29 March 2010

Extensions, extensions extensions...and finally the XSDs.

SQL Developer is developed on an extensible framework. This provides great flexibility for you, the end user, and for teams in Oracle. For example, the Oracle JDeveloper team have built an extension to JDeveloper that provides integrated support for file based version control. With not too many changes, we are able to consume this extension. So when you start SQL Developer, you can open the Versioning Navigator by using View > Team. We only ship the extension for Subversion, but if you want to use CVS, Perforce or Serena Dimensions, then you can use the Help > Check for Updates menu. These additional extensions are listed under the SQL Developer section in the Check for Updates utility.

Extensions are not just Oracle extensions. Last week I updated the Extension Exchange page on OTN to reflect the new customer developed extensions available to SQL Developer users. As ever these extensions cover a broad range of functionality. Instead of itemizing them here, I suggest you visit the page and see if there is something that suits you. Note, not all of these are free. Some offer a 30-day trial license at which point the software ceases to work.
Instead of downloading and following the installation direction, some of these extensions can also be installed by using the SQL Developer Check for Updates utility. You'll still be walked through any licensing agreements, so be sure to read them. The licensing and pricing agreements are in these licenses. You'll find these extensions listed in the Third Party SQL Developer Extensions section in the Check For Updates utility.

There are also Oracle teams who are also building extensions, some working directly with the SQL Developer team, like TimesTen and others working independently, like the Oracle Rdb and Data Mining. In the case of the Oracle TimesTen extension, the extension is automatically shipped and installed when you install SQL Developer; you are only exposed to it if you have the Oracle TimesTen client installed. The Oracle Rdb and Data Mining extensions are both available for download from their sites on OTN. You can reach these through links on the SQL Developer Extension Exchange page. The Oracle Rdb extension is also available under the Oracle Extensions section in the Check for Updates utility.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the Migrations extension while I am here. This extension was built and integrated with SQL Developer some time ago, and so regular users will be familiar with the menu option. Like TimesTen, if you don't have the associated prerequisite files, the extension is not exposed to you and so is not intrusive. In this case, you need to have the required third-party database driver to see the extra third-party database tabs in the connections dialog. Some of these drivers are available through the Check For Updates utility under Third Party.

If you are inspired to write your own extensions then the Oracle Wiki is the place to start. There are examples for both the Java or the XML developer. We have now added the XSDs for the most commonly used areas. The availability of the XSDs is a much requested update to this site, so take a look.

Please post any questions you have on the SQL Developer forum and not as a comment here. There is a broad audience who want to learn about these and so it's better for everyone if the discussion is held there.

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