Developers are familiar with refactoring code, but when it comes time to optimize the database, that’s typically someone else’s job. But Oracle is hoping to liberate developers through the Jan. 31 release of version 3.0 of its Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler. The new version offers developers a quick and graphical way to inspect and redesign their databases.

Sue Harper, senior principal product manager at Oracle, said that the Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler is designed to be lightweight and easy to use. With it, developers can view the models that make up their databases, regardless of whether or not those databases are from Oracle. She said that the Data Modeler is aimed at both high-level and lower-level users alike.

“Some folk are architects, and they like to build high-level, abstract models,” she said. “They really are discussing what the business is about and what’s the specific focus of the data. You can start with a high-level model, then forward-engineer it, then generate your DDL, which you then use to create the database.”

Version 3.0 remains available in the same manner as its predecessor: Oracle database customers will be able to download the tool from the Oracle Technology Network. New to this version, however, is support for Subversion.

Harper said existing users of the Data Modeler were typically sending their models to the internal version-control servers as a method of keeping a history of database changes. In version 3.0, the Data Modeler is now aware of Subversion, and these models can be uploaded to SVN servers without having to close the application.

Also new to version 3.0 is the ability to open multiple models at once, allowing developers to compare existing models on screen at the same time. Oracle has also included a new set of reports and design rules that can be used alongside data models.

As for the rules, Harper said many users want to enforce policies on their databases. Before, developers could write their own rules to be enforced against the database by the data modeler. These rules could be anything from “Do all of my tables have columns?” to “Do all my columns have certain data types?” said Harper. While enforcing rules upon data is nothing new, the Data Modeler makes the task fast and easy for developers.

In previous versions, developers had to write their own rules, but version 3.0 adds some standard rules for use by developers.