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Is there an easy way to work with JSON within Oracle? I have a stored procedure that I use to call web services quite often, JSON is a format that I am familiar with in web development context, but what is the best way to work with JSON within a stored procedure? For instance take the CLOB response from the URI, convert that to a JSON object and get a value from that?

For reference sake, here is the procedure I used to fetch URLs

create or replace procedure macp_URL_GET(url_resp in out clob, v_url in varchar2) is
   req     Utl_Http.req;
   resp    Utl_Http.resp;
   NAME    VARCHAR2 (255);
   VALUE   VARCHAR2 (1023);
   v_msg   VARCHAR2 (80);
   v_ans clob;
--   v_url   VARCHAR2 (32767) := 'http://www.macalester.edu/';
   /* request that exceptions are raised for error Status Codes */
   Utl_Http.set_response_error_check (ENABLE => TRUE );
   /* allow testing for exceptions like Utl_Http.Http_Server_Error */
   Utl_Http.set_detailed_excp_support (ENABLE => TRUE );
   Utl_Http.set_proxy (
      proxy                 => 'www-proxy.us.oracle.com',
      no_proxy_domains      => 'us.oracle.com'
   req := Utl_Http.begin_request (url => v_url, method => 'GET');
    Alternatively use method => 'POST' and Utl_Http.Write_Text to
    build an arbitrarily long message

   Utl_Http.set_authentication (
      r              => req,
      username       => 'SomeUser',
      PASSWORD       => 'SomePassword',
      scheme         => 'Basic',
      for_proxy      => FALSE      --this info is for the target Web server 

   Utl_Http.set_header (r => req, NAME => 'User-Agent', VALUE => 'Mozilla/4.0');
   resp := Utl_Http.get_response (r => req);
   DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line ('Status code: ' || resp.status_code);
   DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line ('Reason phrase: ' || resp.reason_phrase);
   FOR i IN 1 .. Utl_Http.get_header_count (r => resp)
      Utl_Http.get_header (r => resp, n => i, NAME => NAME, VALUE => VALUE);
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line (NAME || ': ' || VALUE);
         Utl_Http.read_text (r => resp, DATA => v_msg);
         --DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line (v_msg);
         v_ans := v_ans || v_msg;
         url_resp := url_resp || v_msg;
      END LOOP;
      WHEN Utl_Http.end_of_body
   Utl_Http.end_response (r => resp);

   --url_resp := v_ans;

    The exception handling illustrates the use of "pragma-ed" exceptions
    like Utl_Http.Http_Client_Error. In a realistic example, the program
    would use these when it coded explicit recovery actions.

    Request_Failed is raised for all exceptions after calling
    Utl_Http.Set_Detailed_Excp_Support ( ENABLE=>FALSE )
    And it is NEVER raised after calling with ENABLE=>TRUE
   WHEN Utl_Http.request_failed
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line (
         'Request_Failed: ' || Utl_Http.get_detailed_sqlerrm
      url_resp :='Request_Failed: ' || Utl_Http.get_detailed_sqlerrm;
   /* raised by URL http://xxx.oracle.com/ */
   WHEN Utl_Http.http_server_error
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line (
         'Http_Server_Error: ' || Utl_Http.get_detailed_sqlerrm
      url_resp := 'Http_Server_Error: ' || Utl_Http.get_detailed_sqlerrm;
   /* raised by URL http://otn.oracle.com/xxx */
   WHEN Utl_Http.http_client_error
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line (
         'Http_Client_Error: ' || Utl_Http.get_detailed_sqlerrm
      url_resp := 'Http_Client_Error: ' || Utl_Http.get_detailed_sqlerrm;
   /* code for all the other defined exceptions you can recover from */
      DBMS_OUTPUT.put_line (SQLERRM);
      url_resp := SQLERRM;

Then to test it

  macp_url_get(url_resp => :url_resp,

(I know that the googleapi will allow xml response, but there are other web APIs that I use regularly that default to JSON)

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What version of Oracle? 12c introduces native JSON types. –  Justin Cave Oct 13 at 19:58

2 Answers 2

Take a look at PL/JSON project http://sourceforge.net/projects/pljson/

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If you have Oracle Database Release 12c Release 1 ( then you can store JSON in the database in a VARCHAR2, CLOB, or BLOB column, and then query it in SQL using JSON path expressions (analogous to XPath expressions for XML).

You can use SQL functions json_value, json_query, and json_table, and SQL conditions json_exists, is json, is not json, and json_textcontains, to query the data.

Functions json_query and json_table are analogous to SQL/XML standard functions XMLQuery and XMLTable for XML. Condition json_exists is analogous to XMLExists for XML.

You ensure that the data in a JSON column is in fact valid JSON data by defining an is json check constraint on it. You can define JSON-specific indexes on the data.

See JSON in Oracle Database.

(Affiliation: I work at Oracle. The views I express on this website are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.)

share|improve this answer
Do I need to enable any libraries, or are these functions available to all? –  Lloyd Oct 13 at 3:34
Available to all. These are SQL functions that are part of the database. –  Drew Oct 13 at 4:29
@Lloyd: you need, the initial 12c release which was did not contain support for JSON –  a_horse_with_no_name Oct 13 at 7:48
@a_horse_with_no_name: Right. As I said in the first sentence of my post: If you have... ;-) –  Drew Oct 13 at 14:01
@drew: I know. This was intended to make Lloyd aware of the subtle difference between .0.2 and .0.1 –  a_horse_with_no_name Oct 13 at 14:04

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