Toad for Oracle Offers New Automation Capabilities

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At COLLABORATE 10 this week, Quest Software has been showcasing a new release of Toad for Oracle that provides greater automation in Oracle development, administration, and query and reporting. Toad for Oracle 10.5 builds upon the next-generation enhancements of Toad 10, saving money for the organization and time for the end user. 

"Toad has always been about improving the productivity of developers and DBAs and other people that use Toad, but there were four key areas in which we wanted to build out support for productivity. Those were around the usability of the product, automation of tasks that you do with the product, the provision of education about the technology and the product itself within the product, and also flexibility in the way that you use the product. The 10.5 release really continues on that theme," John Pocknell, product manager, Toad for Oracle Solutions, Quest Software, tells 5 Minute Briefing.

Several of the new features in Toad for Oracle address the critical role automation plays for DBAs. Automation is an important area, especially for database administrators because they are managing lots of different databases, and they often have many tasks they do on a routine basis, explains Pocknell.

Among the top new features included in Toad for Oracle and associated suites are the enhancement of  the Predictive Editing capability, which auto-populates the most likely object names, and other variables, etc. into the code as it is written, based on context. "For people who are unfamiliar with the environment, this is huge," says Pocknell. And, for someone who is an experienced developer, the feature can be turned off completely or in part.

Another key feature of the release is the Code Road Map, which is focused primarily on developers but could be used by anyone who needs to understand complex interdependencies between PL/SQL code objects and other PL/SQL code objects and other things in the database, says Pocknell. "The Code Road Map is to PL/SQL code what the ER Diagram is to database schema objects like tables and views." Code Road Map provides a highly visual, graphical view of these code interdependencies and relationships to other objects, improving the user's understanding and minimizing the risk of errors during code maintenance.

A third key enhancement which will be available in the Toad for Oracle Xpert Edition and the Toad Suites, is a way of tuning SQL statements called Auto Optimize. Auto Optimize is a simple way of providing the capability for SQL optimization entirely within the editor. It is a side panel that appears in the Editor. The user just pushes a button and it auto optimizes a SQL statement - in other words, it rewrites a SQL statement - looking for SQL statement rewrites that run faster than the original, says Pocknell. It then presents the user with the ones that run faster and they can copy that back into the application.

"One of the things with this release is that we recognized the fact that not all people who use Toad are experienced developers or experienced at writing SQL, or experienced database administrators," says Pocknell.  "We are always conscious of that and looking for ways to provide the ability for them to improve productivity without necessarily all the knowledge an experienced person would have."

Additionally, Toad DBA Suite for Oracle and Toad DBA Suite for Oracle - RAC Edition provide Automation Designer enhancements, which automate additional DBA tasks, such as data pump import and export, comparing databases, copying table data, and generating schema and database script, and Spotlight on Oracle Integration, which includes additional contextual launch points from Toad to Spotlight to help users diagnose the root cause of performance issues.

Quest is also releasing an updated version of Toad for Oracle freeware, which is intended to ease the user's transition to the commercial version and includes added features from the previous version.  The last update to the Toad for Oracle freeware was around 2004, 2005, notes Pocknell. "We just wanted to make sure that people get a fair reflection of what the commercial product is. We updated the freeware primarily to give people better exposure to the newer features in toad and the platform support that the commercial product has. 

Toad for Oracle 10.5 is available now. Toad for Oracle freeware also will be available and downloadable at Toad World, a one-stop resource for education, expertise and collaboration. For more information about Toad for Oracle 10.5, go here.