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 BBED - Oracle Block and Browser Editor
Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting

Advanced Oracle Utilities: The Definitive Reference by Rampant TechPress is written by four of the top Oracle database experts (Bert Scalzo, Donald Burleson, and Steve Callan).  The following is an excerpt from the book.

Sample output from a installation is shown below. The reason for showing it is to illustrate the difference between Oracle versions 9 and 10 in the flags. Put another way, there is no guarantee that one can take bbed from one version and use it on another version, but one is welcome to try.


[oracle@oralinux lib]$ make -f $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/lib/bbed


Linking BBED utility (bbed)

rm -f /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/rdbms/lib/bbed

gcc -o /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/rdbms/lib/bbed -L/opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/rdbms/lib/ -L/opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib/ -L/opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib/stubs/ -L/usr/lib -lirc  /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib/s0main.o /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/rdbms/lib/ssbbded.o /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/rdbms/lib/sbbdpt.o `cat /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib/ldflags`    -lnsslb10 -lncrypt10 -lnsgr10

<some lines removed>

-lclient10 -lnnetd10  -lvsn10 -lcommon10 -lgeneric10 -lsnls10 -lnls10  -lcore10 -lsnls10 -lnls10 -lcore10 -lsnls10 -lnls10 -lxml10 -lcore10 -lunls10 -lsnls10 -lnls10 -lcore10 -lnls10   `cat /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib/sysliblist` -Wl,-rpath,/opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib -lm    `cat /opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib/sysliblist` -ldl -lm   -L/opt/oracle/product/10.2.0/db_1/lib


To confirm the creation, see if the bbed executable was created. In this example, the make command was executed in the rdbms/lib directory. Bbed can be placed anywhere the DBA likes. Also, change the permissions if needed.


-rwxr-xr-x    1 oracle   dba   434057 Aug 25 16:26 bbed


To confirm that the utility actually runs, invoke it. This example uses the 10g version, which shows release, and so does the 9.0.4 version. Aside from the change in the copyright, the release does not appear to have changed in quite some time.


[oracle@oralinux lib]$ ./bbed



BBED: Release - Limited Production on Wed Aug 27 16:17:06 2008


Copyright (c) 1982, 2005, Oracle.  All rights reserved.


************* !!! For Oracle Internal Use only !!! ***************




Note that one will be prompted for a password. Virtually all of the references to bbed via a search on the Internet mention that if one is motivated enough to be using bbed in the first place, then one is clever enough to determine the password on one’s own. The password is blockedit. It will be seen as BLOCKEDIT in a hex dump file of bbed. Use xxd in /usr/bin to create a dump of bbed, and then look for “BBED>” in the file. A few lines up is BLOCKEDIT.


The mileage may vary, but it is possible to use BBED.EXE that shipped with Oracle 8.1.6, which was about the last time the Windows version was included in the RDBMS software installation, and use that executable against later versions of Oracle datafiles.


Before going into syntax and examples, some preliminaries are in order.  First and foremost is this: bbed is an undocumented and unsupported, from a customer’s perspective, utility. Unless being directed to use this tool by Oracle Support, the DBA is on his own. Do not use bbed on a production database unless one knows what one is doing. Do not use bbed on any database that one cannot afford to lose. Take a backup of any database on which this tool is going to be used.


If the DBA needs to recover data and finds herself completely stymied by every other effort made so far, this is the last resort. There may be bigger and better tools out there, but the “here and now” tool is bbed. If this tool is needed to save/rescue/recover a production database, it would be in the DBA’s best interest to first take a cold backup and then take a copy of that backup as the test bed. In other words, do the work on files separate from the actual files. If the DBA is trying to restore data, transfer it from a rescue instance back into the production instance.


Oracle documentation for bbed, to include looking for it on MetaLink, or My Oracle Support as it is now known, is almost nowhere to be found in the public domain. MetaLink note 62015.1 contains (assuming it still exists within OSS) a note that “BBED is a SUPPORT ONLY tool and should NOT be discussed with customers.” The contents of the note are available inside a mailing list, and support agreements prevent publishing it within this book. (See msg01068. html)


Nonetheless, information can be gleaned about this tool and others as well from the message library that accompanies Oracle software. $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/mesg contains a file named bbedus.msg. One can cat or vi the file and peruse its contents to obtain an idea of how the tool works. Within the message library towards the end is a listing of valid positional parameters, one of which is HELP. Windows installations of Oracle still contain the message library even though BBED.EXE is no longer included.


Before one starts working directly with bbed, it is helpful to know one’s way around data blocks in general including how to get internal block information by row within a table. That and other pieces of information commonly needed include the absolute file number, the full path and name of datafiles, datafile size in blocks, data block address, block number, block size, and the block type.


The DBA needs a reporting tool to output information about a block. There is more than one way to get this information, but the easiest is based on using the supplied PL/SQL built-in named DBMS_ROWID. This package with ten functions and one procedure has been available since at least the Oracle8i days, but use of it may be new to the DBA. Information from several functions is combined in the one procedure which makes use of OUT parameters. Create one’s own wrapper procedure around DBMS_ROWID.ROWID_INFO to make it reusable. Next look at what the procedure contains (Oracle® Database PL/SQL Packages and Types Reference 10g Release 2 (10.2)).


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