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Cursors are used by database programmers to process individual rows returned by database system queries. Cursors enable manipulation of whole result sets at once. In this scenario, a cursor enables the rows in a result set to be processed sequentially.

In SQL procedures, a cursor makes it possible to define a result set (a set of data rows) and perform complex logic on a row by row basis. By using the same mechanics, a SQL procedure can also define a result set and return it directly to the caller of the SQL procedure or to a client application.

A cursor can be viewed as a pointer to one row in a set of rows. The cursor can only reference one row at a time, but can move to other rows of the result set as needed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cursor_%28databases%29

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