Oracle PL/SQL’s DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXMLTYPE function is a powerful tool for converting the results of SQL queries into XML format. This function is part of the DBMS_XMLGEN package, which provides several utilities for generating and managing XML data within Oracle databases. The GETXMLTYPE function is particularly useful for applications that require data interchange in XML format, such as web services, reporting tools, and data integration tasks.


The basic syntax of the DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXMLTYPE function is:

query IN VARCHAR2, 
[flags IN NUMBER, [ctxHandle IN NUMBER]]

query: The SQL query string that you want to convert into XML. This query should be a SELECT statement.
flags (optional): Controls how the result XML is generated. For instance, it can dictate whether the XML output includes the rowset and row tags.
ctxHandle (optional): A context handle that can be used to set session-specific parameters for XML generation. It’s obtained from DBMS_XMLGEN.NEWCONTEXT.

Features and Usage

Dynamic SQL to XML Conversion: GETXMLTYPE dynamically converts the results of the provided SQL query into an XML document. This allows for the flexible retrieval of database content in a structured XML format, making it easier to handle complex data structures and hierarchies.

Customizable XML Output: By using different flags and parameters, users can customize the structure and content of the resulting XML. This includes options for including or excluding specific XML elements, attributes, and namespaces.

Performance Considerations: The function is designed to efficiently handle large volumes of data. However, the performance can be influenced by the complexity of the SQL query and the size of the data set. It’s important to optimize the SQL query for better performance.

Integration with XSLT and Other XML Technologies: The XML generated by GETXMLTYPE can be further processed using XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) for presentation or integration purposes. This makes it a versatile tool for developing applications that require dynamic data representation or transformation.


Here’s a simple example of using DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXMLTYPE to convert the results of a SQL query into XML:

  xml_data XMLTYPE;
  xml_data := DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXMLTYPE('SELECT employee_id, first_name FROM employees');
  -- Display the XML

This PL/SQL block retrieves the employee_id and first_name columns from the employees table and converts the results into an XML document. The getClobVal method is used to convert the XMLTYPE data into a CLOB (Character Large Object), making it easier to display or store the XML data.


The DBMS_XMLGEN.GETXMLTYPE function is a valuable tool for Oracle database developers and administrators who need to generate XML from SQL queries. Its ability to dynamically convert query results into XML, combined with its customization features, makes it suitable for a wide range of applications, from data reporting to web services integration. Proper usage and optimization can lead to efficient data processing and enhanced application capabilities.