The Oracle PL/SQL DBMS_XMLQUERY package is a powerful tool for converting the results of SQL queries into XML format. This package is part of Oracle’s extensive support for XML, enabling seamless integration of SQL and XML in database applications. The ability to generate XML from SQL queries allows developers to easily share data across different systems and platforms, making it a critical feature for web services, data exchange protocols, and more.

Key Features

Dynamic XML Generation: DBMS_XMLQUERY can dynamically generate XML documents from any SQL SELECT statement, providing a flexible way to produce XML data structures from relational data.

Customization: It offers a range of functions and procedures to customize the resulting XML output, including the ability to modify the root element, row tags, and handling of special characters.

Parameterization: The package supports parameterized queries, enhancing security by preventing SQL injection and making it easier to build dynamic queries based on user input or application requirements.

Performance: Designed with performance in mind, it efficiently transforms large volumes of data into XML format without significantly impacting database performance.

Basic Usage

The use of DBMS_XMLQUERY typically involves several steps:

Initialization: Create a new context for the XML generation using the DBMS_XMLQUERY.NEWCONTEXT function.

Setting the Query: Use the DBMS_XMLQUERY.SETSQLQUERY procedure to specify the SQL query for which you want to generate XML.

Customization: Optionally, customize the XML output using various DBMS_XMLQUERY procedures, such as setting the root element name or specifying how NULL values should be handled.

Generation: Generate the XML document by calling the DBMS_XMLQUERY.GETXML function, which returns the XML as a CLOB (Character Large Object).

Termination: Release the context to free up resources using the DBMS_XMLQUERY.CLOSECONTEXT function.


Here’s a simple example of how to use DBMS_XMLQUERY to generate XML from a SQL query:

  ctx  DBMS_XMLQUERY.ctxHandle;
  xml  CLOB;
  ctx := DBMS_XMLQUERY.newContext('SELECT employee_id, first_name FROM employees WHERE department_id = 10');
  xml := DBMS_XMLQUERY.getXML(ctx);

This block initializes a new XML query context, sets a SQL query to select employee IDs and first names from a hypothetical employees table where the department ID is 10, generates XML from the query results, outputs the XML, and finally closes the context.


Oracle’s DBMS_XMLQUERY package is an essential tool for developers working with both SQL and XML in Oracle databases. It bridges the gap between relational and XML data models, facilitating data exchange and integration tasks. With its powerful features and flexibility, DBMS_XMLQUERY simplifies the process of generating XML from SQL data, making it an invaluable resource in the Oracle PL/SQL toolkit.