Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oracle SQL Developer Book Review

I have been asked to review the new Oracle SQL Developer 2.1 book by Sue Harper.  When I was asked, I had to clarify that I was not a SQL Developer user.  I'm an old school DBA that, for the most part, used scripts and SQL Plus.  Developers are always bugging me about why I don't use SQL Developer or TOAD or something like that, but I have my scripts and I like my scripts.  When I accepted the offer to review the book, it was partially so I could learn more about the tool and see if it could help me do my job better.

The book is published by PACKT Publishing in Birmingham, UK.  They sent me an electronic copy of the book to review.  If you would like a sneak peak, you can check it out at the publisher's web site here.  I actually like the electronic version.  It is much easier to carry than an almost 500 page book and makes it easy to switch between SQL Developer and the book.  The whole electronic book thing has intrigued me and I have been looking at the Kindle and Nook, but that is information for a different post.  The electronic version did come in handy as I started my review on the plane and having my laptop on the tray table took up enough space.  I would have had to ask my neighbor to hold the actual book for me if I had a hard copy.

I have started working through the book and when I say working through, I mean working through.  Having never actually used SQL Developer before, I am working through all the examples because I would like to learn as I go.  I'm sure as I get a little deeper into the book, I will be able to read/review a little faster, but right now, it is kind of fun to go through and play with things.  Sue (the author) starts off the book specifically saying that it is not a book to teach SQL, PL/SQL, or Oracle concepts.  There is actually a comment that I found was directed at me (even though she doesn't know me).  Even though I am a command line person, this book is written to get me on the road to a "GUI life".  I like that term and I'm interested in seeing what I can do that may make my day-to-day job easier or faster.

So far, the book has lived up to the introduction.  There have been a couple instances that I felt if you don't know Oracle databases, you might be a little confused, but for the most part I have been able to get started pretty quickly.  I like the object browsing and editing capabilities of the tool and the introduction to them in the book.  The connection handling is also introduced very well.  One thing I didn't have when I started was a pre-built database with the example schemas.  I was able to create an 11g database on my laptop and included the example schemas.  If you are planning on using this book, the example schemas are almost a must.  All the examples are based on the example schemas and they have been very nice to have while going through the book.

I will post further updates as I get farther into the book.  I'm not much of a PL/SQL developer, but I will do my best as I get into the development chapters.  In the meantime, I recommend checking out the sample that is linked above.