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Oracle Upgrades Free SQL Developer Tool

Oracle recently issued the first upgrade to its free SQL Developer tool, a step it hopes will win further adherents to its easiest-to-use tool. Last March, Oracle supplemented its command line tools with the new offering to introduce a more graphical environment for developing Oracle applications.

SQL Developer can now import and export data from spreadsheets and other sources, saving tedious re-entry of data.

It can browse the tables and data of non-Oracle databases, primarily SQL Server and the open source MySQL at this time. It can inspect a record in a database with "a pivot view" that shows all the elements of the record. Oracle will add an ability to browse its Times Ten in-memory database next, says Michael Hichwa, VP of software development.

The visual environment of SQL Developer has been enhanced with an object browser to show the properties of objects that a developer may be working with. The ability to see the data sets, network connections, and procedural properties of objects helps developers quickly find and work with the ones they want. SQL Developer filtering has been refined to make it easier to discriminate among those objects that may closely resemble each other, Hichwa says.

The tool allows developers to produce either SQL or Oracle's PL/SQL procedures inside or outside the Oracle database system. Developers told Oracle they wanted to be able to produce stored procedures outside the database so they could make use of their version control systems, a way to track the progress of code through several iterations, he says. Previously, SQL Developer assumed developers would want to produce code inside the database system.

Oracle has also created the SQL Developer Exchange, a site where developers can request enhancements to the tool, rate planned feature additions, and share code with other members of the community. The site will also serve as a way to dispense news and blogs about the tool. It is available at

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