SQL*Loader Express bug – not!

I’m still studying for my Oracle 12c OCP exam and I was trying to run a simple example of using SQL*Loader Express and the first thing I did blew up and I think it is a bug.  When I load a table with one or two columns it works fine, but when I load a table with 3 or 4 columns the last column is not loaded.  Tell me this isn’t a special feature! 🙂

First I create the table with four columns:

create table test
(a varchar2(20),
 b varchar2(20),
 c varchar2(20),
 d varchar2(20));

Then I create a comma separated values file named test.dat with four values per line:

[oracle@ora12c dpsl]$ cat test.dat
a,b,c,d
f,g,h,i
j,k,l,m

Then I run sql*loader in express mode:

[oracle@ora12c dpsl]$ sqlldr system/xxxxxx table=test

SQL*Loader: Release 12.1.0.1.0 - Production on Mon Apr 21 07:32:43 2014

Copyright (c) 1982, 2013, Oracle and/or its affiliates.  All rights reserved.

Express Mode Load, Table: TEST
Path used:      External Table, DEGREE_OF_PARALLELISM=AUTO

Table TEST:
  3 Rows successfully loaded.

Check the log files:
  test.log
  test_%p.log_xt
for more information about the load.

Then I query the newly loaded table:

ORCL:CDB$ROOT:SYSTEM>select * from test;

A                    B                    D
-------------------- -------------------- --------------------
a                    b                    d
f                    g                    i
j                    k                    m

Queue the mysterious music.  Actually, now that I look at it really it is the third column that is missing.  Maybe it doesn’t work with a column named C.

Sure enough, here it is with column C replaced with column X:

A                    B                    X                    D
-------------------- -------------------- -------------------- --------------------
a                    b                    c                    d
f                    g                    h                    i
j                    k                    l                    m

So, I guess SQL*Loader Express doesn’t work with columns named C?  Odd.

– Bobby

Update on 05/16/2014:

As you probably can expect, this was user error on my part.  My standard header for sqlplus scripts has this code:

column u new_value us noprint;
column n new_value ns noprint;
column c new_value cs noprint;
 
select name n from v$database;
select user u from dual;
SELECT SYS_CONTEXT('USERENV', 'CON_NAME') c FROM DUAL;

I use this code to build a prompt that will tell me which container I’m in like this:

set sqlprompt &ns:&cs:&us>

But, this means I can’t use columns named n, u, or c, but in my sql*loader test I was using c.  So, not a bug, just a user error!

– Bobby

About Bobby

I live in Chandler, Arizona with my wife and three daughters. I work for US Foods, the second largest food distribution company in the United States. I've been working as an Oracle database administrator and PeopleSoft administrator since 1994. I'm very interested in Oracle performance tuning.
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