26 November 2007

After the Storm - Oracle Open World and a New Podcast

I've had a week back at the office following Oracle Open World in San Francisco and had some time to reflect on all that went on. If you have been following various blogs and write ups about the event you'll have heard about the various dinners bloggers or Ace's attended, which, while they may seem frivolous, are as an important part of any conference as the sessions themselves, by providing a valuable opportunity of meeting or catching up with folk in person. (See the updates from Mark Rittman on those.) Actually these kinds of events are really good for talking to folk about the products they use, their concerns, dislikes and likes.
This year the Oracle SQL Developer team were busy at the main event on the demo grounds. We had great feedback on the new Migration Workbench extension, which has been a great help to a number of companies. I also heard very positive feedback about the new Times Ten extension, now available in preview. We spent most of the time demonstrating the new features the team are currently working on. I found that SQL*Plus users, DBAs who use the command-line and our existing database developers all liked what they saw.

We also had a number of papers and a hands-on session at the Oracle Develop event. One of our sessions was in a room too small for the crowd and had to be moved to one larger. I was very pleased to see that our hands-on event was a sell out and only wished we had time for a second or even longer session. I'll upload all the hand-on material onto OTN.

I had an opportunity to meet and talk to Tom Haunert, editor of the Oracle Magazine. The brief podcast we recorded is available from the general Oracle Podcasts site on OTN. You'll find it under the Oracle Magazine.
I'd love to hear the kinds of topics you'd be interested in hearing. (Bearing in mind this is audio only and has a max time of about 12 minutes, although most are about 8 to 10 minutes.)

My only regrets not seeing everyone I'd hoped to see and not stopping to talk for longer with some folk I saw along the way, as I dashed to a presentation or back to the demogrounds. Maybe next year.

02 November 2007

Gearing up for Oracle OpenWorld

One week to go before Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. There is a buzz in the air, with the preparation build-up, whether we are in California right now or not. One of the things they have added this year is "Oracle Connect" an on-line community for the conference, along with all the other information and events on the go. I think you can safely say, there is something for everyone! For those who don't like the formalities of some of the talks, there are 2 areas you might be interested in. The one is the "Unconference" and the other is the "No Slide Zone".

This year Larry is talking on Sunday night too. Take a look at the keynotes scheduled.

Kris and I will both be at the conference again this year, along with other developers from the team. Stop by the stand and introduce yourselves, we'd like to meet you.

25 October 2007

Oracle's Official WIKI

There is a new place for information about all things Oracle! http://wiki.oracle.com/
While it may feel like there are so many places to find information, I think that having the various formats available suit different people and different styles. The new site that you may or may not be aware of is the Oracle Wiki. It's a place where the Oracle community, internal and external, can contribute and share content. The site already has links to Oracle OpenWorld and the different that attendees can see and do. You can get lost in the wiki content about Oracle World, without going to the main site, although I do recommend you do.

Back to the Wiki. Under the navigation section, there is a Developer Tools node and you'll find SQL Developer nestling there among some of oracle's older (and not so old) tools.

Content for SQL Developer can be found through a chatty forum, or more formally on the OTN technical pages or very formally through the SQL Developer documentation which we link to from the OTN pages listed above. So the wiki allows you add small components, or larger explanations, specific FAQs or links to articles you have written. Adding to the wiki is easy, so have fun and make it your space.

24 October 2007

Browse Oracle APEX Applications Using SQL Developer

This is a quick alert that there is now a good article on the Integration of Oracle Application Express (APEX) and Oracle SQL Developer. You may already know that this feature was introduced with SQL Developer 1.2, but unless you had created an Oracle APEX connection you might not have realised the extent of the support that is available. The article provides an overview of all you can do:

"Using SQL Developer, you can perform the following functions:

  • Browse your Application Express Applications
  • Export and Import Applications
  • Drop Applications
  • Deploy Applications
  • Modify Applications
  • Export Pages
  • Tune your Queries
  • Included Application Express Reports
  • Custom Exception Reports"
Have a look. You can also find links to this article from the news section on the Oracle SQL Developer pages on OTN and it's listed with the other technical documents and white papers.

18 July 2007

Updates to Training and Online Material

The Oracle SQL Developer Tutorial has been updated to support SQL Developer 1.2 features. This tutorial is packed full of short demonstration viewlets; from installation, creating connections, through using functions, working with collections of data, PL/SQL debugging to creating reports.

The great thing about this tutorial, is that you can dip in and out of it at any point. There is a flow from installation to building reports, as the tutorial follows a scenario, but if you just want to know how to work with constraints you can go straight there.

The brief viewlets are interactive, so you can get a feel for the actions. If you just want to flick through the demonstration you can click the forward control.

If you are new to Oracle, then this tutorial is also great in that it walks you through the basics of SQL and getting to grips with DDL and DML, all the while using SQL Developer.

Other Collateral Updates

You may be aware of our homepage on OTN: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/sql_developer/
The front page has links to documents that are a result of general questions that often come up, for example, Pricing, Support & Licensing Questions. The front page also links to viewlets, white papers, magazine articles and tutorials. Each of these categories contain recently updated material. Some of you have been asking for some material on how to create extensions for SQL Developer. There is now a published article in the latest Oracle magazine on that.

So dip into the tutorial or have a browse around the SQL Developer content. If there is anything you'd like to see added, then drop me a line and we'll see what we can do.


29 June 2007

Multiple Table Quick Export in SQL Developer 1.2

There are a number of ways to export DDL scripts in SQL Developer. Two approaches have been in the product since its inception. The first approach is to select the SQL tab when you invoke the definition tabs for any object in SQL Developer. The second approach is to invoke the Export DDL dialog, using the Tools menu. This dialog allows you to select and filter different object types. You can also filter the data exported, should you choose.

New to SQL Developer 1.2 is a multi-select quick export DDL option:
  • Expand any object node in the Navigator, e.g. Tables
  • [ctrl] select the objects you want to export
  • Right-click to invoke the context menu
  • Select the option of choice:
    - Save to File
    - Save to Clipboard
    - Save to Worksheet
The syntax format of the DDL created is driven by the parameters set in the Preferences dialog. (Database -> ObjectViewer Parameters)

28 June 2007

Magnification and General Font Size in SQL Developer

As a speaker at conferences, it is important that customers can see what I am demonstrating, no matter the size of the room, or how far back they sit. When I was working in the JDeveloper team, I used to change the font settings in JDeveloper so that the text would be clearly visible. For some time now, I have been using a Magnifying Glass instead of changing the font. Mostly becuase of the loss of real estate when making all the fonts much bigger. The magnifier I like is one I got from Source Forge - http://magnifier.sourceforge.net/

Using a magnifier is great for what I need, when speaking and doing demos, because I can show the audience just what I want them to see. It's no good if you need the font on your IDE to be a little bigger while you are working. Also real estate is typically less of problem when working at home or in the office, as most of us are not limited to the small screen of a laptop.

Changing the font size in SQL Developer is an enhancement that a few have asked for. In JDeveloper we just changed the setting in the ide.properties file. As we don't have the property in our ide.properties file, it didn't seem to be something we could control. While working on something quite different today, I came across the ide.properties file in SQL Developer again, and while the font property is not there, it occurred to me that by adding it, it might override the default. It does!

Increasing the Font Size in SQL Developer
  • Locate the ide.properties file in your installation in the following folder:
    {your SQL Developer install directory}\sqldeveloper\sqldeveloper\system\oracle.sqldeveloper.
    - you'll see I am using SQL Developer 1.2
  • Add the line Ide.FontSize=14 or what ever size suits you. The default for the IDE is 11
  • Restart SQL Developer
The Code Editors are not affected by this. To update those, you need to change the settings once you have restarted SQL Developer. Select the menu Tools -> Preferences... Expand the Code Editor node and select Fonts to update those. This property affects the SQL Worksheet, along with the Execute script (F5 ) output, and the PL/SQL Editors. My initial review seems to show reasonable dialogs throughout, with the exception of some of the new Migration Workbench dialogs.

Have fun!

13 June 2007

Conferences: ODTUG Kaleidoscope and Oracle Develop...

Someone reminded me, yesterday, that I fly to the States this weekend. It's been a while since I've been at a conference, and I hadn't really forgotten, it just that it's suddenly there! Maybe that's happened to you. You know there are a few events on and you've been meaning to sort things out to go to one, but suddenly it's June and you've done nothing about it yet. There is still time. There is an event in the States and a few in Europe.

Next week is Daytona, Florida. It's the ODTUG big annual event and I have been going for years, through various guises, a good many of them as Designer PM and then as the PM for MDA, more specifically database modeling and all things database in JDeveloper and now as PM for SQL Developer. There is a common thread there if you know the tools.

So I have a couple of papers at the event , but also love to hear what others, from around the world, are doing too. and of course catch up. Often at these events, it's an opportunity of putting a face to a name from a forum or new group. If you live in the area, or haven't finally decided, take a look at what's on. http://odtugkaleidoscope.com/
I know that this year the conference is attracting lots of great speakers, and they have pulled in a bigger crowd - that just means more networking. Perhaps I'll see you there.

When I get back, Oracle Develop is on in London. (Next week Develop is on Prague and Munich) This is a two day event, with hands on, parallel streams and words and news about current and new products. Unlike ODTUG, which is a users group with lots of talks from users, Oracle Develop is an Oracle event, where we bring you news about what current in the company. Take a look here: http://www.oracle.com/technology/events/develop2007/index.html

This is the place to come and learn and ask Oracle questions. The event has already been a great success in Asia.

Try to get to one of these, specially if they're just down the road from you.


12 June 2007

More details from other team members..

I said I'd add in the detail about the Export DDL and just how it's done, and I will... I do just want to point out that Kris and Donal have written up more specific details about the 2 main aspects of SQL Developer 1.2. So, if you've not already seen them:

Kris and the APEX updates: SQL Developer 1.2 will support the upcoming Oracle APEX release.

Donal and the New Migration Workbench: Donal walks through the top new features and what you can expect from the new integrated Migration Workbench.


11 June 2007

Oracle SQL Developer 1.2 is Production

You may have forgotten me as it's been sometime since I last updated this site. The reasons are multiple and not important here, but I do want to tell you that Oracle SQL Developer 1.2 has landed!

What, you might ask, is SQL Developer 1.2 and how is it different from 1.1.2 or 1.1.3 for that matter? In our world of numbers, each point in the release number is a point of significance! So 1.1.2 and 1.1.3 are patch releases to the 1.1 production release. This means that 1.2 is more than a patch release and indeed it is. SQL Developer 1.2 is the first release that we're shipping with the new, rewritten Migration Workbench. So, as a feature of SQL Developer, you'll find details about it on the SQL Developer homepages on OTN.

The Migration Workbench team work on a number of migration related products and utilities and so they have a separate Migration Technology Center on OTN. There you'll see the work they have done on migrating Microsoft Access applications to Oracle APEX - but that's another story. The Migration Technology Center links to a section focused on the new Migration Workbench. The documents include Getting Started, a data sheet and a bunch of viewlets, in bite size chunks, covering all aspects of Migrating from MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Access to Oracle.

While we're talking updates, the SQL Developer pages themselves have had a bit of a revamp, with a number of new or updated articles. Take a look.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the new export options available...

19 April 2007

How to Add Tabs to SQL Developer

Kris has blogged about this, so you may have solved all your extra tab requirements already, but I have seen a few request for features that will make your lives easier, and that you can add into SQL Developer today, without waiting for us. So if you haven't worked out how to do this yet, then take a read.

Suppose you want to add a new tab to your tables definitions that shows all the column comments, or more partitioned information, or sub-partitined information. Today if you need this information, you might use SQL*Plus or the SQL Developer SQL Worksheet and you'd query the Dictionary Tables. You might might say something like:

So let's put this code into an XML file:
Open a blank page in something like Notepad or Wordpad and add the following:

<item type="editor" node="TableNode" vertical="true">
<title><![CDATA[Column Comments]]></title>
where owner = :OBJECT_OWNER and table_name = :OBJECT_NAME]
Did you notice that same piece of SQL in the middle of the XML tags? Yup, that's our Column Comments SQL. Save this file to a sensible location. I have an Extensions folder, but you might want to add this to a folder under your Documents and Settings. Now open Oracle SQL Developer and navigate to Tools -> Preferences. Expand the Database Node and select User Defined Extensions.
Select Add Row and use the drop-list under type to add a new EDITOR type. For the location, browse to your saved file location and select the file.

Shut down SQL Developer and when you restart it, navigate to a connection, expand your tables node and select a table. The new tab appears after your SQL tab and if your table has comments, you'll see them.

So that's easy, now you can do more: Let's look at the sub-partition request I had.

What do I need to know about Sub Partitions? You might want to start by describing the table to see the kinds of detail you are interested in. You'll see that if you describe
all_table_subpartitions that it has table_owner, not just owner, like the previous query. I was interested in these columns:



where table_owner = :OBJECT_OWNER and table_name = :OBJECT_NAME;

I'd suggest you try that in the SQL Worksheet first and then once again add that code into a new empty file.
The XML file would look something like this:
<item type="editor" node="TableNode" vertical="true">
<title><![CDATA[My Sub Partitions]]></title>
where table_owner = :OBJECT_OWNER and table_name = :OBJECT_NAME
Once you have saved that file, add a new User Defined Extensions of Type EDITOR as you did before.
You'll need to restart SQL Developer to register the new extension. When you restart you should see the tabs as follows:

Let us know how that goes, what extensions you have added and let's add them to the SQL Developer Exchange!

05 April 2007

Conferences or not...

Looking at the next few months, it looks like April, May, June is conference season, and that's just the spring conference season. I remember when conference season was Feb, June and November, now it seems that conference season is pretty much all the time.

The first one you might be aware of is Collaborate. This is in Las Vegas, starting on the 15th April. It looks like there's a lot on, so if you're in the area, take a look at the agenda and get on down. Not one I can make, so report back if you get to go!

The next one was to be held here in Europe. The EOUC was to be held in Amsterdam in early May, but we have been told and have now seen the announcements that this event has been cancelled.

This means that you really have to look out for Oracle Develop! You may remember events similar to these in the past, when Oracle organized 2-day events in lots of cities around the world. These events are focused on developers and should give you the technical detail you are looking for in your subject area.
There will be hands on sessions and an opportunity to meet members from the development organization, depending on which city you go to. I'll be doing 2 SQL Developer papers in London, in June. See the agenda, get registered! See you there.

13 March 2007

Shay's Blog on being a Good Forum Member

Shay Shmeltzer, a PM for JDeveloper, wrote a great blog for OTN forum users. Please read it.

Everyone of his points are pertinent and relevant, so even though I am loathe to single out a few, I will! The ones I said "YES" out loud to, are #1, 6 and 8.

If you haven't found it before, the SQL Developer Forum on OTN is quite active.


12 March 2007

Some New Bits for You: The Migration Workbench and a new Search

What Release of SQL Developer are you Using?
I am sure you are all on SQL Developer 1.1 Patch 2 ( If you are, then you might be interested in the 2 features I am going to talk about below. I do know some of you are not on patch 2 and there are still many of you still on 1.0 ( I am sure there are lots of reasons you don't upgrade to a new release. Better the devil you know...etc. Maybe you are from a big company and so new software is rolled out slowly. Maybe you just didn't hear the news. (I've been a pretty poor blogger...) Maybe you are concerned about some of the entries on the forum and so won't try the new release. Did it occur to you that you may use the product for different things? That you might find the updates just perfect for you? Performance improvements, a few new context menus, some powerful reporting capabilities?

Let's look at the releases. SQL Developer 1.0 was our initial release and many of you were excited by the release and started to use it. It does what you need, so you're happy. SQL Developer 1.1 brought a whole bunch of new features and a whole rewrite of underlying technology. When a rewrite happens, inevitably a few features may not make it back into the product. We had to weigh up delaying the release or getting it out to you quickly. We decided that the number of new features outweighed the few that were missing. In the same way as we did for 1.0, we quickly followed with 2 patch releases, filling in the gaps with the bugs that slipped the net. I know this is frustrating for you and there are a few of the inevitable rants about testing and quality. We agree, but the overwhelming feedback has been better in each release and we feel the latest patch release of SQL Developer brings you more functionality, performance and stability than the others. Try it, download from here!

Migration Workbench - Early Adopter Release
Just last week we added something new. It might not be something you all need, but we know that many of you do have multiple databases and they're not all Oracle. We have seen your interest in the ability to connect to and browse third party databases. Well, the team that brought you the Oracle Migration Workbench, have rewritten the Workbench as an extension to SQL Developer. This extension is designed to give you a seamless experience; moving from browsing a third party database to migrating the database schema definitions and schema data to an Oracle database schema. Once you have completed the migration you can continue to work with and query your data, using SQL Developer.

The Workbench Extension is currently a preview or early adopter release and so is only available through Check For Updates, using SQL Developer 1.1. patch 2 ( So that's one really important reason to move up to Patch 2. We will release SQL Developer Migration Workbench as a complete SQL Developer install for production. For more information about the new extension see this page.

A Snippet of Information - Searching Database Objects.

In SQL Developer 1.1, you might have notice the new DB Search Object. Have you tried it? You'll find it in a minimized window on the right, near your Snippets window. (That is until you start rearranging your windows.)

It's neat in that you can do a search for a database object and it'll search across schemas. In my example below I did a wild card search for occurrences of EMP%. It produced a healthy list.
Once an object is found, the same context menus, you'll find for your objects in the navigator, are available to you in the search window.

So this week's task for you is to update your SQL Developer release and have a play. My tasks for this week are to update each of my blogs daily! (Aside from being slack here, I have outstanding photo and Delhi entries to update!) Let's see how we do.


12 February 2007

A Conference I am Not Attending

The months roll by! I should have told you about the release of SQL Developer 1.1 and then didn't and now Patch 1 is out. If you're still on SQL Developer 1.0, then do download the Patch release. It's a full install, and well worth the update. I'll start writing again and telling you more about what we're doing and about the product.

I should be packing today to be flying out to Denver for the RMOUG Training Days this week. This was the first conference I attended as a fledgling PM many years ago and so it's really strange not to be attending it this week. Denver is the kind of city where you'll be walking in warm sunshine one day and playing in the snow on the sidewalks the next. With RMOUG in February, that has certainly happened to us.

I really like the RMOUG event. I think it's a serious conference with folk attending who are serious about learning and sharing what they know. I always think it's a "no fluff, just stuff" event.
I have also always been struck at how few Oracle folk go, compared to other events, and I like the low key approach. (As a product manager, perhaps I shouldn't admit that!)
This year 2 of my team will be there, so there's an added regret not to be able to make it. Mike Hichwa, VP of the Database Tools Group, and Kris Rice, architect for SQL Developer, will both be doing quite a bit of work there. Mike and Kris are both doing a bit of training on Tuesday in the pre-event training session and then Mike kicks off with the keynote on Wednesday morning.
Kris is doing 2 SQL Developer talks on Wednesday, so if you have any questions, he's the man to catch.
If you are still prevaricating about whether to go, I'm sure there is still time to change your mind and dash along. Great city, great event, a worthwhile gathering.

How's this for a list of big names, taken straight from the RMOUG presentations page...

Adams | Aldridge | Arseneau | Ault | Baker | Baxter | Beresniewicz | Blake | Briggs | Brooks | Brown B | Brown T | Burleson D | Burleson J | Carlson | Caviness | Closson | Cunningham | Dacko | de Visser | Deshpande | Dijcks | Dorsey | Engel |Fink | Fons | Freeman | Fuston | Garmany | Haastrup |
Hailey | Haisley | Hall | Hay | Hichwa | Hotka | Ioan | Jackson | Jenne | Jeunnette | Karam| Katsaris | King | Koletzke | Koopmann | Kurtz | Kutrovsky | Leal | Lemme | Likarish | Looney | Marx | Millsap | Mishek | Moore | Moskovitz | Munsinger | Nanda | Ostrowski | Pal | Peters | Phillips | Presser | Pystynen | Reading | Rice | Richards | Scheerer | Schrag | Senegacnik | Still | Sutton | Sweeney |Swing | Than | Thater | Tierstein | Turner-Underwood | Vaidyanatha | Vallath | Weaver | Wille | Wimsatt | Wood |

Other things...
As for me, I'll just have to think about all the different people I have met, and friends I have made over the years at RMOUG and hope they have a very fine time.

I am packing later this week. It's not work related, so my suitcase will not hold my "Oracle uniform". I'm heading East, with a small team, to Delhi. We're going to do a little work in one of the Delhi slums, called Zakhira. So I will be blogging again, but for a while, it might be here, on the delhiminimission instead.