Send an Email From Excel, Visual Basic 6, or a Windows Command Line Using Oracle’s UTL_MAIL Package

30 11 2012

November 30, 2012

(Back to the Previous Post in the Series)

Today is this blog’s third anniversary, so to celebrate, I thought that I would share a simple code example.  As many regular readers of this blog probably know, Oracle Database 10.1 introduced the UTL_MAIL package, which allowed programs accessing Oracle Database to easily send emails without using the more complex UTL_SMTP package.  Using UTL_MAIL requires that:

  1. The SMTP_OUT_SERVER parameter is set correctly, and potentially the email server is configured to permit receiving SMTP emails from the Oracle Database server.
  2. The utlmail.sql and prvtmail.plb scripts (found in the rdbms/admin directory of the Oracle home) are executed to create the UTL_MAIL package components in the database.
  3. The Oracle user account that will access the UTL_MAIL package’s procedures has sufficient access permissions for the package.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article that showed how to schedule the periodic sending of an email using UTL_MAIL – that article might also be of interest if you find this article helpful.

Let’s take a look at sample code that is compatible with Visual Basic 6 (VB 6) and the scripting language in Excel (the same scripting language is also available in Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook, Access, etc.):

Dim intResult As Integer
Dim strDatabase As String
Dim strUserName As String
Dim strPassword As String
Dim strSQL As String
Dim dbDatabase As ADODB.Connection
Dim comEmail As ADODB.Command

On Error Resume Next

strDatabase = "MyDB" 'From tnsnames.ora
strUserName = "MyUserID"
strPassword = "MyPassword"

Set dbDatabase = New ADODB.Connection

dbDatabase.ConnectionString = "Provider=OraOLEDB.Oracle;Data Source=" & strDatabase & ";User ID=" & strUserName & ";Password=" & strPassword & ";"
dbDatabase.Open

If (dbDatabase.State = 1) And (Err = 0) Then
    Set comEmail = New ADODB.Command

    With comEmail
        strSQL = "UTL_MAIL.SEND(" & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  'VisitorRegister@mysite.com'," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  'MyRecipient1@mysite.com;MyRecipient2@mysite.com'," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  null," & vbCrLf  'CC
        strSQL = strSQL & "  null," & vbCrLf  'BCC
        strSQL = strSQL & "  '" & strMessageSubject & "'," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  '" & strMessage & "')"
        .CommandText = strSQL
        .CommandType = adCmdStoredProc                        ' Const adCmdStoredProc = 4
        .ActiveConnection = dbDatabase
    End With

    comEmail.Execute
End If

Set comEmail = Nothing

The sample code looks quite similar to code that has appeared on this site in the past (as such, regular readers will know that MyDB, MyUserID, and MyPassword should be changed to appropriate values for your database), were an ADO Command type object is set up to execute a SQL statement with bind variables.  The difference, however, is that there are no bind variables in the SQL statement, and the CommandType is set to adCmdStoredProc, rather than adCmdText.  Before we are able to use the above code sample, we must first add a reference in the project to the Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects Library:

connect-with-vb-6-references-2

Looks to be very simple, right?  But wait, maybe it would be better that the call to UTL_MAIL use bind variables, rather than literals, to not only save some space in the library cache, but also to make it a bit more difficult for the DBA to read sent emails from Oracle Database’s various V$ views, and to make it easier to include apostrophes (single quotes), line breaks, and other email formatting commands in the email message.

We might try to use something like the following, replacing literals with bind variable placeholders, as a replacement for the above code:

Dim intResult As Integer
Dim strDatabase As String
Dim strUserName As String
Dim strPassword As String
Dim strSQL As String
Dim dbDatabase As ADODB.Connection
Dim comEmail As ADODB.Command

On Error Resume Next

strDatabase = "MyDB" 'From tnsnames.ora
strUserName = "MyUserID"
strPassword = "MyPassword"

Set dbDatabase = New ADODB.Connection

dbDatabase.ConnectionString = "Provider=OraOLEDB.Oracle;Data Source=" & strDatabase & ";User ID=" & strUserName & ";Password=" & strPassword & ";"
dbDatabase.Open

If (dbDatabase.State = 1) And (Err = 0) Then
    Set comEmail = New ADODB.Command

    With comEmail
        strSQL = "UTL_MAIL.SEND(" & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  ? ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  ? ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  ? ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  ? ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  ? ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  ? )"
        .CommandText = strSQL
        .CommandType = adCmdStoredProc ' Const adCmdStoredProc = 4
        .ActiveConnection = dbDatabase

        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("sender", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("recipients", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("cc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("bcc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("subject", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("message", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
    End With

    comEmail("sender") = "VisitorRegister@mysite.com"
    comEmail("recipients") = "MyRecipient1@mysite.com;MyRecipient2@mysite.com"
    comEmail("subject") = strMessageSubject
    comEmail("message") = strMessage
    comEmail.Execute
End If

Set comEmail = Nothing

Well, that was easy, when executed, the code results in an error message that reads: “Unspecified Error“!  Fine, don’t tell me what is wrong… I will just search the Internet for the answer.

Hey, a site recommended using named variable in the SQL statement, rather than the usual question mark bind placeholders in the SQL statement to be executed, something similar to the following:

Dim intResult As Integer
Dim strDatabase As String
Dim strUserName As String
Dim strPassword As String
Dim strSQL As String
Dim dbDatabase As ADODB.Connection
Dim comEmail As ADODB.Command

On Error Resume Next

strDatabase = "MyDB" 'From tnsnames.ora
strUserName = "MyUserID"
strPassword = "MyPassword"

Set dbDatabase = New ADODB.Connection

dbDatabase.ConnectionString = "Provider=OraOLEDB.Oracle;Data Source=" & strDatabase & ";User ID=" & strUserName & ";Password=" & strPassword & ";"
dbDatabase.Open

If (dbDatabase.State = 1) And (Err = 0) Then
    Set comEmail = New ADODB.Command

    With comEmail
        strSQL = "UTL_MAIL.SEND(" & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  :sender ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  :recipients ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  :cc ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  :bcc ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  :subject ," & vbCrLf
        strSQL = strSQL & "  :message )"
        .CommandText = strSQL
        .CommandType = adCmdStoredProc ' Const adCmdStoredProc = 4
        .ActiveConnection = dbDatabase

        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("sender", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("recipients", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("cc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("bcc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("subject", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("message", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
    End With

    comEmail("sender") = "VisitorRegister@mysite.com"
    comEmail("recipients") = "MyRecipient1@mysite.com;MyRecipient2@mysite.com"
    comEmail("subject") = strMessageSubject
    comEmail("message") = strMessage

    comEmail.Execute
End If

Set comEmail = Nothing

Well, that was easy, resulting in an error message that reads: “Unspecified Error! Fine, don’t tell me what is wrong, I will just guess.

Oh, a book recommended putting “Begin ” before the UTL_MAIL in the SQL statement, and “; END;” just after the “)” in the SQL statement.  “Unspecified Error“!

10046 trace at level 12 to see what Oracle Database rejected?  Sorry, no SQL statements that were attempted to be directly executed by the application appeared in the trace file.

Well, obviously it must be possible to execute stored procedures, such as those in the UTL_MAIL package, with bind variables from within Visual Basic 6 or Excel.  Maybe we are just trying too hard?  How about something like this:

Dim intResult As Integer
Dim strDatabase As String
Dim strUserName As String
Dim strPassword As String
Dim strSQL As String
Dim dbDatabase As ADODB.Connection
Dim comEmail As ADODB.Command

On Error Resume Next

strDatabase = "MyDB" 'From tnsnames.ora
strUserName = "MyUserID"
strPassword = "MyPassword"

Set dbDatabase = New ADODB.Connection

dbDatabase.ConnectionString = "Provider=OraOLEDB.Oracle;Data Source=" & strDatabase & ";User ID=" & strUserName & ";Password=" & strPassword & ";"
dbDatabase.Open

If (dbDatabase.State = 1) And (Err = 0) Then
    Set comEmail = New ADODB.Command

    With comEmail
        strSQL = "UTL_MAIL.SEND"

        .CommandText = strSQL
        .CommandType = adCmdStoredProc ' Const adCmdStoredProc = 4
        .ActiveConnection = dbDatabase

        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("sender", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("recipients", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("cc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("bcc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("subject", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("message", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
    End With

    comEmail("sender") = "VisitorRegister@mysite.com"
    comEmail("recipients") = "MyRecipient1@mysite.com;MyRecipient2@mysite.com"
    comEmail("subject") = strMessageSubject
    comEmail("message") = strMessage

    comEmail.Execute
End If

Set comEmail = Nothing

Well that was easy, although it might seem a little confusing not being permitted to specify essentially the same (literal) SQL statement as was used originally, just with bind variable placeholders when calling UTL_MAIL procedures.

The title of this article seems to suggest that we are able to call Oracle’s UTL_MAIL package procedures from the Windows command line – that is almost true.  We need to create a plain text file using Notepad (or a similar tool), and simply make a couple of changes to the above code sample so that variable types are not declared (this code example has not been tested yet):

Dim intResult
Dim strDatabase
Dim strUserName
Dim strPassword
Dim strSQL
Dim dbDatabase
Dim comEmail

Const adCmdStoredProc = 4
Const adVarChar = 200
Const adParamInput = 1

On Error Resume Next

strDatabase = "MyDB" 'From tnsnames.ora
strUserName = "MyUserID"
strPassword = "MyPassword"

Set dbDatabase = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")

dbDatabase.ConnectionString = "Provider=OraOLEDB.Oracle;Data Source=" & strDatabase & ";User ID=" & strUserName & ";Password=" & strPassword & ";"
dbDatabase.Open

If (dbDatabase.State = 1) And (Err = 0) Then
    Set comEmail = CreateObject("ADODB.Command")

    With comEmail
        strSQL = "UTL_MAIL.SEND"

        .CommandText = strSQL
        .CommandType = adCmdStoredProc
        .ActiveConnection = dbDatabase

        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("sender", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("recipients", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("cc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("bcc", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("subject", adVarChar, adParamInput, 100)
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter("message", adVarChar, adParamInput, 500)
    End With

    comEmail("sender") = "VisitorRegister@mysite.com"
    comEmail("recipients") = "MyRecipient1@mysite.com;MyRecipient2@mysite.com"
    comEmail("subject") = strMessageSubject
    comEmail("message") = strMessage

    comEmail.Execute
End If

Set comEmail = Nothing

Then, all that we need to do is execute the saved plain text file using either the cscript or wscript command from the Windows command line.

A year older, any wiser?


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2 responses

1 12 2012
Pete Finnigan

Congratulations on your 3rd blog birthday!, mine was 8 years old in September but i never got chance to mark the event. My company is 10 years old in feb next year so I should mark that somehow.

Thanks

Pete

1 12 2012
Charles Hooper

Pete,

Thanks for the comment. Three years and 420 blog posts – the rate of the blog posts has decreased sharply since the first year anniversary. My blog is just about half as old as some of the other Oracle Database focused blogs, yet each year it seems to become increasingly difficult to put together new articles that are not simply repeats of older articles. Jonathan Lewis’ blog is roughly twice as old as mine, yet he is still putting together interesting, new material in blog posts.

Wow, your blog is eight years old! That is quite an accomplishment, as is owning a database security technology company that is very close to 10 years old. It must be quite a challenge keeping track of the ever changing security flaws in Oracle products, and helping customers understand that “best” practices are sometimes not as ideal as “standard” practices (or vice-versa).

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