Friday, October 31, 2008

Tentative plans for db tooling in NB.next

Hi, all. This is tentative. You know draft. But here is the list of things we're thinking of doing around database tooling for the next release of NetBeans.

Don't expect anything more than what is listed in the "P2" section. The P3 section is an unordered list of other ideas, and if we have time, we'll pick some of them off. If there are specific things that you really want, please let me know. And of course, any other feedback you have is always much appreciated.

The two main themes are: add more SQL integration with the PHP editor, and improve our overall UI experience.

We also would like to produce a plugin for a visual E/R tool (what I am calling a Visual Database Explorer to distinguish it from a full E/R tool like MySQL Workbench). We want people to test drive it for a while with this release, and then we can refine it and potentially integrate it into NB proper in the next release.

I will admit I am hesitant with the Visual DB Explorer. I know many of you have asked for this, but my concern is that once you have something out there, then you'll want more. "Why can't I create a new table right there?" "You don't fully support feature X of the Y database". "Why can't I generate SQL from the E/R diagram?".

If we're not careful, we can spend all our time refining the E/R tool when, as I've said before, that's really not taking advantage of our core strengths as a DB tool inside NetBeans.

There are numerous E/R tools out there, including MySQL Workbench, and I don't think it makes sense to spend all our time replicating that. Look at what we are doing in the PHP editor - that's something that takes advantage of the fact that the db tooling is inside an IDE. That can add real value that a standalone DB tool can't.

That said, I know how nice it is to quickly pull up a visual representation of a database schema to help understand it. So we'll do that. But please don't expect us to build Erwin for NetBeans. And to be honest, I don't think that's what most of you want anyway.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was expecting more form DB in nb.

I have switched from nb to JDeveloper because there I can model and generate SQl from model.
Workink with mysql is not very good but good enough.

While working with nb I also use SquirreL (for simple tasks) and aquastudio for designing.
So that is not true that nb is the only IDE I need, what is true for JDeveloper.

I would like to see something like mysql workbench integrated in nb.

Anyway I like nb, and I think the db tools in 6.1 are good.

Also I would like more support for hibernate.

Neil's netbeans stuff said...

Hi David,

Good to see the database side of netbeans is still hot.

I personally use Oracle a lot and the new PL/SQL plugin is great coupled with the latest 6.5 database explorer improvements there is little reason to get out of netbeans for me.

The one feature I would like to see is to be able to list objects in the explorer that the user has rights on across schema's.

Blogged about this in the past and have an enhancement request in http://www.netbeans.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=150453

David Van Couvering said...

Neil, yes, showing objects in all schemas is on our list for NB 7.

Regarding Workbench in NB - yes, that would be great. But that would mean basically putting on hold any other new features in potentially both NB and Workbench as we do the integration. I don't think that's the right choice.

But, potentially that choice could change if there is enough clamoring. Right now there is only minor clamoring.

David Van Couvering said...

Oh, regarding Hibernate support, there is a team working on Hibernate integration. Could you specify what exactly it is you are looking for that isn't there right now?

Paul Casanova. said...

Great to see that NB DB functionality will continue to be enhanced. I would ultimately like to see the functionality in NB mirror DB Visualizer or AquaData Studio so that I only need one app for everything!!

Back to reality - (if it's not currently possible - can't see it anywhere) the ability to name our DB connections would be great. I use Oracle and have several connections there - but because the URL is huge it's not possible to see which DB I'm connecting to.

David Van Couvering said...

Hey, Paul. Yes, great vision, long row to hoe. I don't think we can do a full E/R tool, but a visualizer, that's a possibility. Stay tuned.

Regarding naming connections: on our list, so hopefully we can make you happy if not ecstatic. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

As said Paul it would be great to have to use only one app, NB could be it.

I think the feauteres offered by mysql workbench are a must in a future release of NB.

About the hibernate features, the included in NB 6.5 (at least in RC2) are very good, even i like more these features than the hibernatetools plugin for eclipse, I have not tested these features with a real project but I hope these features work well.

I dislike that in NB6.1 the hibernate feauteres doesn't work for java projects(just work for web projects).

Neil's netbeans stuff said...

Hi David,

Hope your job is safe given Suns announcement.

One thing that could be improved and make database dev more productive would be the ability to sort column names in the nb database explorer.