of Ding.

Using erloci to talk to Oracle in Elixir

One of the great things about Elixir is its clean Erlang interoperability. The adoption rate of new languages like Elixir depends greatly on the ecosystem of available libraries. While the Elixir ecosystem is growing, being able to lean on the twenty(ish) years of existing open source Erlang libraries helps a lot.

Here are some examples of interacting with an Oracle database from Elixir via the erloci Erlang library.


erloci requires you to specify connection details as a TNS string. This can be slightly annoying but you can easily interpolate host, port, and service name into a TNS-style format.

# connect
host = ""
port = "1521"
service = "someservice"
username = "username"
password = "password"
oci =[])
session = oci.get_session(tns, username, password)

create = session.prep_sql("create table blahs (id integer, name varchar(100))")
{:executed, 0} = create.exec_stmt


All SQL interactions with erloci are proper prepared statements. The exec_stmt/0 function returns a list of column and type information. Data must be explicitly fetched with fetch_rows/1.

iex> sql = session.prep_sql("select * from blahs")
iex> {:cols, columns} = sql.exec_stmt
{:cols, [{"ID", :SQLT_NUM, 22, 38, 0}, {"NAME", :SQLT_CHR, 200, 0, 0}]}
iex> {{:rows, rows}, false} = sql.fetch_rows(1)
  [[<<2, 193, 3, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0>>,
    "ahoy!"]]}, false}

What the heck is <<2, 193, 3, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0>>? Well, from the column information returned from exec_stmt we know it’s of type :SQLT_NUM but what erloci is returning is binary. You’ll want to convert it using :oci_util.oranumber_decode/1. In this case, it’s the integer 2. See the oci_util module for a pile of other handy conversion function and utilities.


erloci has full support for bound parameters. Parameters that are to be bound can be named (like :id or :name) or can use numbers (:1, :2, :3) in the SQL statement. bind_vars/1 must then be called to supply type information for each of the bound parameters. Finally, exec_stmt/1 is used to pass in values and execute the insert.

# insert with bound parameters
insert = session.prep_sql("insert into blahs (id, name) values (:id, :name)")
:ok = insert.bind_vars([{":id", :SQLT_INT}, {":name", :SQLT_CHR}])
{:rowids, ["AABUUnAQAAAEGgTAAA"]} = insert.exec_stmt([{1, "blahblah"}])


When errors are encountered erloci returns the Oracle error code and message.

create = session.prep_sql("create table blahs (id integer, name varchar(100))")
{:error, {955, "ORA-00955: name is already used by an existing object\n"}} = create.exec_stmt

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