21 December 2011

DBClarity Developer Beta 2 is Now Out

What a funny old world this is, the more things change, the more they stay the same..., more of that thought another day.  What I can tell you is that Tristan's webinar introducing DBClarity Developer is now available to listen to and watch. This is just over 30 minutes and should show you where DBClarity Developer fits into the scheme of things - specially if you're still thinking it's another SQL Developer or TOAD tool.  Go on try it.
For a tool new to this market, it's interesting to see which companies are looking at DBClarity Developer and why they are - the story is the same - They have loads of developers, building ad hoc reporting queries and they want them to be efficient.  (that's both the developers writing the queries and the queries themselves!)  Now we know we can't all be SQL gurus, so if we can use a tool to produce more efficient SQL Queries then why not? So if you have 100s of developers writing ad hoc SQL reports, have a look at DBClarity Developer.  Today is as good as day as any as we have just released DBClarity Developer Beta 2!

I've spent the last few days recording more demo videos and will publish a few of those in the next few weeks.

13 December 2011

First Webinar on DBClarity Developer - Learn More!

Conference season may be over and you may all be into the swing of the end of year activities, but things are still happening here. DBClarity Developer Beta 1 has been out for just under 2 months and we're about to release a second beta.  Before we do that, we thought we'd show you more about the product and give you the opportunity of seeing what it does and to ask questions.  Register for the live Microgen DBClarity Developer Webinar to be run on Thursday 15th December, and because this is a webinar, it's "at a city near you"; just join in, watch, listen, learn, and ask questions.

DBClarity Developer is a standalone product that provides a graphical interface for creating SQL queries, procedures and functions. The beauty of the graphical interface is that you can create the code graphically and let the product build the SQL, once done, you can revisit the diagram.  It's great for maintenance because you don't need to trawl through lines of code, in an attempt to figure out what it's designed to do, and it's great for collaborative work, because the visual aspect helps when you're explaining how the code works. DBClarity Developer generates SQL code for Oracle, Teradata and SQL Server and works alongside your other development tools.

Why not join the webinar, take a look and see what it's all about? Register here:  Microgen DBClarity Developer Webinar.

04 November 2011

Working on a few more demos: EDFs and the SQL Editor

I tried adding a new entry to my blog a few times since my last entry. My plan is to highlight a few key areas in DBClarity Developer so that you can learn a little more about what the product does. I have a list of around 10 topics, which morphs and expands as my ideas change. Having shown you how to “Get Started” in my first video, the next step is to write about the SQL Editor, as described in the presentation, Tutorial 1 - Introducing the SQL Editor , which is on the DBClarity website. There’s the rub..., for those of you who know me and my back ground, I can almost hear you say, “SQL Developer does this and more” or even “TOAD has a richer editor than this”, and so what am I up to? Well, that’s the point, this is a different product.

I have created a new video, Microgen DBClarity Developer: SQL Editor, which instead of focusing on the SQL Editor, shows you where it fits in, and then goes on to show you how you can start creating the visual queries, what we call SQL Rules. Take a look.

In the next video I’ll take a look at how to deploy your project.

26 October 2011

So What's Different Then? Are you a PL/SQL Developer?

Microgen's tools are new to me, and having worked with Oracle for so many years, I need to see where they fit in and why they may be of interest to you. I'm going to do another video to show you more "How To..." bits, but I thought the screenshot on our website might go a long way to helping you understand. The graphic on the left hand side is what you build, the code on the right hand side is what the product produces. I think it's really neat.  The main idea is that business end of the procedure can be discussed with a business user.

Take a look at Tristan's blog entry today, where he talks about just that "Why Microgen DBClarity Developer?" He's the product manager and has worked with customers and the products for some years.

There is a Free Download of DBClarity Developer (Beta), if you'd like to try it out.

24 October 2011

Microgen DBClarity Developer: Getting Started

"Microgen DBClarity Developer enables the graphical definition and implementation of SQL queries and procedures” http://www.microgen.com/dbclarity/

What does that mean? Sometimes it’s difficult to get passed the marketing as you try to develop a real understanding of what a product can do for you. In the case of DBClarity Developer, what do I mean by a “graphical design” when it comes to writing SQL code? Lots of database-related products allow you to create SQL queries using a drag-and-drop approach, so what’s new here? Well, before I get into all that, you should take a look at the product.

It’s always been a bit of a challenge for me to tell the story of a product in 5 minutes! I tend to be overenthusiastic while I attempt to show users every available feature. That may be fine if you’ve used the product in question before, as this approach can help to fill in the gaps, but if you’re new to a product, it’s overwhelming at best. With this in mind, I’ve created a short video (Posted on YouTube) to walk you through the first few minutes of working with DBClarity Developer.
The video is specifically a “Getting Started” demonstration and is designed to help you get up and running, once you have downloaded and installed the product. You can see the various examples we have provided with the product, there is a brief product tour and I show you how to create a database connection and review the SQL queries we have provided. I also show you how to build the tables and set up the demo environment associated with the tutorials. Once you have watched the video, you can start creating your own queries or watch the video on how to create your first query, which you can find on the DBClarity Developer website. http://www.microgen.com/dbclarity/

19 October 2011

Updates, News and Beta Software

Those of you who follow my blog, know that I write from time to time. I started blogging back in the day when I was working on modeling and the SQL support offered in Oracle JDeveloper and then in 2006, started this blog with the launch of Oracle SQL Developer and then later to SQL Developer Data Modeler. Recently my blogging dropped right off because, after 19 years at Oracle, I decided to “hang up my boots” and try something new. Although taking photos in Cornwall really appeals, it seems that when we decide to start fresh, perhaps we don’t venture too far from where we’ve been before- well, it is true for me.

After a restful, technology–free 2 month break, I started in a new position at Microgen, a company based in the City of London. (I can see St Paul’s Cathedral from the window!) I’m in the Microgen Aptitude Solutions Division; so still in technology, still working with products that build applications and still talking to databases. My new laptop has SQL Developer on it and I can connect to an Oracle Database!

Microgen DBClarity Developer is Beta

I’ll talk a little about the tools and technology I’m now involved with, in the weeks and months to come; today I want to tell you about a beta program we’re running for Microgen DBClarity Developer. This new product is focussed on people who want to query the database, by writing SQL queries and procedures, but who are not necessarily familiar with SQL syntax. The idea is that through the graphical interface IT and Business users can work together on gathering data. There is an overview on the website: http://www.microgen.com/dbclarity/

Consider writing a SELECT statement for a correlated query; if you’re a DBA, SQL or PL/SQL developer you can do this faster than I type these sentences, but if you’re with someone who knows what information they want from the tables they have access to, more complex SQL Queries may be daunting to them. If you can represent your queries graphically to them, then the whole discussion may become much easier. This tool is not a SQL Developer replacement, so why not download it, take a look and see what you think? I’d love to hear your feedback. I’ll be back soon with tips on how to get started and how to build a few basic queries. The software is shipped with a set of tutorial examples, so you can see what I mean quite quickly. Here’s how:

1. Download the software from here: http://www.microgen.com/dbclarity/

2. Expand “My Projects” and double-click to select the DBClarity Tutorial of your choice. (This opens a new tab set with the project selected.)

3. The tutorial projects are seeded with a number of defined objects. (I prefer to use the Dictionary View. You can switch to this by selecting the view choice icon just above the project. Once you have switched views, you’ll see a list that includes SQL Rules, SQL Expressions etc.)

4. Whether you switch views or not, expand the SQL Rules, select and double-click to open the rule. This displays a visual representation of your SQL Query.

5. To see the SQL Query, select the Show SQL icon.

For more help and information, take a look at the set of tutorial slides related to the examples on the website.

SQL Developer Data Modeler 3.1

As for my history…I see that SQL Developer Data Modeler 3.1 is now beta. Have fun with that!

25 June 2011

Expert PL/SQL Practices - Unit Testing

I wrote SQL Developer 2.1 while the product was under development.  As with all features in products, there is no guarantee that a feature will make a release until production, so it can be a nerve wracking process, writing, while things change as you write.  The UI is often the most fluid and so screen shots and menus need to be done as close to the release of the product as possible.  If you write a book after production you don't have the same problem, you just have to face the fact that in the IT world that if you do that, chances are that as your book is published, another, later release of the product is also published! It's a game of catchup. Regrettably, one of the features that I think is a killer feature in SQL Developer did not make it into that book.  Unit Testing was still under development as I was writing the book and the time required between writing and production of the book and the product was too great a gap.

All is not lost!

I was recently invited to write a single chapter for "Expert PL/SQL Practices".  A collaboration is great, because you only need to focus on one chapter, it's also harder to do, because styles vary and each author may have a different audience in mind.  So who ultimately buys the book is up for grabs. My chapter in the book is very much in the same style of my SQL Developer 2.1 book, (because that's how I write) and covers PL/SQL Unit Testing.  The book is available from Apress or Amazon and should be on the shelves soon.

31 May 2011

New Events, Travel and Updates

The product managers for the Oracle Database Development Tools have been involved in a number of events in the last few months and I have been on the road with them.  We cover different types of events; the larger Oracle events, our own training days and Oracle user groups. The audience differs at the events, but generally we try to tell attendees as much about our products that we can. Here's how the recent trip break down for me.

The first of the event types that we cover are the OTN Developer Days.  These are a single full day event and include an afternoon of hands on tutorials. My last blog entry was about the Developer Day we had in Dallas.  The team have done a few of these; Dallas was followed by one on Toronto and one in Chicago.  Our next Developer Day is in Warsaw Poland, June 15th. (Oracle Technology Network Developer Day) and offer 4 tracks for the hands on: Oracle APEX, Database (SQL Developer, Data Modeler, XML DB and TimesTen), .Net and Java. 

Another important Oracle event we support is Oracle OpenWorld, which last year had a develop-centric component called Oracle Develop.  We have just taken Oracle Develop to Moscow and Hyderbad.  The great thing about these events is that you get the hands on sessions and most popular talks from Oracle Develop in San Francisco.  So if you can't attend OpenWorld in October this year, then watch out for the spill-over events near you.

The user group events we support vary from product manager to product manager, as typically we are invited to talk at these.   I am UK based, so doing a few trips in Europe is a good option for me and this year I was able to attend the Norway Oracle User Group and Orcan, the user group in Sweden.  My last trip was to Cleveland Ohio!  I really like these users groups because the audience is either using the products we talk about or are looking for the features we have to offer.  This means the talk is useful for the attendees and worthwhile for me!

I've just added the ODTUG KScope 11 logo to my blog, as that's the next big user group I'm off to.  This is a great event to attend, there is lots of new news and useful information and lots of useful technical talks, presented by people using the products they talk about. If you can get across to the West Coast in June, that that's an event worth attending.

04 March 2011

Dallas: OTN Developer Days and New Features

Last week I was sitting cross legged on the floor with the children in a slum in Delhi teaching them English and learning a little Hindi, next week I'll be in Dallas, helping folk start up the latest Oracle Virtual Machine packed with new tutorials and software.  The only link between the two might be the fading henna tattoo, which the girls in the slum did on my arm! Maybe more, the children in the slums were enthusiastic and excited to learn and often at these Developer Days we find that too. Too often we don't get the opportunity of sitting down for a day and learning a whole lot of new stuff and an OTN Developer Day is a perfect opportunity for that. 

Take a look at the details, how to register and where it's being held in Dallas.  Kris and I will be there from the SQL Dev and Data Modeler teams, so come and see the new features and learn more!

11 February 2011

Data Modeler: Working with Different Database Sites

SQL Developer Data Modeler supports the option to create different implementations (physical DDL scripts) based on the same relational model (tables, columns and constraints).  The Data Modeler itself can be visualized as a model!  Your complete design can be made up of logical (ERD) models, relational, physical models and indeed datatype and process models. If we just think of the logical, relational and physical, then one logical model can be transformed or forward engineered into one or more relational models.  (i.e your entities can be transformed to tables) and then each of those relational models can have many physical models.

So you may, for example, do a generic logical model for an airline application, but transform it to a number of slightly different relational models (applying different transformation rules or perhaps different glossaries.  Now once you have that relational model set, you can have a number of different physical models. Often we have a test, development and production environment and want to have slightly different physical settings for these. We can do that in the physical model.

So let's assume you have the relational model all set.  Add new database sites using the Tools > RDBMS Site Administration as shown above. This invokes the RDBMS Site editor. Here you can add as many new sites as you need. They can be reused, so there is no need to be too specific, you only need to add new sites if you want more than one, say Oracle Database 11g, physical model in a design. In the next image we show that three additional sites have been added for the Oracle 11g Database.(click on any of the images to see them in full size)

Now return to the relational model and create the new physical models. To do this, expand the Relational model and select the Physical Model node.  Right-click for the context menu and select New. This allows you to choose the database site you wish to associate with the model. You can do this for each of you test, development and production sites.  In the image shown above right, there are 4 different physical models.

Once you have made the physical property updates for each physical database, you can start the DDL generation.  Ensure you select the correct Physical model from the database sites in the DDL File Editor dialog before you start the generation.

Cloning Sites
Now each of these sites will have all the relational detail from the diagram, so the tables, columns, constraints will all be the same. You've created the different sites, so that you can have different tablespaces and possibly user definitions, but chances are you'll want your sequences and PL/SQL code to be the same.  You can do this by adding that content to one of the physical models and then cloning the others from this. Select the new physical model and right-click, select Clone From.  You can now select the model you want to clone.

31 January 2011

SQL Developer Data Modeler 3.0 is Production

I'm please to say that SQL Developer Data Modeler 3.0 is now production.  The latest release is now available for download from OTN. There are various demonstrations available for you to get to know the new features and remind yourselves of other features.

See the main SQL Developer Data Modeler page on OTN for download links, new feature pages and demonstrations.

See the Oracle Press Release for more.

19 January 2011

SQL Developer 3.0 Early Adopter Now Available

On Tuesday 19th January, the SQL Developer team released a third early adopter for general use. This SQL Developer 3.0 EA3 now includes the full Data Modeler 3.0, which is also running in an early adopter cycle. The significance of this is that you can open and edit data models from within SQL Developer.  If you are not a modeler, then this extension should not be in your way, but if you like to move between the Data Modeler and SQL Developer and prefer to work with one tool, you can.

The best way to start, once you have started SQL Developer is File > Data Modeler. If you are familiar with the Data Modeler, then you'll recognize all the menu options there.  Create a new model based on a DDL file or a schema in the database, then select > Import >...
The browser menu is available under View > Data Modeler > Browser and if you want to change any preference settings, just select Tools > Preferences > Data Modeler!

If you have any feedback on the integrated offering, then post a message on the forums: SQL Developer Forum or the Data Modeler Forum.

12 January 2011

New SQL Developer 3.0 Webinar

I see that Lewis Cunningham is doing a free webinar on SQL Developer 3.0 for ODTUG in January.  Here is his post on the news http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/oracle-guide/sql-developer-30-new-features-webinar-43499 There is a link to register and a bit on how he uses SQL Developer in his day-to-day tasks.

Here http://www.odtug.com/apex/f?p=500:235:0::::P235_NEWS_ID:3061 is a list of free ODTUG webinars posted for 2011.

05 January 2011

Check for Updates in SQL Developer

SQL Developer is an extensible product - that means that you can write extensions (Java or XML) and include them in the product.  We have teams at Oracle, not part of the SQL Developer development team, doing just that.  The Oracle TimesTen, Data Miner and Rdb teams are all examples of this.  The first Oracle team to write a significant extension, was the Migrations team  - the only difference is that they subsequently became part of the SQL Developer development team and so work on other features in addition to the Migrations work - but I digress...
There are teams outside Oracle who are also writing extensions for SQL Developer.  You can see a list of them here - SQL Developer Third Party Extensions. Listed on the site they're pretty harmless; you can look at the list of extensions, review the individual websites and decide to download and include the extension or not. Extensions can also be added using Check for Updates. If your company allows you to download software from OTN and other sites, then this is an easy way to get new updates and extensions. SQL Developer is no longer using this Check for Updates facility to update the core functionality.  We only use it to advertise when there is a new release available and if we have a full new extension for download.  We also use the Check for Updates utility to help you download and install the correct drivers to connect to some third-party databases. In the end the Check for Updates utility is most useful for our customers and partners who are developing extensions.

Yesterday I added a number of new extensions to the Check for Updates Utility and updated a few of the existing extensions. 

How to Install Extensions
Start up your current release of SQL Developer and select the menu Help > Check for Updates.... Navigate to Step 2 to search through the various update centers available. You may be prompted for Proxy details if you have a firewall, once that is confirmed you'll be presented with the screen below. If you have a local file, which you have downloaded or even created, then you can select "Install from Local File" and complete the install. For Oracle, SQL Developer or customer created extensions, select the "Search Update Centers.
The choices are as follows:
  • Oracle SQL Developer: All version control extensions and  any announcements about the latest SQL Developer release.
  • Oracle Extensions: All extensions created by Oracle teams external to the SQL Developer team. This excludes extensions we automatically ship with the product, like the TimesTen extension.
  • Third party extensions:  This lists all extensions not developed by Oracle and includes some third-party database drivers.
All extensions are listed alphabetically and each has a description and version details. Select each extension you want to install and click Next.  Most extensions have license agreements associated with them. Read and accept each license.  Once you have agreed to all licenses, the extensions will be downloaded and installed. All extensions will be installed in the \sqldeveloper\sqldeveloper\extensions directory, where you installed SQL Developer.

Oracle does not test these extensions and you should be aware of what you are downloading and installing. You should also be aware that some extensions are free and some have a free trial period. Most if the extension developers are active on the  SQL Developer forum. on OTN so if you have queries about the extensions, ask them on the forum.