I hope this post isn’t too cheesy.

But it’s Turkey-week here in the USA, and the theme demands that homage be paid.

So here are 5 features in Oracle SQL Developer that I use all the time, and am truly thankful for. They help me conserve energy, AND they make my job easier. I want to make sure YOU’RE aware of them too.

In no particular order, mostly…

1. The Statements Panel

I use this to figure out why a page or feature in the tool might not be ‘working’ for a customer. I can see which data dictionary views we’re hitting, what predicates are being used to ‘hide’ stuff, etc.

It’s new for version 4.1. It’s avail for Oracle JDBC connections. It’s there when you need it.

View – Log. Click on statements. It’s an ACTIVE panel, and by that I mean, a ton of stuff is printed to it. So use the filter to find stuff. And click off of it and onto another panel if you don’t want it to jump up and grab your attention.

Everything that runs, including bind parameters, and how long it takes to run.
Everything that runs, including bind parameters, and how long it takes to run.

2. Code Insight and Grammar Checks

I like that it never gets in my way, and that it frequently gives me what I want – much quicker than I could type it myself. And when I am typing w/o thinking, it usually catches my mistakes. Now the trick for me is, being able to NOTICE the grammar check feedback BEFORE I go to run the query. I’m slowly getting there πŸ™‚

Mouse over grammar squiggle for the info.
Mouse over grammar squiggle for the info.

Don’t forget to set your preferences to make sure our code insight feature doesn’t get in YOUR way. I turn off the automatic options, and use the keyboard to invoke the help.

3. Visual Representation of Foreign Keys

Do you have foreign keys?

You don’t know? Well, check. We make it easy to see now. You could always look at the constraints page for type ‘R’ – but we also go in the other direction, looking for tables with FK constraints coming back to your table of interest.

This helps me help others more than it helps me directly, but that’s good enough for this to make my list.

Open a table, there's a new panel, 'Model.'
Open a table, there’s a new panel, ‘Model.’

4. Reports

I insist on continuing to harp on y’all to use the reports feature more. Because it’s good. Because it will help you. A LOT. I use a couple of reports to make things easier for me to demo OTHER features.

Example, finding tables having specific data types to answer questions like, ‘do you support BLOBs?’

All of the datatypes in my database mapped to existing table columns
All of the datatypes in my database mapped to existing table columns

5. Result set formatters

Having a wizard to get my data out to Excel is whiz-bang. But having my query come back directly as json or xml or csv is tip-top!

--to set for everything coming back in SQL worksheet or SQLcl
--to set for ONLY the current statement
SELECT /*json*/ * FROM ...

I like this because I’m lazy, and I love it because showing this to our customers makes them very happy. And then it’s very easy for me to show them 10 more things they might like.

Other things I’m thankful for

  • having an employer that values reaching out to our users (best job evah!)
  • having made so many friends out there in the greater Oracle space
  • having the opportunity to travel to great places for work
  • your continued support and encouragement – I never take this for granted

Oh, and I completely forgot this one, and it’s VERY important:

I’m very thankful that the powers that be, AKA Larry, decided to make this technology FREE to all of our users. I can concentrate on helping them instead of selling them. Mostly.


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. Jochen Van den Bossche Reply

    I like all 5 things presented, but two of them are (apparently) not in the version of SQL Developer I downloaded and installed today (just because I saw those features in this article!)
    * Visual Representation of Foreign Keys: the button is just not there. Is this in a beta version, maybe?
    * Result set formatters: I found this one eventually. TIP for all others that are looking for this functionality: you have to execute the code with “Run Scrip (F5)”, not with “Run statement (ctrl+enter)”. Makes sense, in fact.

    Thanks for the post Jeff.

  2. 1. Totally, but the log table needs to wrap long info where needed, to a max height (set by user preference).

    2. Noticed this. Can we pop this up with ctrl-space or something?

    3. Also saw the Model tab. It’s really good.

    4. Reports. These are a lot more than reports, just like you say. You should retitle these because I think people (myself included) think of reports as bulky, rigid and unusable read-only dumps of ill-formatted data. Just to honor the good work of your developers, please rename it.

    5. Exporting data to Excel is like giving pharmacy keys to a junkie. Not only is Excel the largest database in terms of users, it’s also most prone to horribly, indetectibly-wrong data analysis. Make them use the reports instead. I’m also philosophically opposed to exporting JSON or XML for analysis as well. The database will do it better, more verifiably, and more repeatedly.

    Best always and happy turkey day!

    – Andrew

    • 1. mouse over the line – you’ll get what you want

      2. the grammar feedback? no, not today

      4. this thought has crossed my mind. what hasn’t crossed my mind YET is a better name than ‘reports.’ I’m open to suggestions!

      5. agree all way around, except for the part where you called Excel a ‘database’ πŸ™‚

    • 1. It should be automatic.

      5. I wish it weren’t so, and sorry to be unclear. More people fire up Excel when they want a relational database than those who actually use a relational database. The fact that so many people use Excel instead of Oracle or any real RDBMS testifies to the fact that we have still not gotten UI issues right. I hate hearing “oh I’ll extract to Excel”!

  3. Jeff,

    Finally decided to Thank you on your blog directly.
    I’ve been in the fight to switch from the T to the Oracle own GUI database tool.
    So far I’ve faced some challenges here are there, but, I am sure they’re more related to the way I was used to do things than SQLDev itself.
    Right now, I like where I’m standing; started adding gauges to my most used queries, the statement panel, agree with you, it’s super useful, DBA panel (I’m the DBA πŸ™‚ ) and my whole experience is getting better as I continue to use it as my daily tool at work, hopefully soon will engaged my teammates to not fear the change πŸ™‚

    So as I keep my pace towards doing the complete switch, it’s a good time to stop and Thank you for a great blog :), and will see if someday I can get that awesome SQLDev sticker on the back of my laptop πŸ˜‰

    Keep up the good beer.

    • thanks for the thanks!

      >>they’re more related to the way I was used to do things
      I spend a LOT of time talking to folks about WHY they do things today. Are they based on what a tool supports, or what makes for the best scenario for your task at hand.

Write A Comment