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REVIEW: Oracle SQL Developer

October 13, 2006

So, what’s it like being the single .NET developer in a world of Oracle Forms and Reports, Cognos, and database programmers? A lot of handshaking and walking away with “Wow, I’m glad I am not them!,” yet remembering I have to be kind to them when Oracle or pl/SQL does something odd that I don’t understand.

Finally, Raptor, or newly named Oracle SQL Developer, has been completed to save me from the doldrums of SQLPlus. I have been using the Oracle Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2005 for quite a while and find the query tool nice, but not very powerful and HORRIBLE for testing code segments.

Getting the Application

To download the application, go out to the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) and download it. It’s a free application and only requires the normal login.


To install and run, simply unzip to a location and launch the sqldeveloper.exe file. Note, this application is written totally in Java and requires JDK 1.5 on your workstation to run. Beyond that, there are no installations to worry about—a definite plus for those used to dealing with Oracle’s installer technology.

Also, a note, those who are non-Windows platform are in luck! SQL Developer is available for Windows, Linux, Unix, and Mac OS X platforms. This is the true advantage, I believe to Java-based applications—something I’m a bit jealous of as a .NET developer (though Mono is pretty darned cool).

The Interface

Below, you see a simple view of a pseudo database with tables, procedures, and a quick execute of a select query. The interface is very intuitive, to me, and for those who use Quest Software’s TOAD or Microsoft SQL Server users who are using the new SQL Server 2005 management console, the learning curve should be extremely quick.

As with the ODT, procedures, views, tables, and triggers can be managed with ease through the GUI.

When editing a stored procedure, the dependency table is great for those who are perhaps looking at another person’s lengthy procedure to see exactly what tables are touched.

SQL queries can be returned in both Execute Statement format (as in the first screenshot and most familiar to SQL Server hounds) and Script mode, an output as you would see it in SQLPlus and best for viewing errors and server messages. The explain path is also interesting, though something I’m still learning as it’s readouts are quite a bit different from SQL Server’s Query Manager.


1. Each statement can be ‘tagged’ to run based on either cursor location or a select on the left-side of the screen. You can do this with both SQL Server Management Console and SQL Developer by just selecting the text, but that gets obnoxious too.

2. For comparisons, that’d be nice to have.


The tool, especially for early phases of development, will make my life MUCH better while working with our numerous Oracle databases. I’d recommend it to anyone who spends a lot of time back and forth and doesn’t have the funding to get the licensed version of TOAD and finds the VS2005 ODT a bit too limiting.

Categories: Oracle
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