and split and parse the values from stdin. The data was then written to stdout in a well know order.

Java extract from my program... 

            BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(, OneMB);
            String line = null;
            HashMap keyValuePairs = null;
            MyTokenizer mt = null;
            while ((line = br.readLine()) != null) {
                keyValuePairs = new HashMap(200);
                mt = new MyTokenizer(line, delimitor);
                for (String token : mt) {
                    int loc = token.indexOf("=");
                    if (loc != -1) {
                        String i = token.substring(0, loc);
                        String s = token.substring(loc + 1, token.length());
                        keyValuePairs.put(i, s);
                StringBuffer outRec = new StringBuffer(1000);
                outRec.append(checkForNull(keyValuePairs.get("uniqueID"), "")).append(seperator);
                // mapping logic similar to above repeats

All that was needed for sqlloader to process the files was a control file that understood the order of the columns and any additional formatting. 

One of the additional benefits is that we can load the data via "direct path" and implement other features such as multi table insert. The Java preparser enables you to add all of the additional formatting to make this a trivial process.

The following diagram illustrates the process.

This equates into a Unix/Linux statement such as

/bin/dd if=myverybigfile.txt bs=1024k status=noxfer 2>/dev/null | /bin/gunzip -c | java -classpath /home/oracle/loader.jar com.dom.KeyValueParserStdIn | sqlloader bench/bench control=kv.ctl data=\"-\" direct=TRUE;

NOTE : one thing you may have noticed is that Im using dd to do 1MB I/Os. This just an efficiency operation and works well on structures such as DBFS, you could skip this part of the operation if needed.

Which brings us onto external tables and the preparser

External Tables and pre-parsers 

As I mentioned earlier I like to take advantage of functionality that's already available and one of those features in the Oracle database is external tables. I don't intend to go into much detail as to why you should use external tables other than they do much of the heavy lifting for you and they provide a seamless interface between the filesystem and the database. They effectively make files look like tables. 

This means it's trivial to implement parallelism for our pre-parser. We don't need to worry about how to handle the files and how to schedule everything, external tables take care of all of that for you. In our benchmark we used them in the following way

Our previous pipeline remains the same except that we don't need sqlloader its all managed by the table definition itself. So we end up with something similar to the following for the table definition (I've abbreviated it quite substantially and highlighted the important bits)

create table staging_ext_mydata_jan01
(    uniqueid NUMBER,
-- Lots of columns
   TYPE oracle_loader
   DEFAULT DIRECTORY load_dir_jan01
      PREPROCESSOR exec_dir:''
      BADFILE log_dir: 'external.bad'
      LOGFILE log_dir: 'external.log'
fields terminated by '|'
   ( uniqueid char(100),
-- Lots of defintions

One of the things to note is that I've included the pipelined preprocessor inside of a shell script which looks like this 

/bin/dd if=$1 bs=1024k status=noxfer 2>/dev/null | /bin/gunzip -c | java -classpath /home/oracle/loader.jar com.dom.KeyValueParserStdIn

The important part of this script is the parameter ($1) that is passed to the shell script. This is the file name that the external table wants to process. 

A simple select statement from my "staging_ext_mydata_jan01" unzips and parses the data converting it to usable columns. Whats more if I issue the statement in parallel Oracle takes care of creating the processes for me and making sure everything is scheduled in an orderly fashion.

To finish the load we simply used a multi table insert to put the data into the correct tables in an efficient fashion. Using this approach we were able to read zipped files, parse them and insert them into our three target tables at over 1.5 million source records/sec.

New Build of Datagenerator

Im releasing a new build of Datagenerator simply because there hasn’t been one for a while. Thats not to say it hasn’t undergone significant changes. Most of them are as a result of enhancements to support schema creation for swingbench. In particular is the introduction of Pre and Post generation scripts. These allow me to run a complete schema creation from within datagenerator. These scripts appear as top level items from within the tree (see below).

In the side panel you can now include scripts and parameters for the scripts.

I’ve also included the script files used for generating the SH and SOE schemas used by swingbench. This should make it easier to understand what is going on and potentially create your own versions of the schemas.

In this release I’ve also improved the threading model and included one or two other performance enhancements....

In the next release I’m going to try and add support for for well know data items such as zip/post codes, NI numbers, Social Security etc.... as well as allowing users to plug their own data generators in.

You can download it from the usual place and as before leave comments below or via the comments page.

Database Time Monitor

I’ve released another little utility called “Database Time Monitor”. I think the name speaks for itself. You can find more details here and download it here.