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Don Burleson Blog 







Passing Oracle variables to a Shell Script 

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonJanuary 14, 2016

Question:  Within SQL*Plus is there a way to get this value into a shell script environment variable?

How do I pass a variable to SQL*Plus in a ksh shell script?

Answer:  Passing variables to shell scripts is tricky!  Jon Emmons as a great book "Oracle Shell Scripting" with lots of working examples of passing user defined variables to Oracle in a shell script.  Working scripts exist in the books code download.

Also see passing variables to SQL*Plus.

 I used numbered variables, like &1 and &2, but as long as they are defined and exported in the shell script, they will be resolved in SQL*Plus (unless they contain special characters).  

In cases where a variable contains special characters ($owner), you have to "escape" variables in sqlplus when they contain dollar signs . . .

 If you do it all one line (a requirement in Windows shell scripting), it's easy to pass a ksh shell script variable into sqlplus:

export $min_snap

export $max_snap

$ORACLE_HOME/bin/sqlplus -S perfstat/perf$ORACLE_SID@$ORACLE_SID @sppurge $min_snap $max_snap

Here are some working examples using the C shell:

sqlplus -S system/manager << EOF
SELECT username, account_status, expiry_date
FROM dba_users WHERE lower(username)=lower('$lookup');

Shell Variables and Embedded SQL

Earlier in this chapter, we saw how SQL can be embedded in a shell script.  One side benefit to this method is that we can use shell variables to represent values within the embedded SQL.  In the following script we pass a username to the script as an argument, it is transferred to a variable named lookup for better readability and the variable lookup is used in the WHERE clause within the SQL.

sqlplus -S system/manager << EOF
SELECT username, account_status, expiry_date
FROM dba_users WHERE lower(username)=lower('$lookup');

The result is a single script which can take an argument and execute SQL using the value of that argument.  This can be a very efficient way to load data into Oracle tables without the need for a load file or other intermediate step.

Here is another example where the entire SQL*Plus session is passed as a single variable called invalid_count:

invalid_count=`sqlplus -L -s / as sysdba <<.eof.  
set pages 0 feed off heading off echo off verify off termout off  
select count(*) from dba_objects where status != 'VALID';  
echo $invalid_count

In the code above, note that the shell script accepts the SQL*Plus output via the use of the "grave (`)" symbol.

Again, for complete examples of passing complex variable to SQL*Plus from  a shell script, get the code download in "Oracle Shell Scripting".


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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

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