Quest boosts Toad for Oracle with version 11

New features of Toad for Oracle include more automated code analysis, allowing read-only access to production databases and reporting across all managed databases.

Quest Software has released a new version of Toad for Oracle, its popular Oracle database management software. Features include automated code analysis and reporting across all managed databases.

Raymond Lefebvre, director of database reporting at University of Massachusetts Medical School, said he liked new features related to viewing table data and pulling a SQL statement out of PL/SQL for use elsewhere. He’s been testing Quest’s Toad for Oracle 11 and plans to roll it out in production in the coming weeks.

Lefebvre said the new tool allows developers to be on a parent table and still be able to see data in a child table on a split-screen below it. Programmers no longer have to switch between the two on their screens, which he said can be cumbersome and sometimes confusing. He added that the new version allows developers to pull a SQL statement that is embedded in PL/SQL code and pop it up into a new window.

“We hope to pick it up in a couple weeks and replace Toad 10.6, the version we’re running,” he said. “We’re heavily dependent on the tool and so we can’t dive into it as quickly as we would like.”

UMass Medical uses Toad for more than 100 Oracle databases -- most of them Oracle Database 11g R2. They also use the tool to manage its Microsoft SQL Server databases as well. Lefebvre himself has been using the tool since the mid-1990s. Without it, he said development teams would have to rely on “brute force.”

“Without Toad, everything is done by writing scripts,” he said. “It’s error-prone and a lot more time-consuming. You also have to know all the command syntaxes. You have to memorize a lot of parameters.”

Quest says that more than 2 million database professionals rely on Toad, which is also available for other databases such as IBM DB2 and MySQL. Toad for Oracle 11 is available now with pricing starting at $870 per seat for the base version. First-year maintenance is included in that cost.

Quest is strongly touting the code analysis feature of the new version, saying it will help developers follow coding standards and best practices. John Whittaker, senior product manager at Quest, said the tool runs in real time and can detect code violations as they occur. Management can build its own coding rule sets, and the analysis tool helps to speed up coding and prevent errors from sneaking into the product.

Developers can choose whether they want the code analysis to be real time or at the end of code changes. John Pocknell, senior product manager for Quest Toad, said the tool enables continual parsing of the coding editor “with minimal footprint.”

“It’s much more logical, and this was actually requested by quite a few of our users in development,” he said.

Another feature is amped-up database security that allows read-only access to production databases. That way if a developer has both test/development and production databases open, he won’t accidentally be able to make changes to the production database with a mis-click.

Lefebvre said he did have one suggestion that Quest could incorporate in future versions of Toad: an automated screen recording tool. Why? For compliance. When the development team scripts changes to the production database, it has to show before-and-after environments. Currently, UMass is using an open source product to record the changes to hand off to auditors.

“I thought it would be nice if they had a feature where you could turn screen recording on demand,” he said. “We have to record these changes, and I don’t think we’re alone in having to comply with SAS 70 or SOX [Sarbanes-Oxley] or HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act].”

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