Overview of Proc*C

Proc*C is a precompiler used to integrate SQL statements into C code. It is part of Oracle's Pro*C family, which enables developers to build applications that interact with Oracle databases seamlessly. With Proc*C, you can embed SQL commands directly in C code, allowing efficient database operations within your C programs.

Example of Proc*C Code

Let's take a simple example of fetching data from a database using Proc*C:

      #include <stdio.h>
      #include <sqlca.h>
  char emp_name[50];
  int emp_id;

  int main() {
    EXEC SQL CONNECT :username IDENTIFIED BY :password;

    if (sqlca.sqlcode == 0) {
      printf("Connected to the database.\\n");

      EXEC SQL SELECT emp_name INTO :emp_name FROM employees WHERE emp_id = :emp_id;
      if (sqlca.sqlcode == 0) {
        printf("Employee Name: %s\\n", emp_name);
      } else {
        printf("Error fetching data.\\n");

    } else {
      printf("Connection failed.\\n");

    return 0;

Steps to Use Proc*C

Follow these steps to use Proc*C in your C programs:

  1. Install Oracle Software: Ensure that you have the necessary Oracle database software installed on your system.
  2. Set Up Environment: Set up the environment variables required to compile and execute Proc*C programs.
  3. Include Pro*C Directives: Use the "#include <sqlca.h>" directive to include the SQL Communications Area (SQLCA) structure in your C code, which provides information about SQL execution.
  4. Declare SQL Statements: Use the "EXEC SQL" statements to declare SQL variables and embed SQL statements in your C code.
  5. Compile and Precompile: Use the Proc*C precompiler to generate C code with embedded SQL and then compile the resulting C code with a C compiler.
  6. Execute the Program: Execute the compiled program, which interacts with the Oracle database using the embedded SQL.

Common Mistakes with Proc*C

  • Missing SQLCA Declaration: Forgetting to include the "#include <sqlca.h>" directive or declare the SQLCA structure can lead to compilation errors.
  • Incorrect SQL Syntax: Using incorrect SQL syntax in the embedded SQL statements can cause runtime errors.
  • Improper Connection Handling: Not properly handling database connections, commits, and disconnections can result in unexpected behavior.

FAQs about Proc*C

  1. Q: What is the purpose of the SQLCA structure?
    A: The SQLCA structure holds diagnostic information after each SQL statement execution, indicating success or failure.
  2. Q: Can I use Proc*C with other databases apart from Oracle?
    A: No, Proc*C is specifically designed for use with Oracle databases.
  3. Q: Is Proc*C case-sensitive?
    A: Yes, Proc*C is case-sensitive, so SQL statements and variable names must match case exactly.
  4. Q: Can I use dynamic SQL with Proc*C?
    A: Yes, Proc*C supports dynamic SQL, allowing you to construct and execute SQL statements at runtime.
  5. Q: Does Proc*C support PL/SQL blocks?
    A: Yes, you can use PL/SQL blocks in your Proc*C programs to execute more complex database operations.


Proc*C is a valuable tool for developers working with Oracle databases and C programming. By integrating SQL statements directly into C code, developers can efficiently perform database operations. Following the proper steps, avoiding common mistakes, and understanding Proc*C's capabilities ensure seamless integration of SQL and C for robust database applications.