Pattern Matching with Oracle Database 12c

Now that Oracle Database 12c has launched you will see that we have updated the SQL Analytics home page on OTN, which is here:

One of the new things listed on our OTN home page is a very exciting feature headlined "pattern matching". Those of you who are using Warehouse Builder will remember the regular expression syntax that was added into the Paris 10g release and you are probably thinking that "hey, I thought Oracle Database already did pattern matching". Of course, you are quite correct. Prior to Oracle Database 12c you could search for patterns within a specific row of data using all sorts of techniques. However, this new pattern matching feature is something is really quite special.

The Oracle Database 12c adds SQL pattern matching capabilities brings the simplicity and efficiency of the most common data analysis language to the process of identifying patterns within a data set. It provides a completely new native SQL syntax that has adopted the regular expression capabilities of Perl by implementing a core set of rules to define patterns in sequences (streams of rows). This new inter-row pattern search capability complements the already existing capabilities of regular expressions that match patterns within character strings of a single record.

The 12c MATCH_RECOGNIZE feature allows the definition of patterns, in terms of characters or sets of characters, and provides the ability to search for those patterns across row boundaries. It offers significant gains in term of performance, maintainability and scalability compared to the continued use of bespoke code embedded within applications and executed either on the client side or within the middle-tier application server.

For business users and data scientists the key advantage of in-database pattern matching is that it allows them to incorporate pattern enrichment into their existing analytical workflows without having to resort to complex externally coded routines that increases network traffic and increase data latency. This whitepaper will explore this new SQL functionality and explain how different industries can leverage the full richness of Oracle’s new SQL pattern matching capabilities.
Moving forward developers really think seriously about switching their pattern matching logic to the new SQL-based pattern matching features offered by Oracle Database 12c so they can benefit from simplified code, more efficient processing and improved performance.

I have posted some articles and presentations on the updated SQL Analytics page on OTN.  When you visit the updated OTN page look for the section marked Technical Information . Here you will see links to a whitepaper and presentation from OpenWorld 2012 that will help you to understand this great new feature:

red-arrow-box SQL Pattern Matching: Patterns Everywhere - Find then fast! 
red-arrow-box Analyze This! Analytical Power in SQL, More Than You Ever Dreamed Of (OOW 2012)
 In the section marked Training you see a list of three podcasts:
red-arrow-box Podcasts: SQL Pattern Matching
Part 1 - Introduction to pattern matching
Part 2 - Concepts, syntax and demonstration
Part 3 - Uses Cases
I will posting three articles on this blog over the next week; one for each podcast (please note that the links on OTN for each podcast will come through to these upcoming blog posts so at the moment the OTN links are not actually working). These will introduce you to the new Database 12c pattern matching feature, explain how to use it and highlight some interesting real world use cases.  And there is a fully interactive Apple iBook edition of the pattern matching whitepaper coming soon! Stay tuned for more information! 
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