Oracle PL/SQL’s DBMS_XMLGEN package is a powerful tool for generating XML data from SQL queries. The GETXML function within this package is particularly useful for converting the results of a SQL query into a XML format. This can be immensely helpful for applications that require data interchange formats or for generating reports in XML.


The basic syntax for the GETXML function is as follows:

                   xsl VARCHAR2 DEFAULT NULL, 
                   version VARCHAR2 DEFAULT '1.0') RETURN CLOB;

query: This is the SQL query whose result you want to convert into XML format.
xsl: An optional XSL stylesheet that can be applied to the XML output for transformation. This parameter is typically left as NULL if no transformation is needed.
version: Specifies the version of the XML. The default is ‘1.0’.

How It Works

Initialization: First, you must initialize a context for DBMS_XMLGEN by calling DBMS_XMLGEN.NEWCONTEXT with your SQL query as the argument. This context will be used to generate XML from the query results.

Setting Options: Before generating the XML, you can set various options like the row set tag, row tag, or whether to include the metadata (column names, data types, etc.) in the XML output.

Generating XML: Finally, you call DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXML with the context as an argument to generate the XML. The function returns the XML as a CLOB (Character Large Object).


Here’s a simple example to demonstrate how to use DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXML:

  ctx DBMS_XMLGEN.ctxHandle;
  xmlResult CLOB;
  -- Initialize the context with a query
  ctx := DBMS_XMLGEN.newContext('SELECT * FROM employees WHERE department_id = 10');

  -- Generate XML from the query result
  xmlResult := DBMS_XMLGEN.getXML(ctx);

  -- Output the XML result

  -- Close the context

This PL/SQL block initializes a context for generating XML from a query that selects all columns from the employees table where department_id is 10. It then generates the XML and outputs it using DBMS_OUTPUT.


Performance: The GETXML function can be resource-intensive, especially for large datasets. It’s important to test and optimize your SQL queries for performance.

Security: Be mindful of SQL injection risks. Always validate and sanitize inputs if your application constructs SQL queries dynamically.

LOB Handling: Since the output is a CLOB, ensure your application logic can handle large objects efficiently.

The DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXML function is a versatile tool for Oracle database applications that need to generate XML data from SQL queries. Whether for data interchange, reporting, or integration purposes, it provides a straightforward way to work with XML in the database layer.