17 May 2006

Just What is SQL Developer?

I've noticed this over the years, that as people become more and more familiar with a topic or subject area, they assume the rest of the world is right there with them and rattle on in terminology and concepts that would boggle most brains. I think you can take most subjects and you'll find this to be so, it's not just an IT thing...

I remember sitting at a brown bag lunch at a user conference a few years back. The point of the gathering was that anyone with questions could come along and ask questions and other with experience in the product would help and answer. The intentions were well meaning, the idea being to grow a community of sharing experience. As I sat in the back listening, I realised the experts were so far advanced and so skilled in the subject area, that they couldn't (or didn't) answer the basic questions. They were so used to dipping into the API and their own additional code, they'd got beyond the basic product! They were so used to responding to deep technical problems, that they didn't really hear the question. The answer to "Mum, where do I come from?" might just be "Cape Town" !

I fall into the same trap too. When asked to write an article for a magazine recently, I said "What would I write about?" The response was that we need articles for entry level. I accept it's true we need to have advanced material and more technical articles both at conferences and in our journals, but we should not forget that there are so many levels in our knowledge and expertise. More often than not, when submitting a collection of abstracts to a conference, it's my introductory talks that are accepted from the selection.

I've only been involved with Oracle SQL Developer for a few months now and already I assume that everyone who uses an Oracle Database should have heard about it. But why should they? There is so much news and information coming from Oracle and other companies all the time, that we're all getting quite good at filtering spam. (Basically, just deleting messages which appear to be spam). I should also remember that even after 2 years of presenting on the Database support Oracle JDeveloper offers, I was still encountering significant percentages of folk in the audience who had no idea JDeveloper had this capability. So this kind of news takes time to filter into the general community. As with other information, it's only useful or relevant when you need it!

We've just added a brief "What is SQL Developer" article onto our site on OTN. If you've not heard of the tool, or are afraid to ask, because, like me, you might assume the rest of the world already knows, then check it out.

Of course if you know about SQL Developer, it doesn't harm to take a look and see if it does something you weren't aware of!

By the way, we released a patch to our production release, Oracle SQL Developer 1.0, so you can Check For Updates. If you are going to be using the check for updates capabilities, then do be sure you are on the production release. (See the FAQ if you're uncertain)


Mike O said...

Gee, Sue; I hope that brown bag wasn't one of our old WSG sessions (but probably was). I've started kicking around SQL Developer in what little spare time I have and I promise to not be as nearly as mean as I'de been in the past on Designer. So far, it looks like a great start: I have confidence- with you in charge- that SQL Developer will gain additional useful functionality as quickly as the resources you've got can provide.

Hope things are going well for you otherwise; hopefully, no one else has needed to be shoved in the shark tank lately ;-)

Sue said...

Hey Mike,

Nice to hear from you.I'm sure it's been awhile. As for the brown bag...not sure it was WSG, but it was one of those conferences... :-)

I'd be happy to hear any of your feedback and thoughts on SQL Developer and of course I'll be at ODTUG this year.


Anonymous said...

I've started playing with SqlD recently, for such a little package it packs a real punch! I am now trying hard to get my DBA colleagues to drop SqlNav5 in favour of this multi-platform marval!

Sue said...

Thanks for the feedback, anonymous. Good luck withthose DBA coleagues and don't forget, we have a very active forum on OTN: http://forums.oracle.com/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=260

Dimitri Gielis said...

Hi Sue,

I know SQL Developer and find it great! I promote it when I'm at a customer (and yes, sometimes they never heard about it). SQL Developer also became "the standard tool" in my team.

Maybe some suggestions (or maybe I just don't know it?) to really kill you know who ;-)
- create a plugin alĂ  "CodeXpert" –(A stored procedure advisor to both analyze PL/SQL and advise users on how to optimize code, only in Toad Professional)
- Find something to kill McAfee virusscanner - it's a pain (performance drop) when it begins to scan the java of SQL D.

See you at ODTUG,

John Hurley said...

I think one of the things that doesn't help people in the oracle world is how often products are renamed.

Raptor was announced last year at Open World right? ( Or shortly before ). If the name was good enough to be announced at that time why didn't it stick?

Similar situation with HTML DB which now has a different name.

Help us out oracle and when you come up with a name let it stick!

Or maybe another way of saying it is why don't the marketing people get on the same page with the development people before you roll out ( and then change ) product names.

Just an idea!

Sue said...


Of course, you are right. We do get beaten up a little about our names and the renaming that happens. HTML DB was a fine name, until we found that people were saying things like "oh that's the HTML interface to the database" and the product is so much more than that. Also products grow and evolve, based on requirements from the users. HTMLDB is a tool that helps users build applications, often extensive applications, quickly and easily. So yes, it is an HTML interface to the database and it also helps you build applications easily. "Application Express" then is a more fitting name.
As for Raptor, we all love the name. As with many development shops, we typically start with project names and when projects become products, we move to the official branding. You're right, perhaps we should have changed the project name before we announced it, but having a project name is fun and exciting for all involved, customers and developers. I suspect this practice will not change.


Eddie May said...

Hi Sue,
I'm a contractor at a local authority in the UK, & introduced Raptor (as was) to one of the SQL developers. He loved it, said it did the 80/20 thing perfectly & could save the authority licence fees re:TOAD. Most developers don't need the full TOAD toolset - they just want to write/test sql scripts, etc..

Recently he asked me if I'd heard of SQL Developer, said it was even better then Raptor & that we should use that instead!

On a related, more cynical note, many suspect that the marketing dept is in control at Oracle HQ & that what appears to be the constant rebranding of products is just a way of selling us something we already have. We're currently invesitgating the E-Biz Suite + Fusion: A lot of the components appear to exist as is in earlier product catalogues & the non-tech audience (who actually buy the stuff) are confused and suspicious.

Hmm, feels better for getting that off my chest!


Eddie May.

Daniel Fink said...


Would you care to comment about the support process for SQL Developer?

Now...the reason I'm asking... (no, it is not to find out when you will have a command line version).

The first reason is that SQL Developer is being given away, so it is reasonable that some users will not be covered under a valid support contract and thus will not have access to Metalink (which is another issue all together), the usual path to research issues, log tars, I mean service requests, follow up with an analyst, etc.

I just found a minor issue in creating a new user that I would like to report. So I go onto Technet and finally locate the SQL Developer forum (why is it not under Development Tools?) and read the "Before you post an issue" message. I follow the instructions like a good little DBA (okay...so I'm really neither good nor little...but I am a DBA) and put in all the information. Now, the nice thing is that this is much easier than creating an iTAR, oops, there I go again...I mean an online service request. However, I'm not certain about how the tracking, analyst communication, etc. will be using this kind of forum.

There are some huge positives to this type of approach, with issues being very visible, fellow users being able to trade knowledge, etc. On the whole I think that these outweigh the negatives of issue tracking and analyst communication.

And I'd love to hear your $0.02 (not sure what this is in Pounds these days).


Verification word - jglnaghw (jiggle nag hardware?)

Sue said...

Hey Dan,

Good points/questions/comments. I took the liberty of answering your comment in a new post to the blog spot.