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10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Oracle SQL Developer

You think you know Oracle SQL Developer. And you probably know it better than the average user, especially if you’re a subscriber to this blog ;) But I’m betting there’s a few key things you’ve overlooked. We’re going to fix that today!

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10. We’re not the new kids on the block anymore.

From 2005 to today, man how time flies!

From 2005 to today, man how time flies!


Actually, we can’t sing either, but I digress. What started out as Project Raptor in 2005 has become one of the most downloaded resources on OTN, enjoying somewhere around 2,500,000 regular users. The number of folks downloading it grows by double-digit percentage points, year-over-year.

We don’t like to brag (lying, of course we like to brag, we’re Oracle), but after 8 years, we have saved our customers many millions of dollars in software licenses and maintenance. And that will continue for many years to come.

9. We’re based on the JDeveloper framework.

And Netbeans now too.

Heh, no one’s perfect ;) Yes, we like to kid our JDev cousins, but they do give us some nice things. In version 4, we’re running on their latest 12c framework – that’s how you get your fancy floating windows, an updated look-and-feel, improved search and replace, etc.

We DO return the favor though. If you’re in JDeveloper doing database stuff, that’s largely from us. So we build SQL Developer off of JDeveloper and then provide extensions back to JDev. It’s a very fun and interesting relationship.

I’ll be working with one of the JDev Product Managers soon to do more outreach to our Java developers to help them get more out of the database widgets inside of JDev. Should be fun stuff.

8. We’re not JUST for developers.

Yeah, we do DBA stuff too.

Yeah, we do DBA stuff too.


There’s an entire DBA panel in the tool that almost doubles the functionality of the product. With interfaces to RMAN, Data Pump, security, storage, and parameter management, the SQL Developer user can quickly perform their administrative tasks without having to leave the tool.

And we’re looking to add more toys here, so stay tuned!

7. We’re installed WITH the database.

That’s right, go double-check your $ORACLE_HOME directory. Now, the software version of SQL Developer shipped with the database is only updated as new major versions of Oracle Database are released. With Database 12c, you’ll find version 3.2.20.09 of SQL Developer. This version already has a good bit of 12c specific feature exploits available, including:

  • Multitenant stuff
  • Redaction
  • SQL Translation Framework
  • Identity Columns

6. We can connect to SQL Server, Sybase, DB2, and other ‘weird’ platforms.

You can query and browse these cough databases. But the reason we provide this feature isn’t because we’re trying to be a multi-RDBMS query tool. No, we’re trying to help you migrate from these platforms TO Oracle Database.

Everything you need to migrate your application and database (OK, mostly everything) is to be found in SQL Developer.

5. A complete data modeling solution is built right-in.

Oh, pretty pictures! I can do that!

Oh, pretty pictures! I can do that!


Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler is a separate data modeling tool. But we also include it INSIDE of SQL Developer. So you can build a relational model, engineer that to a 12c physical model, and then generate your DDL scripts to push out to the database. Then tab over to your worksheet and start playing with your new objects in the database – all without leaving SQL Developer.

4. Most users only use 10% of the tool.

Ok, I’m cheating with this one. Actually most users only avail themselves of about 10% of ANY software product. Now the tricky part is that while there’s some overlap, everyone’s ’10%’ sweet spot is different.

Why do you need to realize this? Because for every percentage point you deviate from the 10% (and I mean going up, not down), makes you that much more productive and valuable to your organization. I like money and I want you to make more. Read this blog, see the ‘cool stuff’, use it, and then teach your organization what you’ve learned and show them how to do more. Good things will happen. I could name names, but I’ll let them identify themselves if they so please :)

3. Just because we’re ‘free’ doesn’t mean you don’t get support.

Remember how we’re included with the database? Yeah, your database license gives you your license to use SQL Developer. Now, if you also happen to have a valid support contract with My Oracle Support (MOS) for your database, you also get access to opening Service Requests (SRs) on SQL Developer.

We have a dedicated SQL Developer support team for both SQL Developer and SQL Developer Data Modeler. Don’t be shy, let them know how they can help you.

2. We use SQL Developer to build SQL Developer, and large parts of other things in the database.

We’re not just some Java heads that are throwing screens up to handle PL/SQL package interfaces. The developers on this team come from our real world tuning/performance teams, our consulting groups, and other places where real database work and experience are used to make SQL Developer the best little database IDE in Texas…and Hong Kong, Sydney, Belfast, Dubai, Mexico City, and just about anywhere else you can imagine.

Other Database product teams like Times Ten, Spatial & Graph, Data Miner, etc. build their own SQL Developer extensions to make their products more accessible to the SQL Developer user. We’re working with another internal team to bring you guys an interface to one of the most powerful SQL tuning diagnostic and analysis tools I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a LOT – so expect more good things.

1. We’re more than ‘good enough.’

I’m frequently asked if SQL Developer is ‘good enough’ to use ‘for real.’ I think I know what you mean, is SQL Developer really good enough to use as the ‘go to’ Oracle database tool?

My answer is ‘Yes,’ but you could probably care less about what I have to say. I can tell you that I have worked with many dozens of companies and government organizations to deploy SQL Developer as their corporate standard database tool. This has been for groups of 10, 100, and 1500 users. The biggest surprise to come about from these exercises is that the users are not only as good off as they were before the switch, but that they’re even happier. The organizations are happier too – everyone is using the same tools, updates are free, and the change often surfaces really, really weird processes that had been built around old tools and workflows.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Oracle SQL Developer is used by the good folks at Oracle Corp. If you work here, you can go to our MyDesktop software inventory, and pull up SQL Developer and Modeler, and have it put on your machine. As new employees are brought in via mergers and acquisitions, they get to use SQL Developer too. We eat our own dog food. We drink our own Kool-Aid. When it tastes bad, we know it right away. We fix it with purpose, because we know y’all out there will benefit.

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