What is SQL Developer?

Date: Mar 2010


Oracle SQL Developer is a free graphical tool for database development. With SQL Developer, you can browse database objects, run SQL statements and SQL scripts, and edit and debug PL/SQL statements. You can also run any number of provided reports, as well as create and save your own. SQL Developer enhances productivity and simplifies your database development tasks.

SQL Developer can connect to any Oracle Database version 10g and later and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.

SQL Developer supports migrating 3rd party databases to Oracle. The tight integration capabilities provide users with a single point to browse database objects and data in third party databases, and to migrate from these databases to Oracle.

Oracle SQL Developer integrates with Oracle APEX, allowing you to browse applications and perform other Application Express activities. With Oracle SQL Developer you can browse, export and import, drop or deploy applications. There are a selection of Application Express reports and you can create your own custom reports.

The latest release of Oracle SQL Developer provides PL/SQL Unit Testing, integrated Data Modeler Viewer and integrated support for versioning and the source control systems Subversion, CVS (Concurrent Versions System), Serena Dimensions and Perforce. Supporting the version control is a File Browser to browse and read files stored in the file system. You can open and edit these files from within SQL Developer. In addition, release 2.1 includes many updated features, such as SQL Formatting, Schema Compare, Copy and Export wizards and the addition of migration support for IBM DB2 and Teradata. Times Ten support is also integrated with the product. A listing of all the new SQL Developer 2.1 functionality is available.

Download Oracle SQL Developer 2.1, released in Dec 2009, from OTN.

Below is a summary of the capabilities of SQL Developer. Click on the image thumbnail to view a full-sized image.


  1. Create Connections
  2. Browse Objects
  3. Create Objects
  4. Modify Objects
  5. Query and Update Data
  6. Export Data and DDL and Import Data
  7. Schema Copy and Compare
  8. Process Commands
  9. Edit PL/SQL
  10. Run and Debug PL/SQL
  11. Run and Create Reports
  12. PL/SQL Unit Testing
  13. Data Modeler Viewer
  14. Migrate from Third Party Databases
  15. Version Files
  16. Review the Robust IDE

1. Create Connections

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  • Create and test connections
    • for multiple databases
    • for multiple schemas
  • Store often-used connections
  • Import and export connections
  • Store password or be prompted on connection
  • Import connection details from tnsnames.ora
  • Support for LDAP, Kerberos, external authentication and proxy users
  • Group connections in folders
  • Advanced option to identify URL for connecting from Java
  • Connections for TimesTen, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Sybase, Teradata and IBM DB2

SQL Developer fully support connections to Oracle 10g and above.

Users can create Database Connections for non-Oracle databases MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Sybase, Teradata and IBM DB2 for object and data browsing. Limited worksheet capabilities also available for these databases.

2. Browse Objects

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  • Tree Based Object Browser
  • Support for common objects
    • Tables, Views, Indexes
    • Packages, Procedures, Functions, Triggers
    • Types
    • Sequences
    • Materialized Views and Logs
    • Synonyms (public and private)
    • Database Links
    • Directories
    • XML Schemas
    • Queue Tables and queues
    • Java
    • Jobs
    • Recycle Bin (10g and above)
    • Other Users
  • Tabbed display of details specific to each object type

Objects are grouped together by type. For each object type, a filter can be applied to restrict the display.

3. Create Objects

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  • Create dialogs for each supported object type
  • Includes support for:
    • External Tables
    • Index Organized Tables
    • Temporary Tables
    • Partitioned Tables (Range, Hash and List)
  • Supports mixed-case and multi-byte characters

On table creation users can specify sequences and before-insert triggers for populating a column with values.

4. Modify Objects

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  • Action-specific dialogs for modification, such as
    • Table > Rename
    • Column > Add
    • View > Compile
    • Index > Rebuild
    • Procedure > Debug
    • Trigger > Disable
    • Sequence > Drop
    • Materialized View > Change Parallelism
    • Synonym > Drop
    • Database Link > Test
    • Recycle Bin > Purge

Most objects have a general edit dialog as well as specific modifications available by invoking a context menu through right-clicking.

5. Query and Update Data

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  • Browse table grid data
    • sort
    • filter
    • highlight
    • manage columns (hide and show)
    • duplicate row
    • single record view
  • Insert, update and delete data
  • Support for CLOBs and BLOBs
  • Auto-fit columns
  • Track data changes through message log
  • Visual Query Builder

Use the Query Builder to quickly create SQL queries by drag and drop, to select tables, and mouse-click to select columns.

6. Export Data and DDL, Import Data

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  • Export data to
    • XML
    • csv
    • SQL Insert
    • SQL Loader
    • text
    • HTML
    • XLS
  • Restrict columns
  • Add where clause
  • Export DDL
    • select multiple object type
    • select multiple objects
  • EXPORT DDL and Data wizard
  • Import data from
    • XLS, CVS
  • Import data and create table

Data export available from any data grid. This include Table > Data, SQL Worksheet Results and Report output.

7. Schema Copy and Compare

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  • Schema Copy
    • Copy contents of one schema to another
    • Drop, truncate or copy objects
    • Log report of results
  • Schema Compare
    • Compare and create SQL Difference statement between 2 schemas
    • Select objects to compare
    • List of differences and SQL Code to be executed
    • Run script output to SQL Worksheet to be executed against connection of choice

8. Process Commands

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  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Code Insight
  • Table alias insight
  • Single Statement Execution
  • Script Execution
  • Code Formatting
  • Command History
  • Explain Plan
  • HTP and OWA output
  • Bind Variable Support
  • Drag and Drop into your SQL
    • Snippets
    • Tables/Materialized Views (bring over full select statement)
    • Functions/Procedures (bring over full parameter list)
    • All other objects from Connections
    • SQL from Reports

Any files opened will be opened into a SQL Worksheet. The user will simply select the appropriate connection from the upper-right list and can edit, execute and save.

9. Edit PL/SQL

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  • Full Function Editor
  • Code Snippet Viewer
  • Code Formatter
  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Code Insight (auto complete)
  • Code Folding
  • Inline Error Reporting
  • Code Bookmarking
  • Customizable Quick Keys
  • Customizable Code Snippet Viewer
  • File based PL/SQL editing

Any .pks, .pkb and .pls files opened will be opened into a PL/SQL Code Editor. Uses can edit, use snippets, compile and save these files.

10. Run and Debug PL/SQL

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  • Run Procedures, Functions, and Packages
    • Function return values
    • OUT parameters
  • Run PL/SQL dialog
    • Specify run target
    • Shows parameter information
    • Generates editable PL/SQL block for populating parameters
  • Full functioning debugger
    • Control program execution(Step into, over, ...)
    • Inspect and modify variables
    • Configure breakpoint conditions

11. Run and Create Reports

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  • Suite of Reports
    • Data Dictionary
    • DBA
    • Monitoring
    • Search PL/SQL
    • Security
  • Application Express
  • Data Modeler
  • Migration
  • User Defined
    • Basic tabular
    • Master-detail
    • Charts
    • Gauges
    • HTML
    • Drill down
    • Script

Most of the provided reports include click-through. If a user clicks on a resulting row, the definition of the object in that row is displayed. The SQL for any report can also be pulled into a Worksheet, edited and then stored as your own custom report.

12. PL/SQL Unit Testing

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  • Create a test
  • Add test suite
  • Create test implementation
  • Repository based multi-user access
  • Run test reports
  • Reuseable library components

13. Data Modeler Viewer

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  • Read only Data Modeler
  • Open and browse logical and relational data models
  • Drag and drop tables to create diagrams
  • Browse domains, business information and process model data
  • Read only access for
    • domains
    • business information
    • process model data

14. Migrate from Third Party Databases

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  • Create database connections for
    • MySQL
    • Microsoft SQL Server
    • Microsoft Access
    • Sybase
    • IBM DB2
    • Teradata
  • Browse third party databases
  • Quick Migrate
  • Least Privilege Migration
  • Step-by Step Migration
    • Capture Third Party Model
    • Convert to Oracle Model
    • Generate DDL Script
    • Execute DDL
    • Migrate Data to Oracle
  • Fine grain migration
  • Complex object migration supports stored procedures, triggers and views
  • Translation Scratch Editor
  • Translation Difference Viewer

15. Version Control

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  • Integrated with SQL Developer
  • Support for CVS, Subversion, Serena Dimensions and Perforce
  • Check out files
  • Commit Working Copy
  • Compare and merge files
  • Import files
  • Version History

16. Review the Robust IDE

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  • Multiple Components
    • Connections
    • Reports
    • SQL Worksheet
    • Snippets (drag and drop into code)
  • Freeze View
  • Dockable Windows
  • Split Screen
  • Preferences
    • Auto commit with SQL Worksheet
    • Set Accelerator Keys
    • Show Line Numbers
    • Tab Size
  • Check for Updates
    • 3rd Party Drivers
    • to add CVS, Serena Dimensions and Perforce extensions
  • Extensible

SQL Developer leverages the JDeveloper IDE. This gives developers the option to write extensions.

Discuss this in the OTN Oracle SQL Developer Forum.

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