Installing and starting SQL Developer
SQL Developer does not use an installer. All you need to do is unzip the given file
into an empty folder, locate, and run the executable.
Do not unzip SQL Developer into an $Oracle_Home folder
or an existing SQL Developer install.
Unzipping the file creates an sqldeveloper folder, which includes a selection of
sub-folders and files, including the sqldeveloper.exe executable.
If your download does not include the JDK, then you’ll be prompted for the full
path of the java.exe. Browse to the location of the file and select it. The path should
include the full path and executable (for example, C:\Program Files\Java\
Working with different platforms
Whether you are accessing SQL Developer as part of the Oracle Database 11g
installation or as a stand-alone install, there is a selection of executables available
to you. These are either platform specific or provide additional detail while running
The first executable you’ll find is in the root folder \sqldeveloper. This is the
executable more generally used. If you navigate down to \sqldeveloper\bin, there
are two additional executables, sqldeveloper.exe and sqldeveloperW.exe. The
latter is the same as the executable in the root folder. Use either of these for running
The additional executable is often used for debugging purposes. Use
\sqldeveloper\bin\sqldeveloper.exe to invoke SQL Developer and a separate
console window which displays additional Java messages. You can use these
messages when encountering errors in the product and if you want to log an issue
with Oracle Support.
Oracle SQL Developer
Three steps to getting started on Microsoft Windows:
Download: Download the full file, with JDK, from the Oracle
Technology Network web site.
Unzip: Unzip the file to an empty directory.
Double-click: Double-click on the \sqldeveloper\
Microsoft Windows is the predominant platform used by SQL Developer users.
There is a steadily growing audience for Linux and Max OS X. As neither of these
platform downloads include the JDK, you need to first access, download, and install
the JDK. On starting either Linux or the Mac OS, you’ll be prompted for the full path
of the JDK as described.
Mac OS X
Download the file specific to Mac OS X and double-click to unzip the file. This
creates an icon for SQL Developer on your desktop. Double-click to run the
Use the Linux rpm command to install SQL Developer. For example, your command
might look like this:
rpm -Uhv sqldeveloper-126.96.36.199-1.noarch.rpm
In the same way that unzip creates an sqldeveloper folder, with sub-folders and
files, the rpm command creates an sqldeveloper folder, complete with files and
sub-folders. Switch to this new folder and run the sqldeveloper.sh executable.
Migrating settings from a previous release
On the initial startup of any release of SQL Developer, you may be asked one or two
questions. The first is the location of the Java executable of the JDK as discussed.
If you have installed the full release with the JDK, this question is skipped. The
second question is if you want to migrate any preferences from a previous release.
Regardless of whether this is the first SQL Developer install on the machine or not,
the first time you invoke SQL Developer, you are offered the choice of migrating
your settings. You can migrate settings of any release from SQL Developer 1.5 and
above. By default, the utility looks for the latest previous installation of the software.
If you want to migrate from a different installation, select the Show All Installations
button (seen above). This displays a list of all SQL Developer installations that have
the system folder in the Documents and Settings system folder (for example,
C:\Documents and Settings\<your_user>\Application Data\SQL Developer\
system188.8.131.52.40) and includes releases from SQL Developer 1.5 and above. For
releases prior to SQL Developer 1.5, the system folder was created within the SQL
Developer install (for example, D:\SQLDeveloper\Builds\1.2.1\184.108.40.20613\
Maintaining your environment
Once you have SQL Developer installed, it is helpful to know about the
environmental settings and some of the files that are created when you start the
product. Knowing about the version you have installed is important if only to
be able to identify this when asking questions on the forum, or when contacting
Verifying the current release
To verify the SQL Developer release you have, select the Help | About menu once
you start SQL Developer or JDeveloper. In the dialog invoked, select the Extensions
tab and find the Oracle SQL Developer extension, as shown in the next screenshot.
This will match the build number on the download site if you have the latest release.
The screenshot shows a number of the extensions that make up SQL Developer. If
your dialog does not show the Version or Status columns, you can select the column
headers to resize the visible columns and bring the others into focus.
Using Check for Updates
SQL Developer offers a built-in patching and extensions utility, known as Check
for Updates. Check for Updates is used to release:
- SQL Developer extensions
- General Oracle extensions
- Minor patches
- Third-party tools required by SQL Developer, such as the non-Oracle database drivers
- Third-party extensions
You can control whether Check for Updates warns you about new updates using the
Tools | Preferences menu. Select Extensions and then select Automatically Check
for Updates. For SQL Developer extensions, if you already have SQL Developer
installed and you’re not secured by a firewall, you’ll be alerted about new updates.
You need not use the utility to get the updates, but you’ll be aware of the latest
release from the alert. For all other extensions, you need to start Check for Updates
to see what’s available. To do this, select Help | Check for Updates. In either
situation, just follow the dialog to find the updates you require.
You can initially elect to see just the third-party updates, or all updates available,
by selecting all options, as shown in the following screenshot:
The database drivers for some of the non-Oracle databases are located in Third Party
SQL Developer Extensions. The Third Party update center also includes a selection
of customer developed SQL Developer extensions. The customer extensions are
developed, supported, and updated by the customer involved, and are not tested,
certified, or supported by Oracle.
As with all software downloads from the Internet, you are required to read and
accept the license agreements. The Check for Updates utility directs you to the
appropriate licenses, before downloading the software. If the updates are from
Oracle, you will need to provide your Oracle Technology Network sign-on details.
Check for Updates is only used to apply patches to your install. Starting with
SQL Developer 1.5.1, the team released patches which are applied to upgrade the
product in place. These patches fixed one or two bugs and did not constitute a new
download, or even a full install. For all other releases, you need to do a full install
as described earlier.
Managing the system folder and other files
SQL Developer maintains a series of files as you work with the product. These
files are created and stored in the \Documents and Settings\<your_user>\
Application Data\SQL Developer folder. On Linux, these files are all stored
in a folder ~/.sqldeveloper/.
Deleting this folder is equivalent to returning a SQL Developer installation to its
factory settings. The files at this highest level are:
- CodeTemplate.xml—created as you add your own user defined code templates
- UserReports.xml—created as you add your own user defined reports
- SqlHistory.xml—created as you execute SQL and PL/SQL commands in the SQL Worksheet
- UserSnippets.xml—created as you add your own snippets
These files are used by each of the SQL Developer installations you have. For
example, you may elect to have the latest installation in addition to a number of
earlier releases. Having several different releases of SQL Developer on one machine
is acceptable, as the installations have no impact on each other, except that they do
share these files.
Once you have started SQL Developer, a folder with sub-folders and files is
created in the \Documents and Settings\<your_user>\Application Data\
SQL Developer folder. The top-level folder is labeled systemx.x.x.x.x (for
example system220.127.116.11.40). The systemx.x.x.x.x folder contains all of the
other preferences and the settings that pertain to the specific release in use. In this
case, deleting the system folder is almost equivalent to resetting SQL Developer
to its factory settings, except that any user defined reports, SQL history, and code
templates are not lost.
Preferences are set for your local environment and are therefore not shared
globally between teams. However, you can export the SQL Formatter preferences
set. This allows you to share the settings between team members and ensure that
you all code to the same settings. To export your SQL Formatter settings, select
Tools | Preferences and expand the Database node in the tree. Select SQL
Formatter, you can now export or import previous saved settings.