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Generic data models … generic applications … ugh

There’s a hesitation to publish this example, because publishing it may be interpreted as an endorsement of this approach and it certainly isn’t. Over the years there have been plenty of articles describing the long term pain that typically comes from generic data models. Here’s a few to whet your appetite.

https://rodgersnotes.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/muck-massively-unified-code-key-generic-three-table-data-model/

https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk/opinion/opinion-pieces/bad-carma/

https://asktom.oracle.com/pls/asktom/asktom.search?tag=query-on-design

But I’m posting this example because it serves as a nice tutorial for DBMS_SQL, and also, there is perhaps the suggestion that the requestor is moving away from a generic data model to a more well structured one. We’ll go with the benefit of the doubt here Smile

The incoming data for this example was the “classic” generic data model where the table name, column name and column values were not defined in the data dictionary but as values within a table


SQL> CREATE TABLE data_table
  2    (
  3      row_seq      int,
  4      table_name   VARCHAR2(30),
  5      column_name  VARCHAR2(30),
  6      column_value VARCHAR2(30)
  7    );

Table created.

SQL>
SQL>
SQL>
SQL> insert into data_table values ( 1,'TEST_TAB','ORDER_NUMBER','ORD1001');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 1,'TEST_TAB','CUST_NAME','CUST1001');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 1,'TEST_TAB','INVOICE_NUMBER','INV001');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 1,'TEST_TAB','ORDER_DATE','04/11/2018 15:14:00');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 1,'TEST_TAB','AMOUNT','1001');

1 row created.

SQL>
SQL> insert into data_table values ( 2,'TEST_TAB','ORDER_NUMBER','ORD1002');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 2,'TEST_TAB','CUST_NAME','CUST1002');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 2,'TEST_TAB','INVOICE_NUMBER','INV002');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 2,'TEST_TAB','ORDER_DATE','02/11/2018 15:14:00');

1 row created.

SQL> insert into data_table values ( 2,'TEST_TAB','AMOUNT','1002');

1 row created.

SQL>
SQL> commit;

Commit complete.

SQL> select * from data_table;

   ROW_SEQ TABLE_NAME                     COLUMN_NAME                    COLUMN_VALUE
---------- ------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------------------
         1 TEST_TAB                       ORDER_NUMBER                   ORD1001
         1 TEST_TAB                       CUST_NAME                      CUST1001
         1 TEST_TAB                       INVOICE_NUMBER                 INV001
         1 TEST_TAB                       ORDER_DATE                     04/11/2018 15:14:00
         1 TEST_TAB                       AMOUNT                         1001
         2 TEST_TAB                       ORDER_NUMBER                   ORD1002
         2 TEST_TAB                       CUST_NAME                      CUST1002
         2 TEST_TAB                       INVOICE_NUMBER                 INV002
         2 TEST_TAB                       ORDER_DATE                     02/11/2018 15:14:00
         2 TEST_TAB                       AMOUNT                         1002

10 rows selected.

The task here was to take those values and convert into INSERT statements, so with the sample data above, the aim is to insert those rows into a table called TEST_TAB. Given that the DML must generated entirely from metadata, we can use DBMS_SQL to handle it. Constructing the DML is easier than you might think due to some handy analytic SQL functions plus the ever useful LISTAGG.


SQL> select
  2    row_number() over
  3      ( partition by table_name, row_seq order by column_name ) as seq,
  4    count(*) over
  5      ( partition by table_name, row_seq ) as col_cnt,
  6    listagg(column_name,',') within group
  7      ( order by column_name ) over ( partition by table_name, row_seq ) as cols,
  8    listagg(':'||column_name,',') within group
  9      ( order by column_name ) over ( partition by table_name, row_seq ) as bindcols,
 10    column_value
 11  from data_table
 12  order by table_name, row_seq, column_name
 13  @pr
==============================
SEQ                           : 1
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : 1001
==============================
SEQ                           : 2
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : CUST1001
==============================
SEQ                           : 3
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : INV001
==============================
SEQ                           : 4
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : 04/11/2018 15:14:00
==============================
SEQ                           : 5
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : ORD1001
==============================
SEQ                           : 1
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : 1002
==============================
SEQ                           : 2
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : CUST1002
==============================
SEQ                           : 3
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : INV002
==============================
SEQ                           : 4
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : 02/11/2018 15:14:00
==============================
SEQ                           : 5
COL_CNT                       : 5
COLS                          : AMOUNT,CUST_NAME,INVOICE_NUMBER,ORDER_DATE,ORDER_NUMBER
BINDCOLS                      : :AMOUNT,:CUST_NAME,:INVOICE_NUMBER,:ORDER_DATE,:ORDER_NUMBER
COLUMN_VALUE                  : ORD1002

Now that we have each data value, plus all the components for an INSERT statement (including binding values not using any literals), we’re good to go:


SQL> create table test_tab (
  2    order_number varchar2(10),
  3    cust_name varchar2(10),
  4    invoice_number varchar2(10),
  5    order_date varchar2(30),
  6    amount varchar2(10)
  7  );

Table created.


SQL> declare
  2    l_sql varchar2(32000);
  3    l_cur     pls_integer := dbms_sql.open_cursor;
  4    l_execute pls_integer;
  5  begin
  6    for i in (
  7      select   table_name,
  8               column_name,
  9               row_number() over ( partition by table_name, row_seq order by column_name ) as seq,
 10               count(*) over ( partition by table_name, row_seq ) as col_cnt,
 11               listagg(column_name,',') within group ( order by column_name ) over ( partition by table_name, row_seq ) as cols,
 12               listagg(':'||column_name,',') within group ( order by column_name ) over ( partition by table_name, row_seq ) as bindcols,
 13               column_value
 14      from data_table
 15      order by table_name, row_seq, column_name
 16   ) loop
 17       if i.seq = 1 then
 18         l_sql := 'insert into '||i.table_name||'('||i.cols||') values ('||i.bindcols||')';
 19         dbms_sql.parse(l_cur,l_sql,dbms_sql.native);
 20       end if;
 21       dbms_sql.bind_variable(l_cur,i.column_name,i.column_value);
 22       if i.seq = i.col_cnt then
 23         l_execute := dbms_sql.execute(l_cur);
 24       end if;
 25   end loop;
 26   dbms_sql.close_cursor(l_cur);
 27  end;
 28  /

PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

SQL>
SQL> select * from test_tab;

ORDER_NUMB CUST_NAME  INVOICE_NU ORDER_DATE                     AMOUNT
---------- ---------- ---------- ------------------------------ ----------
ORD1001    CUST1001   INV001     04/11/2018 15:14:00            1001
ORD1002    CUST1002   INV002     02/11/2018 15:14:00            1002

2 rows selected.

SQL>