Day 1: Give me a keep-alive button!

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Everything must eventually come to an end, even your database session.

In case you’re curious, I’m calling yesterday ‘Day 0’ as it was spent doing trivial things like getting email setup. Today I feel like was closer to a real day of work. I spent a few hours this afternoon going over some request from the users. One stuck out pretty prominently –

‘Keep-alive functionality’

The basic gist is at some point your connection to the database is terminated due to an inactive connection. This can be controlled by the DBA via a PROFILE and the IDLE_TIME flag – go read the DOCs

“IDLE_TIME Specify the permitted periods of continuous inactive time during a session, expressed in minutes. Long-running queries and other operations are not subject to this limit.”

Some folks like to login in on Monday morning and logout on Friday afternoon. For various reasons, this is not smiled upon by the admins. To control this, a PROFILE can be established which will go and drop all inactive sessions after a certain time period has elapsed.

What users would like to see is their application (in this case SQL Developer) run a SELECT * FROM DUAL or BEGIN DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE(”); END; / request periodically. This would keep their connection ACTIVE for as long as their application is running.

Please believe me, I get it, I really do. And even if I didn’t at first, after the 1800th person asked me about it, I finally began to realize that this can be a pain. But.

I’m of the opinion that implementing something like this would not serve our users. I think where we can reach a happy middle ground is to have a really well implemented ‘RECONNECT’ feature which would re-establish any dropped session – whether that be due to someone yanking the ethernet plug from your machine, the database crashing, or a PROFILE limit being enforced.

Eventually this would just be ‘automagic’, but for now just having a button to go resurrect the session will be a big improvement.

Maybe I’m off my rocker? What do you think? DBAs, I’d love to get your feedback here too.

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