Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SQL Developer: add a "child tables" tab to table definition

I always like to extend SQL Developer's table definition by adding a tab that shows the "child tables" for each table - i.e. the tables that have a foreign key to the table in context.

I have lost count of how many times I have started work at a new environment or on a new PC and had to set this up from scratch, so thought I'd document it here for next time!

First, create a file containing the following XML:

  <item type="editor" node="TableNode"  vertical="true">
      <title><![CDATA[Child Tables]]></title>
             <sql><![CDATA[select cons.table_name, cons.constraint_name
                      from all_constraints cons
                      where cons.constraint_type = 'R'
                      and cons.r_constraint_name in (select pk.constraint_name
                                                    from   all_constraints pk
                                                    where owner = :OBJECT_OWNER 
                                                    and table_name = :OBJECT_NAME
                                                    and constraint_type in ('P','U'))]]>

Then, in SQL Developer go to Tools->Preferences... and open the Database node and select user Defined Extensions.

Click Add Row and on the new row set Type to EDITOR and Location to point to your XML file.

That's it.  You may just need to restart SQL Developer to make it work.

I am indebted to Sue Harper's blog for the detailed instructions on adding tabs to SQL Developer.

Another tab I like to add is one to show the errors for an invalid view definition:

 <item type="editor" node="ViewNode"  vertical="true">
     || ':'
     type  = 'VIEW'

Friday, June 14, 2013

APEX conditions and performance - part 2

This is a follow-up to my previous post APEX conditions and performance.

Roel Hartman has followed up my post by doing the due diligence and testing the performance of different APEX condition types.  His findings back up what I just asserted. (But I wasn't just guessing, my assertions were based on facts I learned long ago from someone in the APEX team via the Oracle APEX forum - so long ago that I cannot now find the conversation!)

As I said previously, for a more complex condition than "item=value" you will often have to use a PL/SQL expression condition, and that's fine.  However, it is not uncommon to see a page where there is a group of several items that all have the same complex condition.  For example, perhaps if some complex condition is true then we need to collect the user's bank details and contact details - maybe 12 items.  The same complex condition is applied (and has to be evaluated) for each of the 12 items.  In this sort of case it may be appropriate to add child regions to the form region, and apply the complex condition just once - to the child region that contains this group of conditional items.  A suitable region template (perhaps even "no template") can be applied to these new child regions so that the appearance of the page is not changed by adding them.

Example 1: original page

Region: My Form
- Item: Name
- Item: Date of Birth
- Item: Bank Account No (complex condition)
- Item: Bank Sort Code (complex condition)
- Item: Address Line 1 (complex condition)
- Item: Address Line 2 (complex condition)
- Item: Something else

Example 2: page using child regions

Region: My Form
- Subregion: Personal Details
-- Item: Name
-- Item: Date of Birth
- Subregion: Bank and Address details (complex condition)
-- Item: Bank Account No
-- Item: Bank Sort Code
-- Item: Address Line 1
-- Item: Address Line 2
- Subregion: More stuff
-- Item: Something else

Example 2 achieves the same result as Example 1 but only evaluates the complex condition once instead of many times.  As well as improving performance this also makes your page simpler: if the condition changes in the future you only have one instance to change.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

APEX conditions and performance

Having recently seen some examples of non-optimal code in APEX conditions (e.g. item rendering conditions and read-only conditions)  I thought it worth writing a few words about them.  By putting them here on my blog I can refer to them in future rather than writing them again. Also I may receive useful feedback from readers to improve or correct my advice.

For a very simple condition such as “when the value of item P1_JOB is SALESMAN” there are many condition types to choose from including:

1) Value of item/column in Expression 1 = Expression 2

Expression 1: P1_JOB
Expression 2: SALESMAN

2) PL/SQL Expression

Expression 1: :P1_JOB = ‘SALESMAN’

3) Exists (SQL query returns at least one row)


(Yes I have actually seen this one!)

4) PL/SQL Function returning Boolean

  If :P1_JOB = ‘SALESMAN’ then
    Return true;
    Return false;
  End if;

… and so on.

The correct type to use in this case is (1) because it is the only declarative method; all the others require APEX to run dynamic PL/SQL to evaluate the condition.

To evaluate (1) APEX will do something like this:

IF v(expression1) = expression2 THEN…

To evaluate (2) APEX will do something like this:

-- Parse expression1 to look for item references e.g. :P1_JOB
EXECUTE IMMEDIATE expression1 INTO l_result USING v(item_name);

IF l_result THEN …

(In fact it will have to use DBMS_SQL not EXECUTE IMMEDIATE because the number of bind values can vary.  The pseudo-code above is merely an educated guess by the way.)

(3) and (4) will involve similar code to (2).

True, the cost of executing the dynamic PL/SQL won’t be huge, but bear in mind that a page may have many items with conditions like this, and the small penalty is then incurred many times per page load, which adds up particularly on a frequently used page.

Of course, if you need a more complex condition such as “Job is manager and location = London” then you cannot use method (1), you will need to use method (2) (not (3) or (4) please!).  Always look for the simplest and most appropriate condition type for your needs.

Also, if the condition involves a function call e.g. (emp_pkg.is_eligible(:P1_EMPNO) = ‘Y’) and is used in more than one place it is probably better to execute the function call once, assign the result to a hidden page item, and then use a type (1) condition “value of P1_IS_ELIGIBLE is equal to Y”.