Oracle links database developer tool to rivals

Users can access other data management systems

Oracle on Monday is shipping an upgrade to its free database development tool, adding a number of enhancements, including the capability to access competing databases such as Microsoft Access and MySQL.

Oracle SQL Developer Release 1.1 provides a graphical front end to build database applications, eliminating the need for a third-party tool or command-line interactions to build applications or perform functions such as adding tables and objects to a database.

“It makes users that work with the database very productive very quickly,” said Sue Harper, Oracle senior principal product manager. The first version of the product, released in March 2006, was downloaded 394,000 times, she said.

A key improvement in Version 1.1 is its capability to connect to non-Oracle databases, including Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Microsoft Access. This improvement is a precursor to a feature called Migration Workbench Extension, planned for Oracle SQL Developer 2.0 later this year and intended to help migrate data off other databases and onto Oracle.

“Now we have one tool that can access both of the databases that we use here,” said SQL Developer user Dominic Delmolino, senior director of database engineering at Network Solutions. “The developers really like having just one interface.”

Network Solutions is using Oracle and MySQL and has selectively migrated some MySQL data to Oracle, Delmolino said.

A single pivot view capability in Version 1.1 allows users to more closely examine a single record, such as a grid of data in an Excel spreadsheet that is being stored in the database. A duplicate record function for the product’s grid view also is featured, providing the capability to update only specific changes rather than an entire record.

Users with Version 1.1 can create reports that feature graphs. “That’s very powerful because people can visually see the reports,” Harper said.

Also featured in SQL Developer 1.1 are new filtering capabilities in the product’s object browser. Productivity also is improved for creating and debugging SQL and PL/SQL code. Oracle SQL Developer 1.1 is available at the Oracle Technology Network. Oracle also is announcing the SQL Developer Exchange site, which lets users request feature enhancements and share code.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.