31 March 2010

SQL Developer Exchange: Features Requests

Every so often there is a query about the SQL Developer Exchange. (http://sqldeveloper.oracle.com) If you don't know about it, this is the site that we send SQL Developer and Data Modeler users to, in order to log feature requests, add reports and snippets. From the beginning its main function has been as a place to log feature requests and it serves as a really useful link between what we're planning in a release and what the community are looking for in the tool. Many users don't believe we use this site or take the requests into account, if you're one of them, you're much mistaken. In fact we changed plans to add in the SQL Developer 1.5 release based on all the feature requests that had come in.

I have now updated the filter on the Feature Requests page. This filters out all features that have been requested and are now in a release. To see them all, click the red filter cross to remove this filter.

Things to note: If you have logged more than one request in the feature and it's marked as "in release xxx", it may only be one of the features listed in the request that is in the release. It's easier for voters and for us, if you specify a single feature at a time and then give as much detail about what you have in mind. That way others can understand your request and support it or indeed, assign a low score to it.

Here's the list of Status values:

Scheduled for 3.0: This is scheduled for the next release. It means it's in the bug database and is assigned to a developer for the next release. This does not mean it will definitely be in the release, but it's got a good chance.
Accepted: This feature has been read, voted on and accepted as a future request. This means it is in the bug database, but is as yet unassigned, reviewed or written up. Some accepted features may make it into the next release, but not all will. For example, while fixing bugs for the patch release 2.1.1, the developers were able to clear up quite a few of the minor features requests that were related to the features they'd been working on. (See the latest Bugs Fixed list on OTN.)
Under consideration: We've looked at it and we're still thinking about it. This is not yet in the bug database. The next time we do a feature request review we'll revisit these. To add visibility to these, please add more votes and more detail.
Awaiting Community Votes: Hmmm, you really want this feature? Let's hear from others first.
Rejected: Speaks for itself. Nope we're not doing this. See the comment posted on the feature. I sometimes reject duplicate requests, so see what the comment states. If it's a duplicate, find the other one and vote there.
BUG - Log in Metalink: Again, the explanation is in the status. Seems a bit harsh that we won't log the bug from here, but this is not the role of this forum and we don't want that to change. We ignore any bugs logged here.
Closed: This comment/request is no longer relevant. Alternatively you say something like "The product is slow" This is not helpful nor measurable. We also mark Exchange related requests with this.

The Feature Requests Reports
By default the requests are filtered to show you only those requests that are not yet features of the product. Click the red filter cross to remove this filter and you'll be able to search on all requests. When I review the requests I often find quite a few requests for features that are in the product. This may well happen more as the product grows, so before you add a feature, look to see if it's not already been accepted or indeed, may already be in the product.
Dynamic Column Ordering
The interactive reporting in Oracle APEX also allows you to sort and filter the columns based on the column content. For example if you click on the Status column, there is a drop list that allows you to select a specific status or to set the order by on the column. When reviewing the requests, I set the status to Open, and then I order by the Weight. Features with zero weighting, means lows votes and so we generally focus on the high weight requests.
Using Actions on Interactive Reports
When using the Feature Requests page, you can use the interactive report capabilities. For example, click the little green cog next to the Go button, this invokes the action menu and select, for example "Selected Columns". You can use this include or exclude columns in the report. So you can add in the Product column, if you're just looking for the Data Modeler requests. This makes it easier to filter on the product.
Add New Reports
Finally, you can add your own filters and save them. To do this use the Actions menu to add a filter and then, using the same Actions menu, select Save Report. This means that the filter will be saved for you in a new report. Each report you save, gets saved as a new tab and so you can create a number of reports.

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.

25 March 2010

Data Modeler Overview and Demo: Webcast Recording

Last week I did the first in the series of the webcast recordings I plan to do over the next few months. As product manager for both the Data Modeler and for SQL Developer, I have proposed alternating the monthly broadcasts between the two products . So I launched the series with the Data Modeler. Having trialed the webcast internally I was happy that the technology would stand up to the rigors of the international broadcast, as luck would have it, I must have done something wrong on the day and did not get the voice recorded. Technology - who'd have it? Actually - I would! After all these years, I still get a kick out of the fact that I can run a webcast, demonstrate a product and answer questions asked from locations all around the world.

Back to the Data Modeler demo and webcast - I reran the webcast this time recording the sound too. We now have a webcasts web site and the first recording is available for download. It might look a little lonely there now, because it is the first in the series, but this should grow.

This webcast introduces the SQL Developer Data Modeler and then I go into a high level demonstration and feature review.

15 March 2010

US on DayLight Saving this Week - Take Note of Webcast Times

Having been away for a few weeks, I'm now catching up on mail and work and backlog and it seems the US have changed to Daylight Saving while I was out walking...

If you're joining the Data Modeler webcast on Wednesday, please take note that the US times are as originally advertised, and the UK and Europe times are an hour earlier.

For all details on this webcast, please see the details on OTN.

05 March 2010

Oracle SQL Developer and Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler Public Webcast Series

I have done quite a bit of traveling since October last year. Every other week or so I've been at a conference, training event, user group or special interest group. When I'm back at my desk, I spend a good chunk of time doing webcasts and demos for small groups of people. In all I have noticed that there are growing SQL Developer and Data Modeler audiences, which is great. What I've also found is that lots of folk are using a lot of the features and not investigating further to see what the product has to offer. For some time now Kris and I have discussed the need for a webcast series, where we'd demo features of the product, drilling down into different areas. Both SQL Developer and the Data Modeler audiences need this, so I'll be doing a monthly webcast, alternating between the two products, to show off some of the features, and to drill down into some specific details. I'll kick this series off with an overview of the Data Modeler (this month) and a review of the SQL Developer 2.1 new features, next month. After that we'll start drilling into more of the detail.

First Public Webcast

Here are the details:

17 March 2010
09:00 PST | 12:00 EST | 17:00 UCT | 18:00 CET
  • Introducing the new webcast series
  • Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler update
  • Product Overview Demonstration
  • Q&A
One Hour

This is general public webcast, designed for anyone interested in or using Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler

The details of this event will be announced on OTN next week. For more information on Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler see Oracle Technology Network: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/datamodeler

All calls are recorded and published on Oracle Technology Network.

The next webcast is scheduled as follows:
21-Apr-10: SQL Developer: SQL Developer 2.1 New Features, Q&A

02 March 2010

SQL Developer 2.1.1 is Available for Download

We have just released the first patch release for SQL Developer 2.1. SQL Developer patch releases are full downloads and installs - see the release notes - we call them "patch releases" because they exist only to provide fixes to issues. Most of these are found and reported in the early adopter releases and did not make the production release, some were older issues and some found in the production release. A patch release is not a vehicle for introducing new functionality. As ever, not all bugs are addressed with a patch release and so you should look at the list of bugs fixed or the known issues to determined whether you need or want to make the switch.

There are new bits!
While a patch release is not for new functionality, there are quite a few little additions based on feature requests from the Exchange that have been included in the patch. I blogged about the Font setting earlier in the week, to name but one of these. Take a look at the Bugs Fixed list to see a few of the others. Alternative look at the Exchange and search on Fixed in 2.1.1 to see the new features added.

For links to the downloads, bugs fixes and known issue (listed in the release notes), see the OTN pages for SQL Developer.

In my next blog I'll tell you more about the updates on the Exchange. In the meantime, download and try out 2.1.1.

01 March 2010

Back to Basics: Changing the Font Setting in SQL Developer

An ongoing request in SQL Developer is to have the ability to update the font size in a Data Grid. In the all the releases up to and including SQL Developer 2.1, you can't change the font in the data grid, you can control the full IDE font and the font for the editors, but that's it. Well SQL Developer 2.1.1 has an update to that.

I wrote about changing fonts when we first started SQL Developer, so I'm going to recap the functionality before adding the 2.1.1 tidbit.
The thing about the fonts in SQL Developer is that they essentially controlled through the underlying framework or IDE. (now more commonly referred to as the Fusion Client Platform). So to change the font for the full product, that is the Navigators, Menus, Dialogs and so on, you need to shutdown the product update the font for the IDE, which is locates the ide.properties file in the system folder.

This system folder is created the first time you start SQL Developer and, by default, is located in the C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\SQL Developer\system2.\ folder. Once you have located your system folder, find the sub folder o.sqldeveloper. (this is the latest SQL Developer 2.1.1 patch, but you can browse the the version of the product you are working with). Edit the ide.properties file and uncomment the FontSize propert. So change
# Ide.FontSize=11 to your font size of choice, for example;


Restart SQL Developer.

Notice that this does not affect the SQL Worksheet and Data Grids. Once you are back in SQL Developer select Tools > Preferences. Expand the Code Editor node in the tree and select Font. Changing this font setting increases the size of the font for any of the code editors. In SQL Developer 2.1.1, changing this font size also affect the output of the SQL Worksheet script output and the Data Grids.

Of course, there are lots of folk who just want the Editors and Data Grids to be resized, in which case, you don't need to edit the ide.properties file.

This has been a much request feature on our Exchange, I hope the update helps those of you who have been looking for this support.