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Retrieving Single Rows

If the result of a SELECT statement is known to be a single row, the SELECT INTO statement may be used as an alternative to fetching data through a cursor.

This is a much simpler programming construction, since cursors are not used and the only requirement is that host variables used in the SELECT INTO statement are declared in the DECLARE SECTION. However, there are two disadvantages associated with SELECT INTO:

Use of a SELECT INTO statement is justified when the result set may contain several rows, but it is a condition for continued execution of the application program that the result row is unique. With a cursor, this would require a construction which checked that one and only one FETCH operation could be performed (alternatively, use a separate SELECT COUNT with the same search condition as the cursor). In such a case, a SELECT INTO statement with a check on the return code, see Handling Errors and Exception Conditions, is probably the preferred solution.

A CALL statement can be used to return information to the one or more host variables associated with the output parameter(s) of the procedure.

A SET statement can be used with a function invocation to return information to one host variable.

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