1. For internal exceptions, SQLCODE returns the number of the Oracle error. The number that SQLCODE returns is negative unless the Oracle error is no data found, in which case SQLCODE returns +100. SQLERRM returns the corresponding error message. The message begins with the Oracle error code.
2. For user-defined exceptions, SQLCODE returns +1 and SQLERRM returns the message User-Defined Exception unless you used the pragma EXCEPTION_INIT to associate the exception name with an Oracle error number, in which case SQLCODE returns that error number and SQLERRM returns the corresponding error message.
The maximum length of an Oracle error message is 512 characters including the error code, nested messages, and message inserts such as table and column names.
If no exception has been raised, SQLCODE returns zero and SQLERRM returns the message ORA-0000: normal, successful completion.
Passing an error number
You can pass an error number to SQLERRM, in which case SQLERRM returns the message associated with that error number. Make sure you pass negative error numbers to SQLERRM. In the following example, you pass positive numbers and so get unwanted results:
/* Get all Oracle error messages. */
FOR err_num IN 1..9999 LOOP
err_msg := SQLERRM(err_num); — wrong; should be -err_num
INSERT INTO errors VALUES (err_msg);
Passing a positive number to SQLERRM always returns the message user-defined exception unless you pass +100, in which case SQLERRM returns the message no data found. Passing a zero to SQLERRM always returns the message normal, successful completion.
SQLCODE or SQLERRM in SQL statements
You cannot use SQLCODE or SQLERRM directly in a SQL statement. Instead, you must assign their values to local variables, then use the variables in the SQL statement, as shown in the following example:
WHEN OTHERS THEN
err_num := SQLCODE;
err_msg := SUBSTR(SQLERRM, 1, 100);
INSERT INTO errors VALUES (err_num, err_msg);
The string function SUBSTR ensures that a VALUE_ERROR exception (for truncation) is not raised when you assign the value of SQLERRM to err_msg. The functions SQLCODE and SQLERRM are especially useful in the OTHERS exception handler
because they tell you which internal exception was raised.