Loading Oracle LOB Data – Code Samples

October 7th, 2010

Recently we were working over the release of the version 2.0 of  dbForge Data Compare for Oracle. One of the main features added to the new version was synchronization of the LOB data. When we developed the first release of the product we postponed this feature because of challenges of synchronizing LOB data. These challenges caused by nature of data stored in BLOB or CLOB columns. It’s large and simply does not fit into SQL script. But we’ve found the solution.

In this article we will examine basic methods of loading LOB data into a table.


The simplest and most convenient method of inserting/updating LOB data in a table is usage of DBMS_LOB package. In this case, the data gets into a table through additional variables inserted into PL/SQL block.

TMP_BLOB variable serves like a buffer storage for a LOB value. A data type of a temporary variable is selected according to a data type of a LOB column, e.g., to load data into a column with CLOB data type, the temporary variable will be of CLOB data type. XMLTYPE is a modification of CLOB data type; therefore its temporary variable will be CLOB. Data is written to buffer in parts with the help of SRC_CHUNK variable. The variable uses RAW data type, which size is determined by a length of the loaded data part. To create a buffer variable, the following query sequence is used:

After this you can write data into this variable. Here SRC_CHUNK variable is used, i.e., firstly, data is assigned to the variable, and then, with the help of DBMS_LOB.WRITEAPPEND function, the data get into TMP_BLOB variable.

When data is fully loaded into TMP_BLOB, this variable is used in INSERT/UPDATE clause.

The final script will be:

Loading data through files

This method was designed for cases when DBMS_LOB.WRITEAPPEND can not be used. It happens when, for example, one query for synchronization exceeds the acceptable size of dedicated storage for the program. In this case a user can load LOB data into a table via files. To do this, the user should have the access to a directory on a server. This directory will be used to create files for synchronization. To load the files, it is required to bing the directory to an Oracle database – this will allow calling the directory from a synchronization script. Calling the directory is done through alias which is assigned by executing the following script:

To load data into a table, an auxiliary variable is also used:

Also an auxiliary function LOAD_BLOB_FROM_FILE is declared:

This function loads data from a file into BLOB variable. The main function is DBMS_LOB.LOADBLOBFROMFILE that reads the file’s content. DBMS_LOB.LOADСLOBFROMFILE function is used for loading text data. Its input parameter is a file encoding name. Calling LOAD_BLOB_FROM_FILE returns a LOB value that should be sent to a database.

The final script will be:

Problems in CLOB and NCLOB data synchronization on Oracle 8

Challenges happen as earlier Oracle versions do not have LOADСLOBFROMFILE function of DBMS_LOB package. This forces the usage of DBMS_LOB.LOADFROMFILE function that does not have parameters to manage text encoding. As a result, data can be inserted incorrectly if any non-Latin symbols exist.


The illustrated methods have their pros and cons. Usage of DBMS_LOB.WRITEAPPEND allows loading data via only a script, howerver, in case of dealing with large bulks of data, it will be impossible to execute such a scipt. Loading LOB from a file also has a defect as moving a file to a server pc brings much inconvenience.

3 Responses to “Loading Oracle LOB Data – Code Samples”

  1. Harvinder Says:


    As per my business requirement ,I was trying your below piece of code. But it did worked.
    My oracle version is 11g. The code which is giving error is given below. canu u guide me why this code is giving error or what is the missing thing.

    SRC_CHUNK RAW(12001);




    Error report:
    ORA-21560: argument 2 is null, invalid, or out of range
    ORA-06512: at “SYS.DBMS_LOB”, line 1139
    ORA-06512: at line 10
    21560. 00000 – “argument %s is null, invalid, or out of range”
    *Cause: The argument is expecting a non-null, valid value but the
    argument value passed in is null, invalid, or out of range.
    Examples include when the LOB/FILE positional or size
    argument has a value outside the range 1 through (4GB – 1),
    or when an invalid open mode is used to open a file, etc.
    *Action: Check your program and correct the caller of the routine
    to not pass a null, invalid or out-of-range argument value.

  2. Peter Says:

    I found this solution:
    Use utl_raw.length() instead of length() for RAW datatypes

  3. Peter Says:

    Use utl_raw.length() instead of length() for RAW datatypes

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