Thursday, July 02, 2009

SQL Modeler for Mac OSX

On the first of July Oracle's SQL Developer Data Modeler got a production release. You have the choice between a full version and a Viewer only version.

I installed the full version on my Mac to see how it is like. These are the steps I followed to get it working on my MacBook Pro:

  1. Download the zip file from OTN
  2. Unzip the file in my Applications folder
  3. You'll see a folder called "datamodeler"
  4. I ran a Terminal session to call this command: sh
  5. The first time SQL Developer Data Modeler asks you to enter the full pathname of a J2SE installation. For me the path is:
  6. Next SQL Developer Data Modeler opens and you are good to go
  7. I tried to generate a relational and logical datamodel and it worked great (see below screenshot of the DG Tournament schema

As expected Oracle didn't make the tool for free. I hoped differently, but apparently Larry decided against it. The latest Oracle pricelist shows under the Tools section the price of SQL Developer Data Modeler. The first year you pay USD 3,000 + USD 660 (support and upgrade), from the second year onwards it's 660, but that gives you the right to install all updates. I definitely think the product can justify the price, but maybe not for everybody or in every project as you might not want to use all the features.

One of the most important parts for me is viewing the ERD in a graphical way. I tend to use the ERD to explain clients how we see the application. Or if we come in when the application already exist, to quickly know what is going on behind the scenes. Till now I used SQLEditor of MalcolmHardie Solutions. It allows me to connect to a database and get the ERD for a schema or certain tables. It can do a lot more like adding tables, columns etc and you can see the sql statements in different formats. Below is a screenshot of the same schema as the picture before.

Most of the time I have to rearrange the tables so it's more logic and more understandable. Personally I think Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler looks a bit better and it has more features and I had to not rearrange that much as with SQLEditor. But then I guess that explains the difference in price ;-) SQLEditor costs $79.

I still have a lot to learn of the functionalities of Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler, but what I saw at the conferences and what I could do so far, I definitely think it's worth for you to give it a try.


Louis-Guillaume said...

You should try using Power*Architect (
It's open source and available for Mac/Unix/Windows.

Bill Ennis said...

This link claims Data Modeler is free:

Dimitri Gielis said...

Over time it changed yes - SQL Developer Modeller is now free