Oracle Text Start

So my intention was to write a lot about Oracle Text in my blog. I use it now for over 2 years in application, and every time I find new options and new opportunities in it. I think Oracle Text is an underestimated feature/option or even maybe a technology of the Oracle Database. The advantage is also, it exists in all edition of the database, from XE to Enterprise Edition. And it is included in the license. So why don’t you start to use it.

Every user created in the database can use an Oracle Text index. There are 4 types of indexes in Oracle Text:

  1. Context – used mostly for large (text) documents, it is the most powerful index
  2. Ctxcat – used for mixed queries, so small documents with also other columns of a table. It has not al the options for Context indexes
  3. Ctxrule – only used for classification or routing
  4. Ctxxpath – only used to index ExistsNode() queries on XMLTYPE columns. For 11g and higher it is recommended to look at the new index XMLINDEX (not an Oracle Text Index). Ctxxpath will be deprecated.

An Oracle Text index will almost identically created as a normal index, you use CREATE INDEX. The difference is you need to make it aware of the Oracle Text index. For a context index the simplest syntax is:

create index textindex on testtable
(testcolumn)
indextype is ctxsys.context;

So you see you need to include the last line to get Oracle aware of the use of an text index. This index will use the default settings for a text index. These defaults can be seen in the view CTXSYS.CTX_PARAMETERS. It is possible to set new defaults for all these values, these will be used for the next new to create indexes. For this change you need extra privileges: you need the CTXAPP role and additional grants to execute packages owned by CTXSYS, but I will later explain.

How can you use such a index? You can now use index in SQL, but it has it own syntax. The syntax for a context index includes the word CONTAINS, a ctxcat index includes CATSEARCH and a ctxrule index includes MATCHES. So an example for a context index is:

select * from testtable
where contains(testcolumn,’test’) > 0;

So we have now a start, later more about Text Indexes and how they can be used.

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