pass pl/sql variable to unix

ok, here's what i need to do.  i have a unix shell script (hp unix, ksh shell) that is started each night via the crontab.  i need the shell script to start, set shell variable, log into a database, check an oracle 8.1.7 table for a flag value. pass the value of this flag back to the unix shell script variable.

start shell script.
set unix variable.
log into oracle 8.1.7 (on same box).
check table for flag.
send flag value out to unix
if unix variable is x, do y
if unix variable is a, do b

so, is this possible?  can you send the value of a pl/sql variable out to unix? please help.
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benpungAsked:
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schwertnerCommented:
You can use UTL_FILE package of PL/SQL to create a OS file and to put everything you need there.
Unix has excelellent tools for reading flat files.

An example:

procedure YOUR_PROC   is

   sasha SYS.UTL_FILE.FILE_TYPE;

    sanjeev   VARCHAR2(1800);

begin

  sasha := UTL_File.Fopen('D:\staff\cv','56789.txt', 'r');
 

LOOP

UTL_File.get_line(sasha,sanjeev);

-- FORMAT THE DATA in/from buffer sanjeev and insert in Oracle DB using INSERT statement

END LOOP              
               
EXCEPTION
WHEN no_data_found THEN  
UTL_File.Fclose(sasha);                      
WHEN  UTL_File.invalid_filehandle   THEN ... UTL_File.Fclose(sasha);  
      --   invalid_filehandle - not a valid file handle
WHEN  UTL_File.read_error   THEN ... UTL_File.Fclose(sasha);
       -- OS error occurred during read
WHEN  UTL_File.invalid_operation   THEN ... UTL_File.Fclose(sasha);                    

end  YOUR_PROC ;


REMARK
Server security for PL/SQL file I/O consists of a restriction on the directories that can be accessed.
Accessible directories must be specified in the
instance parameter initialization file (INIT.ORA).

Specify the accessible directories for the UTL_FILE
functions in the initialization file
using the UTL_FILE_DIR parameter.
For example:
UTL_FILE_DIR = <directory name>
like in
UTL_FILE_DIR = C:\DATA\ORACLE\DATAFILES
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morphmanCommented:
Or if like some (me included), you dont have access to the utl_file_dir, or to change it, you can do the following.

In your unix script do the following

VAR=`sqlplus -s user/password @script`

In your plsql script, put the following sqlplus commands at the top.

------------------------------
set echo off
set feedback off
set serveroutput on

begin

dbms_output.put_line(plsql_var);
end;

---------------------------------
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benpungAuthor Commented:
thanks for the posts. i'll work with these ideas some when i get in the office tomorrow. please check back!
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benpungAuthor Commented:
ok, i've tried morphman's suggestion above.  i've posted my two scripts below. when i run the .ksh unix shell script, it just hangs. it logs in to the database and just sits there. can someone tell me what i'm doing wrong?

.ksh shell script***********************8
# . /oracle/local/scripts/oracle.kshrc needs to be ran in order
# for the SQL code to be understood.
. /oracle/local/scripts/oracle.kshrc

# Environment variables
DBINSTANCE=mydatabase
LOGON_NAME=mylogon
LOGON_PASSWD=mypswd
SQL_DIR="/home/ehsitdev/EIMS/sql"

# Change directory to the xml directory.  This directory holds the sql script.
cd $SQL_DIR

# Connect to Oracle database
inst $DBINSTANCE

# Start sqlplus, log in to database, and initiate error log file
B_COMPLETE_VAR=`sqlplus -s $LOGON_NAME/$LOGON_PASSWD @rover_complete.sql`
--it seems to be hanging here.
EXIT
echo B_COMPLETE_VAR

sql script *********************************
SET ECHO OFF;
SET FEEDBACK OFF;
SET SERVEROUTPUT ON;
DECLARE
   c_holder     VARCHAR2 (5);
BEGIN
   SELECT reqcompflag
     INTO c_holder
     FROM ems_owner.report_requests
    WHERE reqcompflag = 'N';

   IF c_holder = 'N'
   THEN
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line ('N');
   END IF;
EXCEPTION
   WHEN NO_DATA_FOUND
   THEN
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line ('Y');
   WHEN TOO_MANY_ROWS
   THEN
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line ('N');
END;
/
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morphmanCommented:
you probably need to put an

exit

at the end of the sql script.

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benpungAuthor Commented:
ok, that seems to work. now when i do it though, the value of my unix variable is:

Y Input truncated to 5 characters

do you know which setting i have to change in oracle so i don't get the "Input truncated to 5 characters" after my value?
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morphmanCommented:
Input truncated to 2 characters ... error
You may get this message if you use an editor that allows you to save and exit without entering an end-of-line character. For example, if your last line contains just one character '/', you save and exit without pressing the return key to end the line, you may get the error: Input truncated to 1 characters.

You can usually remove this error by making sure that all your lines are properly terminated.
 Try that..
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morphmanCommented:
alternativeley

dbms_output.put_line('###'||var||'###');


and get it from your script like this

var=`sqlplus log/pass @script.sql`

var2=`echo ${var} | cut -d# -f3`

We use this to prevent losing spaces and other characters.
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morphmanCommented:
sorry should be

var2=`echo ${var} | cut -d# -f4`

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benpungAuthor Commented:
it's working great now. just what i needed. thanks.
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