You don’t need to have an Oracle Client installed on your machine to use Oracle SQL Developer. Everything you need to connect to Oracle Database is provided by the JDBC driver included with the download. So you can be up and running in usually less than 5 minutes.
But if you DO happen to have a Client on your machine, you’ll be happier.
If you’re too lazy to go read the above post, here it is in a nutshell:
- JDBC doesn’t do everything that OCI can
- OCI does a better job at reliably cancelling queries
- OCI has better support for advanced data types including XML
So, if you’re on-board with the idea of connecting up your Oracle Client with SQL Developer, let’s talk about how to get that going.
Prior to version 4, you would tell SQL Developer to use the ‘OCI/Thick driver’ – by the way, OCI stands for ‘Oracle Client Interface.’
The ‘problem’ here is that many of you have more than one Client on your machine. So not being able to explicitly tell SQL Developer WHICH client to use was problematic.
So in version 4, we’ve enhanced the preferences to allow you to tell us exactly what client to use.
Note the actual PATH I have here is:
“Instant Client: file:/C:/Program Files/Oracle/11203_x64_InstantClient/instantclient_11_2/”
You can put the Instant Client anywhere on your machine, but we need the directory location of where we can find these files:
Use Oracle Client
This tells SQL Developer WHERE your client is. It will then use this location to attempt to load the OCI stuff when doing things like a Password Reset on an expired connection. It won’t cause SQL Developer to use the OCI/Thick driver for connections though.
Use OCI Thick Driver
This DOES tell SQL Developer to make OCI/Thick connections to your Oracle database. It will use the client specified in the previous preference.
SQL Developer will attempt to confirm that your Client is available once you click ‘OK.’ If it’s an Instant Client, it will check the OS Path to make sure it’s there. Note we can only look at the first item in the path, so you may get a false positive, in which case you can ignore by clicking ‘Yes’ here.
How Do I Know if I Did it ‘Right?’
You can check two things.
One – on a disconnected connection, right click. If you see ‘Reset Password’ available, you’re golden. Two, you can open Help > About and check the properties a la:
One Last Thing
SQL Developer 4 ships with an 126.96.36.199 JDBC driver. That means you’ll want at least an 188.8.131.52 Client for this to be compatible with SQL Developer. 184.108.40.206 or 220.127.116.11 won’t work. At some point we’ll ship with a 12c driver, which means you’ll need a 12c client. But we’ll worry about that later 🙂