Remembering how to use Oracle

I’m using Oracle for the first time in about 3 years starting today.  I thought it would be like coming home because I grew up on Oracle 7.34 and then on to Oracle 8.1.7.  I know I routinely bash the usage of stored procedures and hand rolled data access strategies as a waste of manpower for all but edge cases, but there was a day and time when I banged out stored procedures and packages in PL/SQL at will and almost lived inside a SQL*Plus window.  While I’m still more comfortable writing Oracle flavored sql, I forgot some of the annoyances with Oracle:




  • The installer just flat out sucks.  It took me 3-4 tries just to get the stinking client on correctly, and the Java installer is sloooooooow


  • Downloading the freeware TOAD once a month.  I opened it up for the first time today and was immediately greeted with a message that it expires tomorrow


  • TNSNames klooge, need I say more?


  • I’ve gone back and forth on this a couple times, but I think I like autonumber better than sequences now for surrogate keys.  I like letting an ORM handle the mechanics best though.

The good:




  • The warm and fuzzy feeling.  I’ve built bigger, badder systems on Oracle, but always had more hiccups with Sql Server 2000 (that nolock crap is ridiculous).  Even if it’s completely in my imagination, I like knowing the Oracle database engine is there. 


  • Everything is capitalized.  The old guys I learned Oracle coding from kept the caps lock on almost permanently and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  I kinda think of it as the database yelling “yes sir!, fetch INVOICE_DETAIL sir!” back to me like the good obedient soldier it is.


  • Since I’ve still never managed to get the hang of ANSI join syntax, it’s kind of nice to be able to write inner & outer joins without resorting to some sort of GUI wizard

About Jeremy Miller

Jeremy is the Chief Software Architect at Dovetail Software, the coolest ISV in Austin. Jeremy began his IT career writing "Shadow IT" applications to automate his engineering documentation, then wandered into software development because it looked like more fun. Jeremy is the author of the open source StructureMap tool for Dependency Injection with .Net, StoryTeller for supercharged acceptance testing in .Net, and one of the principal developers behind FubuMVC. Jeremy's thoughts on all things software can be found at The Shade Tree Developer at http://codebetter.com/jeremymiller.
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  • rc

    If you use Oracle 9, 10 or 11 you can use the ansi join syntax, but you can use the old style too.

  • John Opincar

    If you are working with 10g, Oracle SQL Developer is a decent tool that’s free and not crippled like Toad.

    After 15 years (ANSI 92), I think everyone should have switched to the modern join synatx by now. Even you Oracle guys.

  • http://edgibbs.com Ed Gibbs

    TNS names I had almost forgotten about that with a similiar 3 year hiatus from Oracle. If you think the installer for the database is bad, just try installing Oracle Financials. My feeling with Oracle having worked with a lot of their products is I can deal with the database, but keep Forms/Reports, 10g App server, etc far away.