Yup, I said FREE!
Oracle just released the latest and greatest version of SQL Developer Data Modeler (SDDM) and it is free to the world to not only download but to use in your production environment to develop all your models.
As many of you know, I have been using this tool for several years now and have mentioned it many times on various LinkedIn forums (just search for me and check out my activity). I have used SDDM for both Oracle and SQL Server. For forward engineering and reverse engineering. For conceptual, logical, and physical data models.
I think it is a great tool (even if it was not free).
I loved Oracle Designer and got quite good at that, but once shops stopped buying and using Designer (and Oracle pretty much sun-setted the tool), I suffered for a few years using other tools.
I was a very happy camper when Oracle came out with this new data modeling tool. I am even happier now with the new features they have added.
The one I like the most, so far, is the visual editor they added for defining views. The previous version had a decent declarative approach that allowed you to specify tables, columns, and joins, but you could not really “see” the implied data model.
The newest version of SDDM (version 3.1) has added in a visual editor that shows you a diagram of the tables, columns, and joins. So now when you open (or define) a view and press the “query” property button you get drag and drop interface to build the view and a nice visual diagram.
And the best part is when you upgrade your existing models from previous versions, the old views automatically get diagrammed.
To get the best out of the new version you need to run a one time utility labeled “Parse Older Style Views”. You can find that off the right mouse menu in any diagram with views. It runs very fast and basically reads the SQL for your views then parses it out to show up properly in the diagram.
One nice new feature with the parsed views is that if the underlying tables in the view are part of the same design file (hopefully you did not drop those), then the view object on your diagram will now list those tables below all the columns. This is nice because now I do not have to open the view definition to see which tables the view is pulling from.
The other great new feature is the “Test Query” button on the view property dialog.
No more writing views that do not work. You press the button, specify a database connection to use, then the base query for the view fires.
If there is an error in your syntax, or a table you don’t have access to, you find out immediately.
So gone are the days of writing the view in your modeling tools, loging into SQL Plus or SQL Developer, testing the view, having it fail, then going back to SDDM to fix it.
Now you can do agile view development! In one tool!
Oh, and if the view works, there is a data tab so you can see the actual data the view will produce – live. Right in the data modeling tool.
Nice job guys.
Convinced yet? Head over to the Oracle site and download your own copy and give it try.
UPDATE 2015: Data Modeler is now up to version 4.1 and going strong. Plus now there is an Oracle Press book available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-Developer-Modeler-Database-Mastery-ebook/dp/B00VMMR9EA/
And I even have a tips and tricks Kindle book out on SDDM. You can find that here.
Let me know what you think in the blog comments.
Talk to you all later.
P.S. For all the new features in SDDM 4.1 check out the full list over here.
P.P.S Need training on SDDM? Check out my post about my new workshop.