by Paul C. Zikopoulos
The Toad product from Quest Software is a well-known database tool that helps to improve the productivity of application developers and database administrators (DBAs) working with some of the world's most popular relational databases. In September 2005, Quest Software made some serious news in the database industry by announcing an open beta of their new Toad for DB2 product. Toad was previously available for other databases such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, and has now made its features available for application developers and DBAs that work with the IBM DB2 Universal Database for Linux, UNIX, and Windows product (DB2).
Developers and DBAs have a familiar and proven tool set with Toad for DB2 that they can use to manage their database environment. If that environment has heterogeneous characteristics (such as a mix of Oracle and DB2 databases), IT personnel can leverage the common Toad interface for their entire database environment since editions of this product are available for today's most popular database engines.
In Part 1 of this series, I talked about some powerful Toad for DB2 features such as the integrated SQL Editor, the accompanying SQL Modeler, its associated database schema browser, and GUI-driven Export and Import utilities.
Here in Part 2, I will mention some of the other more notable features in Toad for DB2, and specifically talk about:
- The project management interface
- Connection Manager
- The customizable interface view
- The object filtering and search capabilities
- SQL Recall
A recap: what does Toad for DB2 do?
As I introduce you to more and more features, you will see why I said in Part 1 that this section should be called "What doesn't Toad for DB2 do?" because that would be easier to describe.
One of the best things about this product is that it is a powerful tool with minimal overhead and hardware/software requirements. In the section "What does Toad for DB2 run on?" at the end of this article, I will detail these requirements.
As a starting point (in case you came directly to Part 2 through some sort of search engine or Web crawler), a sample screen from the Toad for DB2 product is shown below:
The tabs in the middle of the figure tell you that there is a lot you can do with this product.
The Project Manager
The Toad for DB2 Project Manager provides quick and easy access to logical groups of scripts for database deployment. The Project Manager copies the programming paradigm for DBAs with an Explorer window that provides a hierarchical tree view of the projects and files in a solution. Each solution can contain multiple project items and files (including URLs).
A sample screen from the Project Manager is shown below. In the remainder of this article, I will take you through many of the features you see on this Window:
The Connection Manager
The Toad for DB2 Connection Manager allows users to point-and-click their way to database connections, define and discover new database connections, encrypt passwords in persisted connection strings, and more.
The New connection window of the Connect Manager is shown below. You can see from this window how easy it is to work with database connections from this tool:
I have added a red highlighted box to the top-right of this figure. Clicking on this button launches the DB2 Configuration Assistant, which allows users to automatically discover available DB2 databases on their network (unless their DBAs have configured these databases not to respond to these requests), store configuration and registry settings, and leverage the client Import and Export profile utilities that make client setup a snap. Toad for DB2 can also automatically connect to databases as soon as the tool is started. Quite simply, DBAs never need to leave this tool to connect to their databases.
After you have defined the databases that you want to work with, you use the Connection Manager's tree view, which lists databases that you are currently connected to, and also maintains a past history of database connections for quick and easy access:
A customizable and flexible interface
The views in Toad for DB2 are very flexible you can choose whatever view into your database you prefer. The following figures show all the available database views. (Note that each view shows essentially the same objects and information, just in a different format.)
Object filtering and search
Object filtering empowers users to create advanced include or exclude filters based on any object in the database, any object palette, and even any column displayed in a data grid. The following figure shows filtering on a table object such that only tables that start with ST* in the PAULZ schema are displayed for management. In ERP systems such as SAP and PeopleSoft, which can have tens of thousands of tables, this is a valued feature.
Using the integrated search facility, you can search all database objects for a specified phrase:
Note that you can limit your search to specific objects, use wild-card matching, make searches case-sensitive, build searches on top of other searches, search within a schema, and more so search away to your heart's content!