Monday, March 20, 2006

Product Review-Oracle SQL Developer

The SQL Developer is the latest application that Oracle has to offer. It is a querying tool, a tool to write and check out your Stored Procedures and PL\SQL programs. A graphic interface is provided to browse through your database objects.

The SQL Developer is written in Java, which seems to be the product of an in-house Java Development project in Oracle (Project Raptor). The entire app is coded in Java, in order to be able to provide a cross platform tool. The App runs on all platforms Mac OS, Linux, Windows which have JRE. For those who don’t have Java 1.5 JDK they have provided it at the site.

Developers who have used TOAD and other high end querying tools won’t find anything new in this. But the thing to look out for in SQL developer is the ‘Delivered Reports’ features. More about this later in the post.

The App uses the normal JDBC for connection to Databases - but it isn’t ‘raptor’ enough, so they didn’t release it as Oracle Raptor and stuck to Oracle SQL Developer. It uses the thin JDBC drivers so there’s no need for any installations as such, which makes it one of those unzip and use applications.

  • About the interface, it’s pretty much a nice piece of art. Got a cool bluish look and nice icons and stuff- if it was not Oracle it definitely would have come with Skins and Themes.

  • Well, making a connection is painstaking; of course JDBC connectivity doesn’t come that easy. You have to give the Host name, SID and all to get your connection, developers who are already spoiled by tools like TOAD which reads from your tnsnames.ora would find it a big pain with the connectivity.

  • But once you get connected it’s pretty much ‘do-anything’ feel in SQL Developer. You have the tree structure which lets you browse through the objects in the Database, the filter options for your objects are very limited- that’s one thing you’ll miss from Toad

  • The Create Object option in the right click Context menu, though, is quite cool, no need to remember those long syntaxes, just a few entries, some check boxes and click ok your object gets created.

  • Oracle is moving slowly to the drag drop culture that you see in MySQL Query Browser with the-drag your objects and get your query feature.

  • The query outputs can still be exported to various formats like CSV, XML, and simple TXT etc.

  • There is this Snippets feature that comes with SQL Developer that gives you your Aggregate functions, your datetime functions etc that you use in your everyday queries. The PL\SQL Programming techniques was quite a surprise, with syntaxes for FOR loops etc.

The best feature of Oracle SQL Developer is the Data Dictionary Reports which gives you pretty much anything you want to know about your database. There is this provision for User-defined reports which adds a bit more value to SQL Developer.

Well to sum it up all, I still feel it’s an application not for the Developers it’s an application that kills the developer. It’s taking all the fun of coding from the Developer, of course you might argue that the logic will still remain with the developer but the whole drag and drop thing might not work for the contemporary developer. It makes him or her feel like Schumacher in a fully automatic F1 car, it’s too damn boring. I wouldn’t say it’s fast, there are high end query tools that query much faster than this. No wonder they dropped the whole Raptor theme.

Verdict: A nice tool for beginners to start with their SQL and PL\SQLs.

Hat Tip: Bijou.

I had written about the SQL Developer earlier here.

1 Comments:

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7:53 AM  

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