When you execute a query in an application, the result set consists of several rows. In general, you do not know how many rows the application is going to receive before you execute the query. Cursors provide a way of handling query result sets in applications.
The way you use cursors and the kinds of cursors available to you depend on the programming interface you use. For a list of cursor types available from each interface, see Availability of cursors.
With cursors, you can perform the following tasks within any programming interface:
Loop over the results of a query.
Perform inserts, updates, and deletes on the underlying data at any point within a result set.
In addition, some programming interfaces allow you to use special features to tune the way result sets return to your application, providing substantial performance benefits for your application.
For more information about the kinds of cursors available through different programming interfaces, see Availability of cursors.
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