Does your error logging logic still look like this?
example 1 – old school handler
procedure doSomething is begin ... exception when others then pk_log.error(p_module => $$PLSQL_UNIT, p_submodule => 'doSomething', p_message => 'Something not done!'||sqlerrm); raise; end;
Here is what I prefer!
example 2 – compact handler
procedure doSomething is begin ... exception when others then pk_log.error('Something not done!'); raise; end;
Such code is way more convinient! Of cause this will store the same information as the previous example 1.
To get there some parts have to be moved into the logging method (pk_log.error).
is the error message
When moving, it should also be improved (at least use
is the name of the package (or of the standalone procedure or function)
is the hardcoded name of the procedure
It needs to be gathered dynamically at runtime inside the logging package.
The biggest issue is 3.) – to find the name of the module at runtime. The function
who_called can solve that. It also gathers the package name on the way, so 2.) is also covered.
Side note: Is hardcoding the procedure name a problem?
Not really. However if the name changes one needs to change it in several lines. And in case one forgets to change the error handler, the compiler will not issue an error. Then the problem might go unnoticed for some time and could be misleading in case of exceptions.
I have two versions of the
who_called function. The first standalone version is not recommend to use. Instead use the packaged version. However the first version demonstrates the implemented logic in a clear way.
Both functions will find the full name of the module that called this code block. The default behaviour is that modules from the same package are ignored. This allows easy usage inside packages ment for logging, auditing or testing. Everything that is instrumentation code can usually profit from this little helper.
Usecase 1 – demo purposes – standalone function
This logic assumes that we use the function to find out who called the procedure that is currently running. So not the name of the procedure itself, but the name of the caller.
-- Cleanup -- drop function who_called; -- Usecase 1: standalone function - simple demo version -- check the call stack to find the calling module. create or replace function who_called return varchar2 is v_caller utl_call_stack.unit_qualified_name; v_name varchar2(128); begin -- print the call stack just for demo purposes for i in 1..utl_call_stack.dynamic_depth loop sys.dbms_output.put_line( rpad('+',utl_call_stack.dynamic_depth-i,'+')|| utl_call_stack.concatenate_subprogram( utl_call_stack.subprogram(i) ) ); end loop; -- step backwards though the call stack -- 1 = current module = who_called function -- 2 = the module that calls who_called -- 3 = the caller! v_caller := utl_call_stack.subprogram(3); v_name := utl_call_stack.concatenate_subprogram(v_caller); return v_name; end who_called; /
example 3 usage
set serveroutput on -- Testcase 1.1 anonymous block declare procedure DoSomething as begin dbms_output.put_line('I want to doSomething!'); dbms_output.put_line('Who called? '|| who_called); end; procedure DoMore as begin doSomething; dbms_output.put_line('I want to doMore!'); dbms_output.put_line('Who called? '|| who_called); end; begin doMore; end; /
I want to doSomething! +++WHO_CALLED ++__anonymous_block.DOSOMETHING +__anonymous_block.DOMORE __anonymous_block Who called? __anonymous_block.DOMORE I want to doMore! ++WHO_CALLED +__anonymous_block.DOMORE __anonymous_block Who called? __anonymous_block PL/SQL-Prozedur erfolgreich abgeschlossen.
Each time the function is called, it prints the full call stack to the screen. This is just for demonstration purposes.
The first time the function who_called is executed is from inside the submodule doSomething.
The call stack at this point looks like this
|Position in Stack||Module|
Line 5 in the anonymous block is the line with the
who_called function (call stack 1). It is part of the
doSomething procedure (call stack 2). On position 3 of the call stack we always find the caller – here the procedure
doMore that did execute
The second time the function is called is in the
doMore procedure. And the call stack looks like this:
|Position in Stack||Module|
In this case the caller is the anonymous block.
The example clearly shows that we can fetch the name of any module in the call stack (including anonymous blocks). We just have to fetch the name from the proper level in the call stack.
Usecase 2 – error and trace logging – packaged version
This works a bit differently when used inside a larger package that is used to instrument the code base. Typically we can add error logging logic, and logging debug (trace) calls. In that scenario, we want to find out the name of the module where the trace or error logging call is made.
The logic assumes that we have a package used for this instrumentation purpose only. Which also means, that all calls inside this package can be ignored. So essentially we want to find out what is the full name of the procedure (or function) where the log error or the log trace call is done. The full name can be something like package.module.submodule.subsubmodule.
When testing this, make sure you do not have/own a package
pk_log already. This would overwrite it.
If you like it copy the code for the
who_called function into your own instrumentation package.
-- Cleanup -- drop function who_called; -- who_called packaged version -- check the call stack to find the calling module. -- calls from this package are not considered create or replace package pk_log as /* this is a very simplified example for error logging only demonstration purposes of the WHO_CALLED function your error logging logic must be better! */ procedure error(message in varchar2); procedure trace(message in varchar2); end pk_log; / create or replace package body pk_log as function who_called return varchar2 is -- author: Sven Weller, 2021, syntegris information soultions GmbH v_pkg varchar2(128) := $$plsql_unit; -- name of the package that holds the who_called function v_caller utl_call_stack.UNIT_QUALIFIED_NAME; v_name varchar2(128); begin -- step backwards though the call stack -- 1 = current module = who_called function -- 2 = the module that calls who_called -- 3 = the caller! -- we could start later (level 3 or even 4), if we knew exactly how many other submodules are always in the call stack -- This might be risky if function inlineing is possible, but that can be prevented by a pragma. Example in proc error for i in 2..utl_call_stack.dynamic_depth loop v_caller := utl_call_stack.subprogram(i); v_name := utl_call_stack.concatenate_subprogram(v_caller); -- at lexical depth 1 we find the name of the package if v_caller(1) != v_pkg then -- In some scenarios, we might want to go even one step upward the call stack. Typically not for error logging purposes. -- In such cases we could simply fetch one more name from the call stack -- v_caller := utl_call_stack.subprogram(i+1); -- build the full name, but only if we found the caller v_name := utl_call_stack.concatenate_subprogram(v_caller); -- no need to go further through the call stack exit; end if; end loop; return v_name; end who_called; procedure writeMessage(message in varchar2, message_type in varchar2) as begin case message_type when 'E' then sys.dbms_output.put_line('ERROR at ' || who_called); when 'T' then sys.dbms_output.put_line('Info from ' || who_called); else sys.dbms_output.put_line('ERROR! Unknown Message Typ ' || message_type || ' in '||who_called); end case; sys.dbms_output.put_line(message); if message_type = 'E' then -- Add full error stack sys.dbms_output.put_line(dbms_utility.format_error_stack); -- Add line where the error happened -- Only the last line from the backtrace is relevant, all other lines are already in the error stack -- compare output to sys.dbms_output.put_line(dbms_utility.format_error_backtrace); sys.dbms_output.put_line(' in '||nvl(UTL_CALL_STACK.backtrace_unit(utl_call_stack.backtrace_depth),'anonymous block') ||' at line '||sys.utl_call_stack.backtrace_line(utl_call_stack.backtrace_depth) ); end if; end writeMessage; procedure error(message in varchar2) as pragma autonomous_transaction; begin pragma inline(writeMessage,'NO'); -- we don't want to inline in case of optimization_level = 3. writeMessage(message,'E' ); end error; procedure trace(message in varchar2) as pragma autonomous_transaction; begin writeMessage(message,'T' ); end trace; end pk_log; /
example 4 call package, log trace and log error
set serveroutput on -- Testcase 2.1 anonymous block declare procedure DoSomething as begin pk_log.trace('I want to doSomething!'); end; procedure DoMore as begin doSomething; raise no_data_found; end; begin doMore; exception when others then pk_log.error('I wanted to do more, but this happend!'); raise; end; /
This is the dbms_output (the simplified trace and error logs).
Info from __anonymous_block.DOSOMETHING I want to doSomething! ERROR at __anonymous_block I wanted to do more, but this happend! ORA-01403: no data found ORA-06512: at line 10 in anonymous block at line 13
The output is followed by the exception from the final RAISE; of the block (from SQL developer).
Fehler beim Start in Zeile: 4 in Befehl - declare procedure DoSomething as begin pk_log.trace('I want to doSomething!'); end; procedure DoMore as begin doSomething; raise no_data_found; end; begin doMore; exception when others then pk_log.error('I wanted to do more, but this happend!'); raise; end; Fehlerbericht - ORA-01403: no data found ORA-06512: at line 17 ORA-06512: at line 10 ORA-06512: at line 13 01403. 00000 - "no data found" *Cause: No data was found from the objects. *Action: There was no data from the objects which may be due to end of fetch.
In SQL Plus we get one more line, because of the additional raise in line 17.
There is something special in the code. The last line from the error backtrace is captured and returned.
"in anonymous block at line 13" .
This last line is missing in the error stack, which means it is usually not returned when you only store
To add this last line
utl_call_stack.backtrace_line(utl_call_stack.backtrace_depth) is executed. All other lines from the error backtrace are already in the error stack (depends on DB version) – so those can be ignored.
For my purposes it works fine and the resulting code is very clean.
I currently use it in an audit package based upon Connor McDonalds Audit Generator which was massively reworked for some custom needs. Maybe I publish this one day. But that is another story.
- Way less to type – less mistakes
- much easier to see what the error handler does
- concentrate coding effort on the important bits – mostly the additional information that should be added to the error
- A tiniest bit slower than hard coding the package and submodule name
=> For exception handling this is not relevant.
=> In huge debug or trace scenarios this time could add up if extreme performance is needed. Conditional compiling can be applied to remove instrumentation calls if you compile for extreme plsql performance.
- since part of the logic is hidden other developers might wanted to add the module name into the message
- module name is fetched at run time, not at compile time
=> this can be an issue, especially if optimization level 3 is used. Function inlineing (check the compiler warnings) is a method that the plsql optimizer can choose to speed up logic. However it also means that the function at runtime will not exist anymore. And utl_call_stack will not be able to report the name of the module correctly. Note that there is a compiler warning that inlining happend (which usually is a good thing).
Feel free to adapt this code snippet to your special needs. I’m convinced this will help you to write simpler and more efficient error handlers.