Did your APEX upgrade just fail with ORA-04043: object WWV_DBMS_SQL does not exist?


Many folks have done upgrades of APEX to later versions of 5 or 18 without any issues at all, but there is a situation in which things can go wrong. I’m not exactly sure how much of an edge case it is, but I’ve now seen it ‘more than once’. I know that it requires a 12.2 or higher database and I believe it might require an APEX that has been upgraded over the years from ‘previous releases’, somewhere between 3 and 5.0, to a 5.1 or higher version of APEX such as the current 18.1 version of APEX.

In Oracle Database 12.2 and higher, the following three APEX package was officially deprecated or dropped: WWV_DBMS_SQL, WWV_FLOW_VAL, and WWV_FLOW_KEY. Note that I tried to find something in the official Oracle Documentation on this, but I couldn’t. (I’m sure someone with better Google-foo than I could, but it would seem that Oracle’s search capabilities for its documentation should really be a lot better than they are…)  Here’s a link to Morgan’s Library where he lays out what’s different in 12.2 and you can see these three objects are in the deprecated or dropped list. Update: Only WWV_DBMS_SQL was deprecated. The issue that we’re going to run in to is that, most definitely, WWV_DBMS_SQL has been dropped deprecated in Oracle Database 12.2. Update: WWV_FLOW_VAL and WWV_FLOW_KEY are not deprecated or dropped, they are just no longer installed by default as APEX is no longer installed by default. WWV_FLOW_SQL is deprecated.

During the APEX 18.1 install, it will look for a previous version of APEX and when it creates the new APEX_180100 schema, it will migrate all of your information from the previous APEX schema (let’s say APEX_050100) into the new schema. One VERY cool thing about this is that the install will leave all data in the previous schema so that if the installation fails, you can use these instructions to revert back to your previous installation. If you read the documentation that I linked you’ll see that for reverting to a lot of the older versions of APEX after the 18.1 install fails, you’ll actually add back the WWV_DBMS_SQL package by running the source which is in the $ORACLE_HOME/apex/core folder.

After the migration is complete, the installer will attempt to ‘clean up’ some artifacts from the previous versions of APEX that might otherwise get left behind so might run into the following situation if you have a 12.2 or higher database:

SYS@prodcon AS SYSDBA> @apexins apex apex_files temp /i/
[SNIP of vast amounts of output]
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.

...Remove objects created from previous APEX installations
ERROR at line 1:
ORA-04043: object WWV_DBMS_SQL does not exist
ORA-06512: at line 9
ORA-06512: at line 23

Disconnected from Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition Release - 64bit Production

If I used the version of APEX that ships with the 12.2 database to add back in the WWV_DBMS_SQL (from the $ORACLE_HOME/apex/core folder run wwv_dbms_sql.sql and wwv_dbms_sql.plb files as sys) I’d get the ‘new updated versions’ (see below) that actually create a specific version of the packages with the APEX schema name in it, instead of the old ‘generic’ WWV_DBMS_SQL. I had to go back to an older version of APEX (I grabbed one from our previous 12.1 version of the database, but of course you could just download an older version of APEX from the previous versions download page on Oracle.com). I’d suggest anything in the 5.0 timeframe.

Here’s what I finally ended up with in my database after the now successful 18.1 upgrade from a 5.1 previous version after running the correct WWV_DBMS_SQL code. Rather hilariously, the error that ended my previous upgrade attempt where it appeared that the install failed because it couldn’t drop the WWV_DBMS_SQL package appears to not actually be the case because I still have the WWV_DBMS_SQL package in my database:

select owner, status, object_name, object_type
  from dba_objects
 where object_name like 'WWV_DBMS_%'
   and owner='SYS';
SYS     VALID     WWV_DBMS_SQL               PACKAGE        
SYS     VALID     WWV_DBMS_SQL_APEX_050100   PACKAGE        
SYS     VALID     WWV_DBMS_SQL_APEX_180100   PACKAGE        

6 rows selected.

Rows 1 and 2 came from the 12.1 version of APEX that shipped with the database, rows 3 and 4 were from the shipped version of 12.2 APEX and rows 5 and 6 are from the 18.1 version of APEX.

At this point, I can now clean up the database by dropping the WWV_DBMS_SQL and WWV_DBMS_SQL_APEX_050100 packages from the database.

Of course, I’ve asked Oracle Support to log a bug against the APEX install script. I’ll update this post with the bug number once Oracle Support is back online (they are doing upgrades this weekend, so Support has been offline a bit… Hmmm… Maybe they should be using #ThickDB with Edition-Based Redefinition to do live updates!)

Happy APEXing!



One response to “Did your APEX upgrade just fail with ORA-04043: object WWV_DBMS_SQL does not exist?

  • chrisonoracle

    Hi Rich,

    sorry that you ran into this problem. APEX would have even been usable when the error dropped you out of sqlplus. The only thing missing was updating DBA_REGISTRY with the new version (i.e. close, but no cigar…). You could have also worked around this problem by creating an empty SYS.WWV_DBMS_SQL package spec before reverting and re-running the upgrade. Of course, how would you know without internals knowledge.

    The information that WWV_FLOW_VAL, and WWV_FLOW_KEY are deprecated and dropped is not correct. APEX is not installed by default in 12.2, so it looks like we removed these objects. Installing APEX creates them again, though. Please do not drop these packages in an attempt to clean up!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: