SQL Developer Wish List

I’m starting to come around to Oracle SQL Developer. At home I only use free software so that’s obviously a big plus, but at work I’m still using PL/SQL Developer (Allround Automations) and SQL*Plus.

These are the features I like best about these products:

SQL Developer:

  • Connection management
    • Connection browser
    • Multiple simultaneous connections
    • Password persistance
    • Quick connection switching within SQL worksheet
  • Object viewer
    • Easy Query management
    • Nicer plan viewer

PL/SQL Developer:

  • Faster startup, smaller memory footprint
  • Fully configurable object browser
    • Re-order categories
    • Create/modify/delete categories
    • Colour coding
  • Data browser
    • Edit data directly in grid
    • View data, including LOBs, e.g. RTF, XML, HTML, hex, etc.
  • Window management
    • Summary tab lists all windows, indicating which are unsaved or are currently running SQL
  • Query management
    • Runs DDL and DML in a second session, easy to cancel queries
  • Smart SQL and PL/SQL Editing
    • Context-sensitive menus
    • Smarter, context-sensitive code suggestions
    • Configurable SQL beautifier
  • Session browser, configurable

I’d like to see Oracle work on some of these features before I switch over at work. I’d also like to see SQL Developer able to export LOBs when exporting tables to XML.

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  1. It’s been 6 years and we’ve hit many of these requests, but I’m curious to hear what you think of the product today?

  2. Hi Jeff! I’ve been using SQL Developer 3.0 for quite some time now for database development and problem diagnosis.

    Improvements noticed: better data browser, ability to edit data in the grid, better support for BLOBs, including viewing images directly. Lots of other little improvements and bug fixes throughout.

    Probably the main things that I miss from PL/SQL Developer, that neither SQL Developer nor TOAD support, are:
    (a) truly context-sensitive menus (e.g. right-click on the name of a table anywhere in the code editor and get table-related functions)
    (b) configurable schema browser (e.g. create additional categories apart from the basic Tables, Views, etc. – e.g. have a category that groups all the tables, views, procedures, etc. related to a particular issue – and colour-code them so they stand out in the other lists).

    However, I’ve found SQL Developer is a much more mature product now than it was 6 years ago.

    There are two things that still bug me:

    1. Slow start-up time. Seriously – why does it need to take so long to start up? If I’m in a hurry, it’s always quicker to open a putty session, log in, start sqlplus, and start typing my commands. This is where Allround’s product beats both TOAD and SQL Developer – it’s lean and mean.

    2. Poor performance when connecting to a remote database. The schema browser is where this becomes very noticeable – all it takes is accidentally clicking on the name of a table, and I’ll be waiting 30-40 seconds before I get control again, because it has to load all the table, column and constraint definitions. It’s quite ironic that loading 100 rows from a query, with however many columns, is blazingly fast, whereas loading the definitions for a 20 column table is painfully slow. It looks like it suffers from “slow-by-slow” logic here.

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