Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler supports the one-gal design boutique shoppe and the mega-huge development team.

It HAS a file-based repository (Subversion aka SVN.)

You don’t have to use it, but you should.

You can optionally store your designs and data dictionaries in a database for reporting purposes. I strongly recommend you do so.

If you do add your design to a repository, once you save it, and BEFORE you COMMIT your changes to the repository, you can view your Outgoing Changes.

4 changes, 3 objects are touched AND the diagram has changed.
4 changes, 3 objects are touched AND the diagram has changed.

That’s great to know. But what EXACTLY are the pending changes?

Right Click!

Now you can see what's what.
Now you can see what’s what.

Let’s zoom in a bit:

Ok, that's a big change. Two big changes actually.
Ok, that’s a big change. Two big changes actually.

What’s up with that diagram though?

Ah, so the objects have MOVED around. Yes, that's a change.
Ah, so the objects have MOVED around. Yes, that’s a change.

What if there’s a conflict?

You can merge some or all changes. You can walk over to your co-worker and hash it out. You could branch YOUR changes to a new design and try to work it out later (not recommended, probably.)

Heli’s new data modeling book has an entire chapter on how to deal with versioning and resolving design conflicts.

And Incoming Changes?

Same difference, just stuff that’s about to happen to your design if you get the latest version off of the repository.

Heli and I did a cool session at Open World last year where we went back and forth to demonstrate this workflow. It’s really not that complicated. The hard part is doing actual design work and working out conflicts with design decisions, not with the design tool.


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. Terry Barker Reply

    Not what I wanted to hear, but now I know to quit playing with it. In the meantime, I’ve been experimenting with exporting my code directly into a local repository I set up with git, outside of SQL Developer. That, at least, gives me version control, even though it’s manual. Thanks for the feedback–you sent it quickly, and even though it’s a dead end, I appreciate the attention.

    • The Git support is there for just basic/code files. But the Modeler – that’s a completely different beast.

      If you can’t get the Git stuff going in SQL Developer with files, please log an SR with My Oracle Support. It’s there and it’s supported.

  2. Alan Nitikman Reply

    Hi, Jeff,
    I have used Oracle SQL Developer as my presentation tool of choice for CDMs and LDMs, for it’s excellent implementation of the Barker notation. Erwin & ER/Studio, for example, are just ugly for that sort of thing. Even when they’re the shop standard, Barker notation is almost instantly comprehensible to the business.

    But, in my current model, I’m having a problem with relationships not displaying. They were there when I created them; they show up in the navigation, under Relations, if I move the boxes, they show up. They are between Subtypes, in a Supertype. But I’ve sent the Supertype ‘to back’ and they still don’t show up. Is there some limit to the number of relationships that can display? Is there a bug in the treatment of relationships to Subtypes? What’s up? Have you seen this before? Is there a work-around or a setting or a patch?

  3. Hi Jeff – Do you know if there are any plans to include Git support in Data Modeler? or is it there and I am suffering from domestic blindness?


    • We’ve talked about it. It’s not a trivial task – our implementation of Subversion is extremely customized. We also realize that Git is the future, so it’s not something we’re writing off.

      In other words, stay tuned 🙂

    • Terry Barker

      Any progress on implementing git? I can sort of get it to work on my home computer, but here at the office, nothing works. I can’t even create a git repository. I’ve tried posing questions on Oracle community, but I ‘ve only gotten a few responses along the line of try another forum (which I did, with no result). One post said git is being used by hundreds of Oracle developers, but I can’t seem to find any place to get questions answered.

    • That project is on hold while we tackle Cloud requirements. The team has done more than a little research into making Git avail for controlling modeler designs – it’s not a small task.

      The Git feature in SQL Developer is courtesy of the JDeveloper framework itself. So it comes for ‘free’ in SQL Developer. I’m not a Git user, so I can’t really offer much help.

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