Quest Software recently released version 9.0 of Toad for Oracle, its “industry-leading, proven database development and administration tool that increases user productivity and application code quality.” Management solutions offered by Quest include application, database, and Windows management. Under the database management family of solutions, the databases include not only Oracle, but SQL Server, IBM DB2, MySQL and Sybase.
Considering just their Oracle-related solutions, Quest offers a wide range of products. The first several products shown below are excellent add-ons to an existing version of Toad or a reason to purchase a more advanced version.
As far as add-on modules are concerned, their payoff is having a readily available built-in reference library. The Knowledge Xpert options serve as excellent references for PL/SQL and administration. Picking a not so common topic in PL/SQL as an example, what are the differences between types of collections? A few clicks are all it takes to get to the answer.
Another useful feature in the Knowledge Xpert is the error message lookup utility under View>Instant Messages. Although the symptom/cause/action write-up is for the most part the same as what Oracle provides for free in its documentation, having these knowledge references quickly available at hand is very convenient.
The editor/editing functionality has been improved and now includes a feature where code can be rolled up (code folding). Taking a look at the DBMS_RANDOM package (in the SYS schema) is illustrative of this new feature (plus line numbers and syntax highlighting). The procedure named SEED is folded or collapsed in the picture below. For viewing large blocks of code, the ability to collapse a section or two is quite convenient (and something I wish other text editors included).
Is Toad perfect? The answer is no, not by far, and the release notes statistics support this answer. Version 9.0 includes 337 bug fixes in addition to 151 enhancements (with 45 known issues). Release notes are available at http://www.quest.com/toad/relnotes/ReleaseNotes900.htm. Perusing the release notes is yet another way to get an idea of the numerous ways Toad has changed and improved.
Quest Software provides extensive support for its products; either through documentation, online help, publication of “what’s new” and release notes, whitepapers, podcasts, user communities and Flash demo’s (see http://www.quest.com/toad_for_oracle/demo.aspx as an example).
Of particular note is a page containing links to other Quest/Toad resources (http://www.quest.com/communities/sites.asp). Visit http://www.toadworld.com/ and see for yourself just how extensive the support base is.
Free trials of Toad are available as is a limited-in-functionality freeware version. If you haven’t experienced Toad to help manage a database and develop application code, you are missing out on what is for all practical purposes the de facto standard database management tool for Oracle. Version 9.0, to include other add-ons, represents a significant upgrade and improvement to an already excellent database management tool.