CHAPTER 1 Introduction to PL/SQL1.1 What Is PL/SQL?
is a particular way of giving instructions to (that is,programming) a computer. Computer languages tend to have a small vocabularycompared to regular human language. In addition, the way you can use thelanguage vocabulary—that is, the grammar—is much less flexible than humanlanguage. These limitations occur because computers take everything literally;they have no way of reading between the lines and assuming what youIntended.
refers to a series of ordered steps that the computer should follow toproduce a result. This type of language also includes data structures that holdinformation that can be used multiple times. The individual statements could beexpressed as a flow chart (although flow charts are out of fashion these days).Programs written in such a language use its sequential, conditional, and Iterativeconstructs to express
. So this part of the PL/SQL's definition is justsaying that it is in the same family of languages as BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN,Pascal, and C.
Saying that PL/SQL is a procedural language makes more sense when youunderstand some other types of programming languages. There are at least four ways to categorize popular languages.
Procedural programming languages
Allow the programmer to define an ordered series of steps to follow in order toproduce a result. Examples: PL/SQL, C, Visual Basic, Perl, Ada.
Object-oriented programming languages
Based on the concept of an
, which is a data structure encapsulated with aset of routines, called
Declarative programming languages
Allow the programmer to describe relationships between variables in terms of functions or rules; the language executor (interpreter or compiler) applies somefixed algorithm to these relations to producea result. Examples: Logo, LISP, and Prolog.