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Oracle SQL – A Comprehensive Guide to Copying Tables

Data management forms the basis of many high-demand IT jobs these days. One of such common tasks is replicating or copying a table in Oracle SQL. This seemingly simple process can be executed in several different ways, each with its pros and cons. Understanding these approaches is crucial, as it will dictate the efficiency, flexibility, and security of your database operations. This article will detail the various methods to copy tables in Oracle SQL, explain the code and its step-by-step execution, and finally delve into related libraries and functions.

Copy Table in Oracle SQL

The need to copy a table in Oracle SQL arises during multiple scenarios: you may need to create a backup, perform tests without disrupting the live table, or manipulate data for analysis while keeping the original data intact.

This task can be accomplished using a simple INSERT statement, the CREATE TABLE AS method, or by means of a Data Pump. Depending on your specific scenario, one method may be more efficient than the other.

The simplest method – the INSERT statement – involves creating a new table with the same structure as the existing one and then copying the records from the old table to the new one.

CREATE TABLE new_table AS SELECT * FROM existing_table;

The CREATE TABLE AS method is a useful technique when an exact copy of a table, including both structure and data, is needed. This is useful when you want to create a backup of a table.

CREATE TABLE new_table AS SELECT * FROM existing_table;

Copying Table – Method Details

When using the INSERT statement method, first, we create an empty table that matches the structure of the existing table. Then we run an INSERT statement to copy the records from the existing table to the new one.

CREATE TABLE new_table AS (SELECT * FROM existing_table WHERE 1=0);
INSERT INTO new_table SELECT * FROM existing_table;

In the case of the CREATE TABLE AS method, there is no need to create the empty new table first. This method creates the new table and populates it with the records from the existing table in a single statement.

CREATE TABLE new_table AS SELECT * FROM existing_table;

A third way to copy a table in Oracle SQL is using Data Pump, a powerful performance tool that enables very high-speed movement of data and metadata.

A Glimpse into Related Libraries and Functions

Oracle’s PL/SQL, a procedural language extension to SQL, provides a programming environment to execute SQL commands. Libraries and packages like DBMS_SQL (used to parse any data manipulation language or data definition language SQL command) and UTL_FILE (enables read/write of text files) can be very useful when working with tables.

The beauty of Oracle SQL is its level of functionality. The varied methods for just the task of copying tables is a testament to Oracle SQL’s flexibility and utility. Understanding and implementing the right option for your specific requirement is crucial and hence, it is beneficial to familiarize oneself with the depth of this domain.

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