Difference Between sql and plsql: Insight with Example Query


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In this article, we are going to learn the difference Between SQL and PLSQL. I will explain PLSQLand SQL in brief first. Afterward, we are going to discuss their difference. Then, I will explain difference with real-time scenario code. So, It’s my humble request to read this article ultimately to gain and spread knowledge.

About SQL

SQL is a Structured Query language that operates the database. It includes database creation, deletes, retrieval of specific data from the database.SQL is an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard language, but there are many different versions of SQL language.

SQL is a standardized programming language that is used to manage relational databases and perform various operations in their data.SQL is a structured query language, a computer language for storing, manipulating, and retrieving store data in a relational database. It’s necessary to understand SQL before I would discuss the difference Between pl SQL and PLSQL. So, I am taking it as you know SQL basics now.


Also Read: How to get minutes and seconds from datetime in SQL?

About PL/SQL

PL/SQL is programmable SQL, which means we can do the programming by writing SQL queries. PL/SQL is a programming language SQL. It is used to write entire programs with variables, loops, operators, etc. It is mainly used to select/insert/update/delete. It supports the back-end of application languages such as Java, PHP, etc. It allows those reports, web pages, and screens to be created, formatted, and displayed. Now we can discuss the “difference Between SQL and PLSQL” as we know SQL and PL/SQL both.

PL/SQL enables a code block to be executed that improves its performance. It can be procedure, function, cursors, triggers, or loops. PL/SQL is intended for the creation of server pages and web applications. PL/SQL inhibits such characteristics as encapsulation, hiding of data, exceptions, and object-based sort of data.


Difference At a Glance

We can summarize key difference between sql and plsql as follows:

SQL is Structured Query Language.PLSQL is programming language using SQL.
In SQL, there is unavailability of data variable. We can’t have data variables hereIn PLSQL, there is availability of data variable. We can have data variables here
Loops and Control Structures are not supported.Control Structures and loops are supported.we can use loop, While loop, etc.
Query performs single operation.In PLSQL, Group of Operation as single block.
Is is declarative language.it is procedural language.
We can have SQL inside PLSQLWe can have PLSQL inside SQL.
SQL interacts with the corresponding server directly.PLSQL does not interacts with the database server directly.
SQL is Data oriented language.PLSQL is application oriented language.
It is used to perform DDL and DML operation and we can write queries.we can write program functions, blocks, triggers, procedures and SSIS packages.

Difference Between sql and plsql

We can differentiate thes on basis of following key points:

Full Form

SQL stands for Structured Query Language whereas PL/SQL stands for Programmable Structured Query Language.

Basic Usage

In SQL, we can execute single command or query at a time. The query can be and DDL (Data Definition Language) or DML (Data manipulation language). DDL is used to add, remove or modify tables(db objects). DML is used to Insert, update or delete data from tables.

On the other hand, PL/SQL is bloc of commands or code which helps us to accomplish multiple task at a time. It can consist of several SQL queries, loops, functions. So many tasks are performed at a time here.

Use of variable

We don’t have variable in sql, on the other hand PL/Sql has variable data type, etc.


We can not use loops in SQL where as we can use loops in PL/Sql. We can add if/else and other conditional statement in pl sql. PL/Sql supports al types of control statement but SQL does not.

Example code

We can use Control Structures as shown below only in PL/Sql.

    if (db_name() != N'master')
        raiserror(5001, 16,-1)
        return 1

Type of Language

Sql is declarative language. So, SQL advises the client what to do but not how to  do so. whereas PL/Sql is procedural language. So, PL/SQL says how to do work to the database


Please have a look at below example, the will show this difference

SELECT * FROM tableName; -- SQL 
USE [MVCFinalExam]
/****** Object:  StoredProcedure [sys].[sp_changesubscriber_schedule]    Script Date: 28-11-2020 15:35:59 ******/
ALTER procedure [sys].[sp_changesubscriber_schedule]
	@subscriber						sysname,
	@agent_type						smallint,
	@frequency_type					int = NULL,
	@frequency_interval				int = NULL,
	@frequency_relative_interval	int = NULL,
	@frequency_recurrence_factor	int = NULL,
	@frequency_subday				int = NULL,
	@frequency_subday_interval		int = NULL,
	@active_start_time_of_day		int = NULL,
	@active_end_time_of_day			int = NULL,
	@active_start_date				int = NULL,
	@active_end_date				int = NULL,
	@publisher						sysname = NULL
	DECLARE @cmd			nvarchar(4000)
	DECLARE @retcode		int
	DECLARE @publisher_type	sysname
	SET @retcode = 0
	EXEC @retcode = sys.sp_MSrepl_getpublisherinfo	@publisher		= @publisher,
													@rpcheader		= @cmd            OUTPUT,
													@publisher_type	= @publisher_type OUTPUT
	IF @retcode <> 0
		RETURN (@retcode)
	-- Add sp
	SET @publisher = UPPER(@publisher) COLLATE DATABASE_DEFAULT
	set @cmd = @cmd + N'sys.sp_MSrepl_changesubscriber_schedule'
	EXEC @retcode = @cmd
	RETURN (@retcode)


SQL is a language for choosing and editing data sets that is data-oriented. On the other hand PL / SQL is an application programming language.

Communication With Database

SQL communicates directly with the database server. But, PL/SQL does not communicate explicitly with the database server.


PL/SQL can have SQL but SQl queries cannot have PL/SQL.

Exception Handling

We can use exception handling in PL/SQL. We can use try/catch block inside PL/SQL. Whereas we can’t do same in plain SQL. SQL queries can’t have this.

An Example of complex query

PL/SQL Example

USE [MVCFinalExam]
/****** Object:  StoredProcedure [sys].[sp_who]    Script Date: 28-11-2020 15:44:14 ******/
ALTER procedure [sys].[sp_who]  --- 1995/11/28 15:48
	   @loginame sysname = NULL --or 'active'
declare	 @spidlow	int,
		 @spidhigh	int,
		 @spid		int,
		 @sid		varbinary(85)
select	 @spidlow	=     0
		,@spidhigh	= 32767

if (	@loginame is not NULL
   AND	upper(@loginame collate Latin1_General_CI_AS) = 'ACTIVE'
	select spid , ecid, status
	      ,hostname ,blk=convert(char(5),blocked)
	      ,dbname = case
						when dbid = 0 then null
						when dbid <> 0 then db_name(dbid)
	from  sys.sysprocesses_ex
	where spid >= @spidlow and spid <= @spidhigh AND
	      upper(cmd) <> 'AWAITING COMMAND'
	return (0)
if (@loginame is not NULL
   AND	upper(@loginame collate Latin1_General_CI_AS) <> 'ACTIVE'
	if (@loginame like '[0-9]%')	-- is a spid.
		select @spid = convert(int, @loginame)
		select spid, ecid, status,
			   hostname,blk = convert(char(5),blocked),
			   dbname = case
							when dbid = 0 then null
							when dbid <> 0 then db_name(dbid)
		from  sys.sysprocesses_ex
		where spid = @spid
		select @sid = suser_sid(@loginame)
		if (@sid is null)
			return (1)
		select spid, ecid, status,
			   hostname ,blk=convert(char(5),blocked),
			   dbname = case
							when dbid = 0 then null
							when dbid <> 0 then db_name(dbid)
		from  sys.sysprocesses_ex
		where sid = @sid
	return (0)

-- loginame arg is null
select spid,
	   dbname = case
					when dbid = 0 then null
					when dbid <> 0 then db_name(dbid)
from  sys.sysprocesses_ex
where spid >= @spidlow and spid <= @spidhigh
return (0) -- sp_who

SQL Example

Select * from table_name


Why we use PL SQL instead of SQL?

PL/SQL gives programmers high efficiency as data in a database can be queried, transformed, and modified. PL/SQL saves time with robust features, including exception management, encapsulation, data hiding, object-oriented data types on design, and debugging. PL/SQL applications are fully portable Applications

What is difference between SQL and Oracle?

Oracle uses PL/SQL or Procedural Language/SQL in the interim, which are both “flavors” and SQL dialects, with different syntaxes and abilities in the two languages. The most significant difference between the two languages is how variables, stored procedures, and integrated functions are treated.

What is Oracle SQL and PL SQL?

PL/SQL is an extension of Oracle’s SQL procedure language. You can combine SQL statements with procedural constructs using PL/SQL. There was a mistake. Oracle also allows for creating and storing procedures-like functions and packages that are method groups and functions.

What is Plsql?

PL/SQL is essentially a procedural language that provides the functionality of decision-making, iteration, and many other features of the proceedings’ programming language. A PL/SQL unit can be built, such as procedures, functions, packages, triggers, and types stored in the database for applications to be reused.

Is PL SQL still used?

The response is, PL/SQL does not increase but also does not vanish. It’s a fixture in enterprises’ systems worldwide since it’s used in the Oracle database, and the Oracle database will withstand you. The data must be processed close to high-performance batch processing, so PL/SQL continues to monitor this region.

Is PL SQL a programming language?

Furthermore, PL/SQL offers a broader programming language solution to develop Oracle Databases for mission-critical applications. PL/SQL is a language that is highly organized and readable.

Is SQL same as MySQL?

Although MySQL is a relational database that utilizes SQL to query a database, SQL is a query language. There was a mistake. SQL is a standard format where the primary DBMS and RDBMS syntax and commands remain essentially the same while MySQL is modified periodically.

Which software is used for PL SQL programming?

SQL Plus is an interactive method for entering SQL and PL/SQL command statements.

What is PL SQL full form?

The Oracle Corporation’s SQL and Oracle relational database procedural extensions (PL/SQL). PL/SQL is available in Oracle Database (from versions 6 – PL/SQL procedures/functions/packages/triggers since Version 7), Times Ten (from version 11.2.1) and IBM DB 2 (from version 9.7).[1] With the subsequent releases of Oracle Database, Oracle Corporation is usually expanded with PL/SQL features.

Closing Notes

SQL is a declarative language, it only defines which data is required. But PL/SQL is a procedural language that defines both what data is expected and how it can be extracted.

Raushan Kumar
A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.


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