Importing an Excel Spreadsheet into an Oracle database with SQLDeveloper

It was late. In a corner of the Treasury however, a light burned brightly.
Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was still working.
“Spreadsheet Phil” was trying to formulate a plan to rectify the nation’s finances in the event that the Prime Minister was won over by the ebullient Mr Johnson and decided upon a “No Deal” Brexit.
Boris Johnson was currently based at the F.O. which, Phil considered darkly, was somewhat appropriate.
If only his predecessor had had the foresight to stick a couple of billion on Liecester City to win the league at 5000 to 1, The Country’s finances would be in much better shape.
In the midst of this gloomy reflection, he was struck by a sudden inspiration. The crowded half-hour that followed resulted in – what else – a spreadsheet.
The information therein could save The Economy. “Hmmm”, thought Phil, “this stuff is far too important to leave in Excel, I really need to put it into my Oracle database. I wonder if SQLDeveloper could help”… Continue reading

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Installing SQLDeveloper and SQLCL on CentOS

As is becoming usual in the UK, the nation has been left somewhat confused in the aftermath of yet another “epoch-defining” vote.
In this case, we’ve just had a General Election campaign in which Brexit – Britain’s Exit from the EU – played a vanishingly small part. However, the result is now being interpreted as a judgement on the sort of Brexit that is demanded by the Great British Public.
It doesn’t help that, beyond prefixing the word “Brexit” with an adjective, there’s not much detail on the options that each term represents.
Up until now, we’ve had “Soft Brexit” and “Hard Brexit”, which could describe the future relationship with the EU but equally could be how you prefer your pillows.
Suddenly we’re getting Open Brexit and even Red-White-and-Blue Brexit.
It looks like the latest craze sweeping the nation is Brexit Bingo.
This involves drawing up a list of adjectives and ticking them off as they get used as a prefix for the word “Brexit”.
As an example, we could use the names of the Seven Dwarfs. After all, no-one wants a Dopey Brexit, ideally we’d like a Happy Brexit but realistically, we’re likely to end up with a Grumpy Brexit.

To take my mind off all of this wacky word-play, I’ve been playing around with CentOS again. What I’m going to cover here is how to install Oracle’s database development tools and persuade them to talk to a locally installed Express Edition database.

Specifically, I’ll be looking at :

  • Installing the appropriate Java Developer Kit (JDK)
  • Installing and configuring SQLDeveloper
  • Installing SQLCL

Sound like a Chocolate Brexit with sprinkles ? OK then… Continue reading

Turning off Code Completion in SQLDeveloper – a Grumpy Old Man Fights Back

“You’re problem is you’re BBC”, a colleague remarked recently.
On further investigation, I found this not to be some reference to the British Broadcasting Corporation but rather that I had been “Born Before Computers”. Yes, I grew up – in computing terms at least – on the Command Line.
A number of things have changed since those dim and distant days.
Recently, I had a comment from Darryl claiming that chocolate bars had also been gradually reducing in size.
Damning photographic evidence of this scandal has recently come into my possession…

A Bounty Bar from 1980 together with it's modern counterpart

There’s more. My phone keeps insisting that I can’t spell and arbitrarily replacing words when I’m writing an SMS.
“You’re just the breast” took a bit of explaining to a rather skeptical Deb.
Having finally persuaded my phone that I really don’t require it’s assistance when composing a short missive, I have now turned my attention to SQLDeveloper. Continue reading

Solved – The Mystery of SQLDeveloper and the Missing ocijdbc11

This is a follow up to my earlier post about SQLDeveloper being moody and suddenly refusing to connect to a database via TNS.
Having had a bit of a dig around, it would seem that this problem is not platform specific and affects Windows in the same way.
At this point, I’d like to say a big “thank you” to Grzegorz Wilczura, who referred me to this article by Sue Harper.
If you’re hitting this problem on Windows, then you may want to follow the instructions there to set up a TNS_ADMIN environment variable.

Remember, this problem had two primary symptoms :-

  1. Empty Network Alias list when defining a TNS connection
  2. When testing an existing TNS connection you get :
    Status: Failure – Test failed : no ocijdbc11 in java.library.path

In Sue’s article, it states that SQLDeveloper looks for a tnsnames.ora in the following places in this order :

  • $HOME/.tnsnames.ora
  • $TNS_ADMIN/tnsnames.ora
  • /etc/tnsnames.ora
  • $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin/tnsnames.ora

Only one of these places is has an absolute path. The rest all rely on environment variables being set. However, when I run SQLDeveloper from the Ubuntu desktop menu, I’m not starting a shell, so my .bashrc doesn’t get executed. Therefore, these variables are not set.
When I setup my first tns connection, I’d just installed sqldeveloper and ran it by executing the shell script ( sqldeveloper.sh) from a Terminal Window. Of course, the $ORACLE_HOME was set in this environment and SQLDeveloper could therefore see the tnsnames.ora in $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin.

All of this means that the cause of the problem is that SQLDeveloper cannot see, or can no longer see, the tnsnames.ora file.

Copying the tnsnames.ora to /etc will fix the problem. However, probably the best solution is to ensure that we’re only referencing one tnsnames.ora and don’t replicate it. That way, we only ever have to change it in one place, should the need arise.

So, the alternative I’ve chosen is to set the $ORACLE_HOME environment variable in sqldeveloper.sh – the script that gets called to start SQLDeveloper.
Start a terminal and go to the SQLDeveloper home directory ( in my case, I installed SQLDeveloper in /opt) :-

cd /opt/sqldeveloper
sudo gedit sqldeveloper.sh

Now amend the file so it looks something like this :

#!/bin/bash
ORACLE_HOME=/usr/lib/oracle/xe/app/oracle/product/10.2.0/server
export ORACLE_HOME
cd "`dirname $0`"/sqldeveloper/bin && bash sqldeveloper $*

Now re-start SQLDeveloper from the Ubuntu menu. Remember, this menu item is simply executing the shell script we’ve just changed.
If you have an existing tns connection defined then you can test doing the following :

  1. Right-click the connection and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
  2. This will bring up the New/Select Database Connection window.
  3. Enter the password in the Password field
  4. Hit the test button.

The test should now succeed.

If you haven’t got a TNS connection defined currently, you should now be able to test by setting one up, with no problem.

SQLDeveloper doesn’t like Mondays – refusing to play with TNS defined connection

OK, so I didn’t find this until today ( Wednesday). Look it’s poetic license alright ? Give me a break here !
Anyway, it seems that SQLDeveloper has decided to stop playing nicely and when trying to connect to XE on my TNS defined connection.
Continue reading

Installing SQLDeveloper 1.5.5 on Ubuntu 9.10

Continuing my adventures in this strange and (mostly) wonderful new world of Ubuntu…

Now I’ve managed to get Oracle XE to behave itself on Ubuntu, it’s time to install SQLDeveloper.

Note – if you’ve stumbled across this post whilst looking for instructions for installing the latest version of SQLDeveloper ( currently version 4), you can find instructions here.

The aim is to :-

1)Install SQLDeveloper so it’s working ( i.e. can connect to my XE database)
2)Setup a Menu item so I don’t have to mess about running a shell script to start it every time.

So, deep breath… Continue reading

Adding your own tabs in SQLDeveloper

As I said in my previous post, one of the really cool things about SQLDeveloper is that it is easy to add your own custom extensions.

Confession – I’ve knocked this together using SQLDeveloper 1.5.4 running against Oracle XE on…er…Windows Vista.

I know, after all that stuff about how great Ubuntu is. Look, I just haven’t got round to installing Oracle yet. All these annoying little things like going to work keep getting in the way. Look It’s on the list OK ?

Anyway, back to SQLDeveloper.

Take table information as an example. By default SQLDeveloper will show constraint information for a table, but it won’t display the relationship between columns in the child and parent tables of a Foreign Key relationship.

Standard SQLDeveloper Table view

Getting this information from the data dictionary can be done with the following query :-

SELECT cons.constraint_name, fkcols.column_name,
    pkcols.table_name as "Referenced Table",
    pkcols.column_name as "Referenced Column"
FROM all_constraints cons, all_cons_columns fkcols,
    all_cons_columns pkcols
WHERE cons.owner = fkcols.owner
AND cons.table_name = fkcols.table_name
AND cons.constraint_name = fkcols.constraint_name
AND cons.r_owner = pkcols.owner
AND cons.r_constraint_name = pkcols.constraint_name
AND fkcols.position = pkcols.position
AND cons.constraint_type = 'R'
AND cons.owner = :OBJECT_OWNER
AND cons.table_name = :OBJECT_NAME
ORDER BY fkcols.column_name, fkcols.position

Simple enough, but it would be nice to see this for every table without having to type in and run this query every time.
To add this query as a permanent tab in SQLDeveloper, all you need to do is create an XML file containing the text of the query.

<items>
    <item type="editor" node="TableNode" vertical="true">
    <title><![CDATA[FK Columns]]></title>
    <query>
        <sql>
            <![CDATA[SELECT cons.constraint_name, fkcols.column_name,
                    pkcols.table_name as "Referenced Table",
                    pkcols.column_name as "Referenced Column"
                    FROM all_constraints cons, all_cons_columns fkcols,
                    all_cons_columns pkcols
                    WHERE cons.owner = fkcols.owner
                    AND cons.table_name = fkcols.table_name
                    AND cons.constraint_name = fkcols.constraint_name
                    AND cons.r_owner = pkcols.owner
                    AND cons.r_constraint_name = pkcols.constraint_name
                    AND fkcols.position = pkcols.position
                    AND cons.constraint_type = 'R'
                    AND cons.owner = :OBJECT_OWNER
                    AND cons.table_name = :OBJECT_NAME
                    ORDER BY fkcols.column_name, fkcols.position]]>
        </sql>
    </query>
    </item>
</items>

The are only two bits of this file you need to change :-

<title><![CDATA[FK Columns]]></title>

FK Columns will be the name of the tab displayed in SQLDeveloper.

The other bit obviously, is the SQL statement.

On the subject of the SQL, we’re using two standard SQLDeveloper placeholders – :OBJECT_OWNER and :OBJECT_NAME.

To add this extension into SQLDeveloper

1) Go to the Tools Menu and select Preferences

You will then be presented with the Preferences Dialog

2) From the Menu tree in the left-hand pane, select Database and then User Defined Extensions – as shown below

Preferences Dialog

Preferences Dialog

3) Click on the Add Row button.

4) Click on the row under the Type column and select EDITOR from the drop-down list.

5) Click on the row under the Location column and click the Browse button that appears.

6) Navigate to the XML file you’ve created and click OK.

You should now be looking at something like this

New Tab definition

New Tab definition

7) Now shutdown and re-start SQLDeveloper.

Now if you view a table, you should see your new tab ( FK Columns in this case).

New Table Tab

New Table Tab ( FK Columns)

And that’s it.

If you need any further information, there’s a fairly good ( and rather more comprehensive) tutorial at http://www.oracle.com/technology/obe/sqldev_obe/extension/extensions.htm
Update – a big thanks to Adrian Dillon ( see comment below), for pointing out my omission in the SQL on this one, which I’ve now corrected.