ThatJeffSmith

Top 10 Things You Might Be Overlooking in Oracle SQL Developer

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The engineers don't want to work with you, mostly.

The engineers don’t want to work with you, mostly.

You do your job. You take the requests from the customers, and give them to the engineers.

Wait, that’s me.

Your job is probably something more like, you write SQL and PL/SQL, you build databases, you create reports, forms, and applications, you keep all of this running, you make it work, and you make it ‘fast enough.’

For much of your work, you live in SQL Developer. You are probably doing these types of things:

  • writings queries and running them
  • saving data to Excel
  • browsing objects and their data
  • getting SQL scripts generated
  • looking at database stuff to figure out what’s ‘wrong’

What I want to talk about today are the features that you’re probably not aware of or are using today. And these are features that could make the things you do DO, much easier and faster.

So without further ado (my all-time least favorite non-sequitur):

1. Reports

Not the reports we give you, but yes, those are really nice. I’m talking about the ability to write your own reports, and then re-use them over and over and over again.

Pie chart master with 3 children reports

Pie chart master with 3 children reports

Learn more about reports.

2. Search

It’s technically called ‘Find DB Object’ – but it’s a search mechanism for things in your database and database code. We have a button, a menu item, and keyboard hot key to launch and run searches.

Don’t go scrolling through the tree, just have the tool tell you where your stuff is, and then let it take you there automatically.

Search, browse, click to open.

Search, browse, click to open.

3. The Debugger

Yes, DBMS_OUTPUT is easy, it works, and everyone does it. But seeing what your PL/SQL code can be so much easier. And it’s free. Always has been. You’re in an IDE, why not try one of those fancy IDE-things?

Changing the value of a variable is easy with the debugger

Changing the value of a variable is easy with the debugger

Learn more about the debugger (3 minute YouTube Video).

4. The Cart

It’s not your fault that you’re not using the Cart feature. The name gives you maybe a hint at what it does (think shopping cart and e-commerce sites), but it’s hard to sum up what all this feature provides.

In a nut-shell, imagine a process where you could drag and drop one or more database objects, and then have ‘things’ happen to those objects. You could generate deployment scripts, use them in an compare against a database, or even upload them to our Oracle Cloud Database Schema Service.

For most of you, generating the deployment scripts is going to be the #1 use-case scenario.

I can simply drag database objects off the tree and build a 'shopping list'

I can simply drag database objects off the tree and build a ‘shopping list’

Learn more about the Cart.

5. SQL Code Templates

If you like snippets, you’ll LOVE this feature.

Code your code into SQL Developer.

Code your code into SQL Developer.

Learn more about templates.

6. File History

I don’t talk about this feature enough. If you work with files, then you really, really should be aware of the ability to see how your code is changing over time – without any need to setup CVS, Subversion, Git, or whatever.

SQL Developer can do local file tracking, but you probably should be using Source Control too!

SQL Developer can do local file tracking, but you probably should be using Source Control too!

7. Real Time SQL Monitoring

So IF you have licensed the Tuning Pack with your database, then you really should be using this feature. It’s available under the Tools – Monitor SQL menu.

Watch each step of the plan execute!

Watch each step of the plan execute!

Learn more about Real Time SQL Monitoring.

8. The Data Modeler

This is a BIG ONE. And there’s two things going on here. Some of you aren’t using it because you didn’t know SQL Developer included a full featured design tool for Oracle Database. But MOST of you wouldn’t be using it even if you were aware of it. Because most folks just start creating tables and writing code – and the model is an afterthought.

But, if you WANT to do design work, we can help you.

Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler running INSIDE of SQL Developer. Notice how the Modeler menu items fold under the file menu?

Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler running INSIDE of SQL Developer. Notice how the Modeler menu items fold under the file menu?

If you want to learn more about the Modeler, check out my resource page – it’s one of the main links at the top of this page.

9. The Preferences

Don’t laugh. Most folks never open the preferences and change anything. As much time as you spend in the tool, if you spend 5 minutes in there, it will have a profound impact on your productivity.

People are always asking me how to get the ‘alternating color thingy going in your data grids…’

Grid option for alternating backgrounds

Grid option for alternating backgrounds

Learn more about the preferences.

10. Potpourri, and other things YOU might enjoy

I could list a bunch of other things for this spot, like the DB Doc feature, or Unit Testing. But I’ll end on a more open-ended note, and just invite you to share your favorite feature that you wish your co-workers would take advantage of.

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