Oracle Design Tool – SQL Developer Data Modelling

On my most recent project I am again designing another data warehouse solution.

My tool of choice for data modelling has always been CA’s ERwin DataModeler http://www.ca.com/us/products/product.aspx?ID=260

This is great, but we run into problems when trying to reverse engineer an existing database as this means that either my laptop has to go onto the customers network; that’s never going to happen. or the customer has to buy a copy of ERWin to use on their desktop.
My most recent customer is a dedicated Oracle customer using Database, Data Guard, RAC, Forms, OBIEE, Answers and on and on.

The obvious choice would be Oracle Designer. I have not used this in a few years but the last time it took me two days to get it installed and configured.

A quick search pointed me to an early adopters release of SQL Developer Data Modelling, you can find it here : http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/database/sql_developer/files/releasenotes525.htm
Here are a few of my thoughts:

Pros

The tool is Java based so there is no need to install the product, indeed it can be run from a USB thumb drive.

There is no reliance on underlying repository database, all data is stored in an XML file.

Cons

In certain circumstances it can be memory hungry. When I reverse engineered an existing database the java process sat at around 500Mb.

When editing entity properties there is no quick way to jump to another entity, as you can using ERWin’s drop down list.

There is no obvious save button on toolbar (although ctrl+s works)

The display of identifying relationships is ropey, sometimes solid, sometimes dashed, sometimes a mixture !

There is no print preview, although does have print to file.

It is possible to have two users making changes to the same model at the same time.

Comments

There is no multi-user capability, models cannot be shared or checked in/out. This can be resolved somewhat by export/import of a “Data Modelling Design” on the import process it will detect changes and will apply just the changes. I have not tested this facility greatly.

Later Version

I have just seen that there is now a release 2 (build 525)

I will be using this version next week so I’ll let you know if this is improved.


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