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Snapping Oracle's Database Interface

The thing about working with a database is that it can never be easy enough to query, manipulate and create object data from rows and columns in the database.

Oracle  has improved the creation and debugging of SQL  and PL/SQL  code in release 1.1 of SQL Developer, its graphical user interface (GUI) tool for programming databases.

Version 1.1 boasts a redesigned object browser that features new filtering capabilities, better SQL*Plus compatibility for SQL Worksheet and improved Data Grid features.

SQL Developer 1.1 includes a tool to build master and detail reports, incorporate charts, manage snippets and set custom user preferences. It also now allows developers to import and export data from a variety of formats, including Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program.

Moreover, 1.1 lets users browse third-party databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server and IBM's DB2 Universal Database.

Sue Harper, senior product manager for Oracle, said SQL Developer was created last year after Oracle identified a gap in its toolset that would enable its own developers to more easily move applications in and out of Oracle databases.

Rather than rely on Quest Software's Toad tool or All Around Automations' PL/SQL Developer tool to better interface with their databases, Oracle decided it would create its own tool to simplify programming on its databases.

The tool sparked interest. Harper said SQL Developer 1.0 posted about 400,000 downloads in nine months.

Oracle SQL Developer 1.1 is free for customers with an Oracle database license.

Available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows operating systems, SQL Developer works with all versions of Oracle Database 10g, and on all flavors, including Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Standard Edition One, and Express Edition. The tool is also available for Oracle9i Database Release 2.

Oracle today also announced SQL Developer Exchange, a developer site where participants can request feature enhancements and share reports or code snippets.