OraDescribe Function


Describes select-list items for SQL queries. This function returns internal data type description and size information for a specified select-list item.

If it is used without specifying the select-list item, all select-list items of the SELECT statement are described and OraDefine function calls are performed implicitly in order to define an output variable for each select-list item of a SQL query. In this case, no values are returned in the out parameters and the select-list items are bound as strings regardless of the Oracle internal data type. The functions listed below can be used to retrieve values from the program variable that is defined for the select-list item.

  • OraGetFloat
  • OraGetInt
  • OraGetString
  • OraGetValue

Include file



OraDescribe( in    cCursor      : cursor,
             in    nPosition    : number optional,
             out   nDBSize      : number optional,
             out   nDBType      : number optional,
             out   sColName     : string optional,
             inout nNameLen     : number optional,
             out   nDisplaySize : number optional,
             out   nPrecision   : number optional,
             out   nScale       : number optional,
             out   nNullOk      : number optional ): boolean;

Return value

  • true if successful

  • false otherwise. In this case, you can use the OraOciError function to retrieve the Oracle OCI error code

Parameter Description
cCursor Cursor associated with a database connection
nPosition Position index of the select-list item in the SQL query (optional). Position indices start at 1 for the first (leftmost) select-list item.
nDBSize Variable receiving the maximum size of the column, as stored in the Oracle data dictionary (optional)
nDBType Variable receiving the data type code of the select-list item (optional). See Oracle data types for detailed information
sColName Variable receiving the column name of the specified select-list item (optional)
nNameLen Size of the variable receiving the column name (optional). After the function call, this parameter contains the actual length of the column name
nDisplaySize Variable receiving the maximum display size of the select-list item if the select-list item is returned as a character string (optional)
nPrecision Variable receiving the precision of numeric select-list items (optional). The precision is the total number of digits of a number.
nScale Variable receiving the scale of numeric select-list items (optional)

Variable receiving an indicator whether null values are permitted.

  • If this parameter contains 0, null values are not permitted

  • Otherwise, null values are permitted


  hConnection : number;
  cCursor : cursor;

  transaction TMain
    nDBSize, nDBType, nNameLength, nDisplaySize : number;
    nPrecision, nScale, nNullOk                 : number;
    sColumnName                                 : string;
    OraLogon(hConnection, "user", "password", "orclnet2");
    OraOpen(cCursor, hConnection);
    OraParse(cCursor, sqlSelect);
    nNameLength := sizeof(sColumnName);
    OraDescribe(cCursor, 2, nDBSize, nDBType, sColumnName, nNameLength, nDisplaySize, nPrecision, nScale, nNullOk);
    write("maximum column size = "); write(nDBSize); writeln;
    write("column data type    = "); write(nDBType); writeln;
    write("column name         = "); write(sColumnName); writeln;
    write("name length         = "); write(nNameLength); writeln;
    write("display size        = "); write(nDisplaySize); writeln;
    write("precision           = "); write(nPrecision); writeln;
    write("scale               = "); write(nScale); writeln;
    write("NULL values         : ");

    if nNullOk = 0 then
      write("not permitted")

  end TMain;

  SELECT * FROM accounts;


maximum column size = 22
column data type    = 2
column name         = BALANCE
name length         = 7
display size        = 40
precision           = 36
scale               = 2
NULL values         : permitted

See also

Oracle's Programmer's Guide to Oracle Call Interface for Wrapped Oracle function: odescr