APEX 5.1 – Package Application – Quick SQL

You might have seen some demos of Live SQL from Oracle, however you might not know that there is a packaged application in APEX 5.1 called Quick SQL with very similar (if not identical) functionality that you can use locally.

Firstly – why the name difference between Live SQL and Quick SQL? Answer – I have no idea, perhaps to seperate the two applications in terms of one is a packaged application (Quick SQL) whilst the other (Live SQL) is a hosted application (by Oracle) that can be used by anyone with a web-browser regardless of if they have a local APEX installation or not. Also, since Live SQL is hosted publically and Quick SQL is shipped with APEX, it’s possible that Live SQL contains some newer features / bug fixes etc that may or may not be included in an updated packaged application in the future when APEX itself is patched (or 5.2 comes out).

For the rest of this post I’m going to refer to Quick SQL, however as far as I’m aware most of the functionality can equally be used on the public Live SQL site.

So what is Quick SQL? Well if you’ve spent any time with Oracle (or indeed any other RDBMS), you’ll have lost count of the number of times you’ve hand-typed DDL statements like –

create table foo (
  id number not null, 
  data varchar2(20) not null, 
  constraint foo_pk primary key (id) enable 
);

If you’ve used Oracle for a while, you might have some pre-defined templates you use to make this task less manual, however it is still a pretty manual task (unless you obviously use something like SQL Developer Data Modeller).

What Quick SQL does is allow you to write out SQL is shorthand notation and it transforms that shorthand into the full syntax.

So, let’s install the Quick SQL Packaged Application

The list of packaged applications can be quite long, so I just filtered for ‘sql’

Follow the wizard steps and you should have it installed in under a minute, once you run the application and login using your workspace credentials it will ask you a couple of questions about Access Control (I just went with the defaults).

After hitting “Complete Setup”, you get to the main application, which at first glance might look a bit underwhelming.

That’s it, just two panes, one pane you can type into, whilst the other pain is for output. So let’s go ahead and type this into the left hand pane –

foo
  id
  data

type it exactly like that, as soon as you hit return at the end (or press the ‘Generate’ button) you should see the right hand pane become populated with output.

in my case, the output was

-- create tables
create table FOO (
    ID                             NUMBER GENERATED BY DEFAULT ON NULL AS IDENTITY  
                                   constraint FOO_ID_PK primary key,
    DATA                           VARCHAR2(4000)
)
;

-- load data
 
-- Generated by Quick SQL Tuesday June 06, 2017  10:06:13
 
/*
foo
  id
  data

# settings = {  }
*/

You’ll notice a few things here –

• The ID column definition has some Oracle 12c syntax (the GENERATED BY DEFAULT ON NULL AS IDENTITY piece)

• It includes a comment on the input that was used to generate this output

• The DATA column was defined as a VARCHAR2(4000) by default

Let’s say instead of a VARCHAR2(4000) column, the data column should be a VARCHAR2(20) and also NOT NULL, just type this into the left hand pane –

foo
  id
  data vc20 /nn

which should give the following output (I’ve omitted the comments section for brevity)

create table FOO (
    ID                             NUMBER GENERATED BY DEFAULT ON NULL AS IDENTITY  
                                   constraint FOO_ID_PK primary key,
    DATA                           VARCHAR2(20) not null
)
;

so the VC20 was interpretted as VARCHAR2(20) and the /nn is shorthand for “NOT NULL”, we can also use any length datatype, e.g. VC5, VC10 etc.

Ok, so that’s not the worlds most impressive demo for saving time, but lets look at another use-case. Let’s say a typical Master Detail scenario, try typing this into the left hand pane –

dept
  deptno /nn
  dname /nn
  emp
    empno /nn
    deptno /nn
view emps_vw dept emp

this should produce the text

-- create tables
create table DEPT (
    ID                             NUMBER GENERATED BY DEFAULT ON NULL AS IDENTITY  
                                   constraint DEPT_ID_PK primary key,
    DEPTNO                         VARCHAR2(4000) not null,
    DNAME                          VARCHAR2(255) not null
)
;

create table EMP (
    ID                             NUMBER GENERATED BY DEFAULT ON NULL AS IDENTITY  
                                   constraint EMP_ID_PK primary key,
    DEPT_ID                        NUMBER
                                   constraint EMP_DEPT_ID_FK
                                   references DEPT on delete cascade,
    EMPNO                          VARCHAR2(4000) not null,
    DEPTNO                         VARCHAR2(4000) not null
)
;

 

-- indexes
create index EMP_i1 on EMP (DEPT_ID);

-- create views
create or replace view EMPS_VW as 
select 
    DEPT.ID                                            DEPT_ID,
    DEPT.DEPTNO                                        DEPT_DEPTNO,
    DEPT.DNAME                                         DNAME,
    EMP.ID                                             EMP_ID,
    EMP.EMPNO                                          EMPNO,
    EMP.DEPTNO                                         EMP_DEPTNO
from 
    DEPT,
    EMP
where
    EMP.DEPT_ID(+) = DEPT.ID
/

-- load data
 
-- Generated by Quick SQL Tuesday June 06, 2017  10:15:57
 
/*
dept
  deptno /nn
  dname /nn
  emp
    empno /nn
    deptno /nn
view emps_vw dept emp

# settings = {  }
*/

notice here that simply by indentation, Quick SQL has figured out it needs to generate a foreign key relationship between the two tables.

I have also created a view joining the two tables, in only 7 lines of Quick SQL markup I’ve output close to 40 lines of DDL, saving myself a huge amount of typing.

There are a huge number of Table level directives you can use, for example –

  • /api     Generate PL/SQL package API to query, insert, update, and delete data within a table.
  • /audit     Adds Oracle auditing, by default audit all on table name.
  • /auditcols, /audit cols, /audit columns     Automatically adds an updated, updated_by, inserted, and inserted_by columns and the trigger logic to populate.
  • /compress, /compressed     Table will be created compressed.
  • /history     Generate code to log changes into a history table for this specific table.
  • /insert NN     Generate NN SQL INSERT statement(s) with random data.
  • /select     Generate SQL SELECT statement.
  • /rest     Generate REST enablement of the table using Oracle REST Data Services (ORDS).
  • /uncomment, /uncommented     If Yes will cause generated SELECT or INSERT SQL statements to not be commented. Reference /insert and /select.

and also column level directives –

  •  /idx, /index, /indexed     Will create a non unique index on the associated column.
  • /unique     Creates a unique constraint.
  • /check     Creates a check constraint with with comma or white space delimited values e.g. /cc Y N
  • /constant     When generating random data for a table set this column to a constant value, quotes will be added if needed.
  • /values     Comma separated list of values to use when generating random data. For example /values 1, 2, 3, 4 or /values Yes, No.
  • /upper     Forces column values to upper case.• /lower     Forces column values to lower case.
  • /nn, /not null     Adds a not null constraint on the column.
  • /between     Adds a between check constraint on the column.
  • /hidden, /invisible     Hidden columns are not displayed using select * from table.
  • /references, /reference, /fk     Foreign key references e.g. /references table_name. You can also reference tables that are not part of your model.
  • /pk     Identifies single column as table primary key. It is recommended not manually specify primary keys and let this app create them for you.

So you can a huge amount of control over the output DDL.

However, remember earlier when I said the DDL used some 12c syntax – what if you’re still on 11g? Well you can control that via the settings, either by including –

#db: 11g

in your markup in the left pane, or use the settings button to change it. It’s worth also looking in the Syntax and Examples section as it contains (funnily enough) lots of syntax and examples that you can learn from.

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