The granddaddy of Oracle frontends, Oracle’s SQL*Plus provides a command-line interpreter for both SQL and PL/SQL. That is, it accepts statements from the user, sends them off to the Oracle server, and displays the results.
Often maligned for its user interface, SQL*Plus is one of my favorite Oracle tools. I actually like the lack of fancy gizmos and menus. Ironically, when I started using Oracle (circa 1986), this product’s predecessor was boldly named UFI—User Friendly Interface. Two decades later, even the latest version of SQL*Plus is still unlikely to win any user friendliness awards, but at least it doesn’t crash very often.
Oracle has, over the years, offered different versions of SQL*Plus, including:
This is a program that runs from a shell or command prompt (an environment that is sometimes called a console).
This form of SQL*Plus is available only on Microsoft Windows. I call it a “pseudo-GUI” because it looks pretty much like the console program but with bitmapped fonts; few other features distinguish it from the console program. Beware: Oracle has been threatening to desupport this product for years, and it hasn’t really been updated since Oracle8i Database.
This program executes from a web browser connected to a middle-tier machine running Oracle’s HTTP server and iSQL*Plus server.
Starting with Oracle Database 11g, Oracle ships only the console program (sqlplus.exe).
Figure 2-1 is a screenshot of a SQL*Plus ...