SQL*Plus and TOAD

I opened SQL*Plus and then my brain exploded.

I’ve recently changed jobs. One of the things I was most excited about in my new job was working with an Oracle database. For the past few years I’ve worked with both MySQL and Postgres in different contexts. I’ve found both of them to be excellent and capable databases and have enjoyed working with both.

However, Oracle is an enterprise class database and must have features that make it far and away superior to either MySQL or Postgres. I’m sure this is true, I’m at the very beginning of my journey of discovery into what Oracle has to offer.

That said, SQL*Plus is not one of these features.

I made my first connection to the Enterprise Data Warehouse and I start exploring the schema with SQL*Plus, then I hit the up arrow to access my command history… and nothing happened. I thought my keyboard was broken.

I sheepishly asked around the office why my command history buffer wasn’t working. Had I missed an essential configuration step. Had I incorrectly installed the client. It must clearly have been my error, because not having a command history buffer is surely impossible, it’s a standard feature of every command line interface ever.

Alas, no, I discovered it was not me that was in error. SQL*Plus has no command history. Thankfully, the organisation knows all about the shortcomings of SQL*Plus and has licences of TOAD. As I start using exploring the Data Warehouse with TOAD my disbelief at SQL*Plus begins to fade away. I recognise that there are many tools to access and manipulate the an Oracle database, but SQL*Plus was not an encouraging introduction.

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