Using the Oracle Developer Days VirtualBox Image

As many of you know @krisrice put together a great VM for the Oracle Developer Days and while the content is great for education, I find us using it more and more a default scratch database on laptops.  As usual, being 'Networkly challenged', it took me some time to figure out which network adapters did what and why.  This is as much a note for me as it is to share with you :).

First of all, you need to install VirtualBox, which is found here.  Then download one of the prebuilt VirtualBox images for the Developer Days.  You can choose (more...)

Explain Plan, Autotrace and Diff


A SQL statement can be executed in many different ways, such as full table scans, index scans, nested loops, and hash joins. The query optimizer determines the most efficient way to execute a SQL statement after considering many factors related to the objects referenced and the conditions specified in the query. This determination is an important step in the processing of any SQL statement and can greatly affect execution time.


The EXPLAIN PLAN results let you determine whether the optimizer selects a particular execution plan, such as, nested loops join. It also helps you to understand the optimizer decisions, (more...)

UKOUG 2011

I'm speaking next week at the UK Oracle User Group at the ICC in Birmingham. The topic will be one I've posted several times about which is Tuning, Refactoring and Instrumentation.   Have a look at the agenda, and if you are in town, come along.  You can click on the image to go to the conference site and check out the agenda.


login.sql, SQLPROMPT and worksheets

SQLDeveloper has had support for a login.sql for several releases now.  You can set this in the preferences at

Tools -> Prefernces -> Database

You can set your login.sql here.

Now, when SQL*Plus starts up, it looks for a global login script called glogin.sql in the $ORACLE_HOME/sqlplus/admin directory. If found, this script will be executed.
Thereafter, SQL*Plus will try to find a local login script called login.sql in the directory where you start sqlplus from, alternatively the directories listed in the SQLPATH environment variable. When found, sqlplus will execute it.  Here's my login.sql for SQL*Plus
 (more...)

Substitution Variables in SQL*Plus

Working through security issues uncovers some interesting things. Anyone who has developed scripts for building out schemas for an application will have had the issues of passing variables to subscripts or managing password visibility when creating users, building objects or granting permissions

SQLDeveloper and SQL*Plus have substitution variables to solve this problem.  Basically, there are two types of substitution variables,  & and &&.  &foo is used to refer to the variable foo.  &&foo is also used to refer to the variable foo.  The main difference between the two variables is that first time SQL*Plus comes across a variable defined with (more...)