Sylvain Faust International's SQL-Programmer provides a powerhouse SQL development environment that should make database programmers significantly more productive. I checked out SQL-Programmer with the PL/SQL Debugger option, which provides a full-featured debugger for Oracle's procedural SQL language, PL/SQL. Database administrators will like SQL-Programmer's capability to manage permissions on the objects in a database. Designers will benefit from its capability to create and edit objects with control over every parameter associated with a given object.
The primary pieces of SQL-Programmer include the SQL-Explorer, the Access Manager, the Report Interface, and the Script Interface. These pieces work with the debugger to provide a complete development environment.
Although I found the product to be intuitive, sometimes it was so flexible that I couldn't tell which way was best to accomplish a given task. The documentation should have better explanations for how to accomplish a given task, to make it easier to get up to speed on the product.
The SQL-Explorer is a good starting point for working with objects in the database. By right-clicking on a given object, a context-sensitive menu leads you to a variety of tools for manipulating or creating database objects. You can use the SQL-Explorer to copy items between databases and servers. I quickly dragged and dropped a table and its contents from one Oracle schema to another.
The Access Manager provides a different interface for accessing objects, and it lists objects by type and by database. Once you've selected an object, you can perform many actions on it by clicking a button at the bottom of the window.
The Report Interface helps generate reports about database objects, including columns in a table, when it was created, the code to generate the table, and other objects that reference the table.
The Script Interface allows you to select objects in the database and then create scripts that let you recreate the objects in another schema or database. It will create the scripts needed to create, drop, and insert data into objects, as well as other functions.
In addition, SQL-Programmer supports team programming with built-in support for source-code control environments, such as Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe, Intersolv's PVCS Version Manager, and MKS Source Integrity. If you use these tools for managing application code, you can use SQL-Programmer to manage your database development.
The PL/SQL Debugger, an optional add-on, is a full-featured debugger that lets you step through code, set breakpoints, maintain a watch list, and monitor the call stack. It's an essential tool for serious programmers, but it would be more useful if it supported Microsoft and Sybase databases as well.
If you are looking for a SQL development tool, SQL-Programmer provides a cost-effective solution with pricing that is about one-third the cost of Platinum's SQL Station.
The Bottom Line
SQL-Programmer with PL/SQL Debugger 2.VIIIWith the PL/SQL Debugger, Sylvain Faust's SQL-Programmer adds powerful debugging and design-control capabilities for Oracle PL/SQL developers.
Pros: Full-featured SQL development environment; reasonably priced.
Cons: Debugger works only with Oracle PL/SQL; vague documentation.
Platforms: Windows 95, 98, and NT.
Price: Not yet available. No known Australian distributor (see Web site for details).
Sylvain Faust International