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Learning Oracle PL/SQL by Steven Feuerstein, Bill Pribyl

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6.2. Use Tools to Write Code Effectively

So far, we have assumed that you have had two basic tools with which to work: SQL*Plus and a text editor. SQL*Plus is an excellent example of a "lean and mean" engine for compiling and executing both SQL and PL/SQL. As a command-line environment, however, it leaves much to be desired. If you are already familiar with the commands and intimately familiar with the Oracle data dictionary views, you can perform seeming wizardry. For the rest of humanity, however, SQL*Plus can be a serious obstacle to high-productivity PL/SQL development.

Fortunately, during the past five years, many third-party vendors have developed software products (usually lumped under the category of interactive development environments, or IDEs) that allow you to build, test, debug, and format your code in much more effective ways. Complementing these "all-in-one" utilities are a host of more specialized programs, such as code formatters and generators. This section introduces you to a variety of these tools and capabilities.

We do not endorse or recommend any single tool; the price, features, and interface vary too wildly to make such a recommendation useful. Rather, we suggest that you try out several products to see how they match up to your needs and preferences. Table 6-2 contains an alphabetical list of the products known to the authors at the time of publication. Virtually all of these products have some version you can download via the Internet; several of ...

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