Data Warehousing and Data Science

27 September 2011

Top 2 things I missed in SQL Server and Oracle

Filed under: Data Warehousing,Oracle,SQL Server — Vincent Rainardi @ 6:08 pm

In the last few months I used both SQL Server and Oracle every day. This is because the source system is in SQL Server and the data warehouse is in Oracle. I begin to miss little things on SQL Server that I don’t get in Oracle, and vice versa. I thought I’d write this experience down as it could be useful for others.

In this article, when I say Oracle I mean using Toad, whereas when I say SQL Server I mean using SSMS. You can use Toad with SQL Server, and you can use other UI for Oracle, but that’s for another article. Version? SQL Server: 2008, Oracle: 10g R2 (well doesn’t really matter 10 or 11 as I use Toad as UI).

Oracle: Control Enter

First is the Control Enter to run SQL at the cursor. In SQL Server you need to block the code you want to run before pressing F5. In Oracle if you press Control Enter, you don’t need to block anything. Very useful I use this every day.

Oracle: No need for “top 1000”

You don’ t need to type “top 1000” when selecting large table. It will only bring back 500 rows. Automatically. That can be useful and can be annoying. Strangely, I found it very useful.

Oracle: Column Selection

It is called Intellisense in SSMS 2005/8 but Toad one is better: it enables you to select the column you like. When you type table alias followed by dot, it shows the column names. But you have to alias the table first, i.e. “select from fact_interest_rate_swap S” then you go back, put your cursor between “select” and “from” and type “S.” (s dot) and it will list all columns of fact_interest_rate_swap table.

Oracle: Count(*) Works

In the last 6 months or so, I work in a project where we have a column called countrysomething and every time I type count(*) it shows this country column instead. It is so irritating that I have to carefully press escape after typing count but before typing “(“.

SQL Server: Copy including Header

This SQL Server feature in SSMS is very useful to put data into Excel. In Oracle/Toad we need to Export to clipboard get the header.

SQL Server: Object Explorer

It’s true the saying: you don’t know how valuable it is until you don’t have it. In Toad we have Object Pallette, but it’s not as good as SSMS’ object explorer where you can browse the columns, stored proc, etc. In Toad Object Pallette you can only browse the tables, not the columns.

SQL Server: Top N

We won’t know how useful this top N is until we don’t have it. In Oracle, a SQL guy will go wondering why “select top 100 * from table1” doesn’t work. It’s “select * from table1 where rownum <= 10”.

In Informix/Ingress it’s FIRST: select first 100 * from table1. And it’s very handy in Informix to have SKIP clause: select skip 10 first 100 * from table1.

In DB2 we have FIRST too: select * from table1 fetch first 100 rows only


Well it’s not 2 things. It’s more like 11 things I know, but who’s counting anyway? 🙂

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