By Stuart Vessels

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could edit an Oracle database table directly within a spreadsheet-like grid, the way you can in Access and Microsoft SQL’s Enterprise Manager? As many Oracle users are painfully aware, the database package does not offer an app that allows you to display the results of a query within an editable grid. The closest tool Oracle offers is its SQL Plus utility, which is basically a command prompt for executing SQL statements. The results are not in a grid, and they’re not editable.

Fortunately, there’s a useful and easily accessible third-party shareware application that provides a grid-like interface for viewing and editing Oracle tables. The product, shown in Figure A, is PL/SQL Developer. It’s produced by Dutch software company Allround Automations.


Note

PL/SQL Developer will run on Windows 95 and Windows NT 4 or later. To connect to an Oracle database, PL/SQL Developer requires any 32-bit SQL*Net or Net8 version.


Figure A
PL/SQL Developer is a user-friendly integrated development environment (IDE) designed to help Oracle application developers create quality code.

Actually, PL/SQL Developer is much more than just an Oracle table editor. It’s an integrated development environment that has an impressive assortment of features designed to make it easier to develop, test, debug, and optimize Oracle PL/SQL-stored program units, such as packages and triggers.

But you don’t have to be a developer to appreciate PL/SQL Developer’s SQL Window. You can use this tool to display the results of any SQL statement in an editable grid, as shown in Figure B. Once you edit a field entry or add a new record, you commit the modification to the database by clicking the Commit icon. The SQL Window even allows you to select and copy records, columns, or rows. You can then use this technique to paste new records into a table, or you can paste the data into an Excel or Word file. Of course, there’s a menu command for exporting query results to a variety of popular file formats, such as Excel or Word. In addition, the program remembers the SQL statements you execute by storing them in a history buffer. Recalling previously executed SQL statements is as easy as browsing a list and clicking on the one you want.

Figure B
PL/SQL Developer’s editable grid is just one of the many features of this integrated development environment.

The SQL Window is just the tip of the iceberg. PL/SQL Developer has many more tools and features that will appeal to developers and database administrators. To see just how powerful this program can be, check out Allround Automations comprehensive features list.