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Oracle SQL Developer gets an update

Oracle says its newly updated SQL Developer tool includes enhancements that make it easier to create and debug SQL and PL/SQL code.

In a move designed to give the free SQL Developer tool and its chief competitor, Quest Software Inc.'s popular...

Toad for Oracle software, says he's opting for the latter, despite the fact that Toad is not free.

"There were some problems with the way that SQL Developer just didn't do things, and it was not conducive to the way I work," said Chris Tryon, manager of programming at Hatch Mott MacDonald, an engineering consulting firm based in Milburn, New Jersey. "Having said that, though, there are people in my group for whom SQL Developer is extremely relevant and useful, and I make sure that those people know about it and use it."

Tryon, who hasn't yet tried the new version of SQL Developer, says he started using the free tool when it first came out last March. He used it extensively for a while until ultimately deciding to go back to Toad. Tryon and the database administrator he works with repeatedly ran into trouble when attempting to use the original version to debug code.

More SQL Developer news:
Oracle SQL Developer vs. Toad for Oracle: Users speak out, part two

"We just couldn't get the [Java Debug Wire Protocol] stuff to work," Tryon said. "I've been a loyal Toad user for a while now."

New features and functionality

Oracle SQL Developer Release 1.1 offers new features that make it easier for developers to create and debug SQL and PL/SQL code, including a redesigned extensible object browser with newly added filtering capabilities, expanded SQL Plus compatibility, and improved Data Grid features, according to Oracle.

Built on the Oracle Fusion Client Platform (also known as the Oracle JDeveloper IDE), SQL Developer 1.1 lets users browse non-Oracle database management systems, including Microsoft's SQL Server, open source MySQL and Microsoft Access. Users can import and export data from a variety of formats, including spreadsheets. Oracle says that SQL Developer 1.1 also lets users build detailed reports that can include charts.

Also, Oracle today unveiled the The new features Oracle added to SQL Developer represent a direct response to requests from end users, according to Harper. For example, she said, some users found it difficult to use the original version of SQL Developer to query the database, and many were forced to do so using SQL Plus and a command line interface. The feedback led Oracle to include a graphical query builder in 1.1.

"This is great for users trying to build SQL and PL/SQL queries," Harper said. "They use a mouse to drag and drop tables onto a space, and by the click of a mouse they can join different tables together, and the SQL query is created for them."

Users also told Oracle that they didn't like the fact that they had to work with PL/SQL directly in the database, so Oracle added file-based editing capabilities in SQL Developer 1.1.

"With 1.1, users can now access these files from their version control systems," Harper said. "They open them up in SQL Developer, and then they can edit those files and return them to their version control system."

Availability

Oracle SQL Developer is available as a free download from the

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