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node-oracledb 2.0 with pre-built binaries is on npm

Christopher Jones
Senior Principal Product Manager

Release announcement: Node-oracledb 2.0.15, the Node.js add-on for Oracle Database, is now on npm for general use.

Top features: Pre-built binaries, Query fetch improvements

It's time to shake things up. Node-oracledb version 1 has been stable for a while. Our tight, hard working team is now proud to deliver node-oracledb 2 to you. With improvements throughout the code and documentation, this release is looking great. There are now over 3000 functional tests, as well as solid stress tests we run in various environments under Oracle's internal testing infrastructure.

Review the CHANGELOG for all changes. For information on migrating see Migrating from node-oracledb 1.13 to node-oracledb 2.0.

node-oracledb v2 highlights

  • node-oracledb 2.0 is the first release to have pre-built binaries. These are provided for convenience and will make life a lot easier, particularly for Windows users.

    Binaries for Node 4, 6, 8 and 9 are available for Windows 64-bit, macOS 64-bit, and Linux 64-bit (built on Oracle Linux 6).

    Simply add oracledb to your package.json dependencies or manually install with:

    npm install oracledb
    

    (Yes, Oracle Client libraries are still required separately - these do all the heavy lifting.)

    We've got great error messages when a binary isn't available, and improved the messages when require('oracledb') fails, however Linux users with older glibc libraries may get Linux runtime errors - you should continue building node-oracledb from source in this case, see below.

    There is support for hosting binary packages on your own internal web server, which will be great for users with a large number of deployments. See package/README.

    This is the first release to use the ODPI-C abstraction layer which is also used by Python's cx_Oracle 6.x API, as well as 3rd party APIs for other languages. Using ODPI is the the main change that allowed node-oracledb 2.0 binaries to be distributed. As another consequence of ODPI-C, any node-oracledb 2 binary will run with any of the Oracle client 11.2, 12.1 or 12.2 libraries without needing recompilation. This improves portability when node-oracledb builds are copied between machines. Since the available Oracle functionality will vary with different Oracle Client (and Oracle Database!) versions, it's important to test your applications using your intended deployment environment.

  • The driver can still be built from source code if you need, or want, to do so. Compiling is now simpler than in version 1, since you no longer need Oracle header files, and no longer need OCI_INC_DIR or OCI_LIB_DIR environment variables.

    To build from source you need to pull the code from a GitHub branch or tag - generally the most recent release tag is what you want. Make sure you have Python 2.7, the 'git' utility, and a compiler, and add oracle/node-oracledb.git#v2.0.15 to your package.json dependencies. Or manually run the install:

    npm install oracle/node-oracledb.git#v2.0.15
    

    Users without 'git', or with older versions of Node that won't pull the ODPI submodule code, can use the source package:

    npm install https://github.com/oracle/node-oracledb/releases/download/v2.0.15/oracledb-src-2.0.15.tgz
    

    I've noticed GitHub can be a little slow to download the source before compilation can begin, so bear with it.

  • Improved query handling:

    • Enhanced direct fetches to allow an unlimited number of rows to be fetched and changed the default number of rows fetched by this default method to be unlimited. The already existing ResultSet and Streaming methods are still recommended for large numbers of rows.

    • Since ODPI-C internally uses 'array fetches' instead of 'prefetching' (both are underlying methods for buffering/tuning differing only in where the buffering takes place - both are transparent to applications), we've replaced prefetchRows with a new, almost equivalent property fetchArraySize..

    • We've moved the buffering or rows for getRow() into JavaScript for better performance. It no longer needs to call down into lower layers as often.

    Check my blog post Node-oracledb v2 Query Methods and Fetch Tuning for some tips.

  • We tightened up some resource handling to make sure applications don't leak resources. If you inadvertently try to close a connection when a LOB or ResultSet is open, you will see a new error DPI-1054.

  • The node-oracledb size restrictions on LOB fetchAsString and fetchAsBuffer queries, and also on LOB binds. In node-oracledb 1 these were particularly low when Oracle 11gR2 client libraries were used, so this should be welcome for people who have not updated the Oracle client. Node.js and V8 will still limit sizes, so continue to use the Stream interface for large LOBs.

  • Added support for ROWID and UROWID. Data is fetched as a String

  • Added support for fetching columns types LONG (as String) and LONG RAW (as Buffer).

  • Added support for TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE date type. These are mapped to a Date object in node-oracledb using LOCAL TIME ZONE. The TIME ZONE component is not available in the Date object.

  • Added query support for NCHAR, NVARCHAR2 and NCLOB columns. Binding for DML may not insert data correctly, depending on the database character set and the database national character set.

Plans for Version 1

Our stated plan was to cease formal support for version 1 when Node 4 LTS maintenance ended in April 2018. We're pleased 1.13.1 has been stable for some time, and we are not anticipating needing any further node-oracledb 1 releases, unless exceptional circumstances occur.

Plans for Version 2

We are now testing with Node 4, 6, 8 and 9. This list will, of course, change as new Node versions are released. The pre-built binaries will also change and availability is not guaranteed.

ODPI-C forms a solid base to extend node-oracledb. Users of Python cx_Oracle 6, which is also based on ODPI-C, are appreciating all the advanced Oracle features that are available. Many of these features have also been requested by node-oracledb users. As with any open source project, there are no hard and fast guarantees for node-oracledb, but you can see the general direction we'd like to head in. Pull Requests are welcome.

One little thing you might be unaware of is that along the way we have been testing (and helping create) the next major release of Oracle Database, so sometimes we've had to take detours from direct node-oracledb work order to move the whole of Oracle along. Whether we work on the "client" or the "server", we look forward to bringing you great things in future releases.

Resources

Node-oracledb installation instructions are here.

Node-oracledb documentation is here.

Node-oracledb change log is here.

For information on migrating see Migrating from node-oracledb 1.13 to node-oracledb 2.0.

Issues and questions about node-oracledb can be posted on GitHub.

Finally, contributions to node-oracledb are more than welcome, see CONTRIBUTING.

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