A Toad without Warts: Quest's Toad Product for DB2 Hits the Streets - Part 2

Tuesday Oct 18th 2005 by DatabaseJournal.com Staff
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In Part 1 of this series, Paul Zikopoulos talked about some Toad for DB2 features such as the integrated SQL Editor, the accompanying SQL Modeler, its associated database schema browser, and GUI-driven Export and Import utilities. Part 2 discusses the project management interface, the Connection Manager, the customizable interface view, the object filtering and search capabilities, and SQL Recall.

by Paul C. Zikopoulos

The Toad product from Quest Software is a well-known database tool that helps to improve the productivity of application developers and database administrators (DBAs) working with some of the world's most popular relational databases. In September 2005, Quest Software made some serious news in the database industry by announcing an open beta of their new Toad for DB2 product. Toad was previously available for other databases such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, and has now made its features available for application developers and DBAs that work with the IBM DB2 Universal Database for Linux, UNIX, and Windows product (DB2).

Developers and DBAs have a familiar and proven tool set with Toad for DB2 that they can use to manage their database environment. If that environment has heterogeneous characteristics (such as a mix of Oracle and DB2 databases), IT personnel can leverage the common Toad interface for their entire database environment since editions of this product are available for today's most popular database engines.

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about some powerful Toad for DB2 features such as the integrated SQL Editor, the accompanying SQL Modeler, its associated database schema browser, and GUI-driven Export and Import utilities.

Here in Part 2, I will mention some of the other more notable features in Toad for DB2, and specifically talk about:

  • The project management interface
  • Connection Manager
  • The customizable interface view
  • The object filtering and search capabilities
  • SQL Recall

A recap: what does Toad for DB2 do?

As I introduce you to more and more features, you will see why I said in Part 1 that this section should be called "What doesn't Toad for DB2 do?" because that would be easier to describe.

One of the best things about this product is that it is a powerful tool with minimal overhead and hardware/software requirements. In the section "What does Toad for DB2 run on?" at the end of this article, I will detail these requirements.

As a starting point (in case you came directly to Part 2 through some sort of search engine or Web crawler), a sample screen from the Toad for DB2 product is shown below:

The tabs in the middle of the figure tell you that there is a lot you can do with this product.

The Project Manager

The Toad for DB2 Project Manager provides quick and easy access to logical groups of scripts for database deployment. The Project Manager copies the programming paradigm for DBAs with an Explorer window that provides a hierarchical tree view of the projects and files in a solution. Each solution can contain multiple project items and files (including URLs).

A sample screen from the Project Manager is shown below. In the remainder of this article, I will take you through many of the features you see on this Window:

The Connection Manager

The Toad for DB2 Connection Manager allows users to point-and-click their way to database connections, define and discover new database connections, encrypt passwords in persisted connection strings, and more.

The New connection window of the Connect Manager is shown below. You can see from this window how easy it is to work with database connections from this tool:

I have added a red highlighted box to the top-right of this figure. Clicking on this button launches the DB2 Configuration Assistant, which allows users to automatically discover available DB2 databases on their network (unless their DBAs have configured these databases not to respond to these requests), store configuration and registry settings, and leverage the client Import and Export profile utilities that make client setup a snap. Toad for DB2 can also automatically connect to databases as soon as the tool is started. Quite simply, DBAs never need to leave this tool to connect to their databases.

After you have defined the databases that you want to work with, you use the Connection Manager's tree view, which lists databases that you are currently connected to, and also maintains a past history of database connections for quick and easy access:

A customizable and flexible interface

The views in Toad for DB2 are very flexible – you can choose whatever view into your database you prefer. The following figures show all the available database views. (Note that each view shows essentially the same objects and information, just in a different format.)

Object filtering and search

Object filtering empowers users to create advanced include or exclude filters based on any object in the database, any object palette, and even any column displayed in a data grid. The following figure shows filtering on a table object such that only tables that start with ST* in the PAULZ schema are displayed for management. In ERP systems such as SAP and PeopleSoft, which can have tens of thousands of tables, this is a valued feature.

Using the integrated search facility, you can search all database objects for a specified phrase:

Note that you can limit your search to specific objects, use wild-card matching, make searches case-sensitive, build searches on top of other searches, search within a schema, and more – so search away to your heart's content!

by Paul C. Zikopoulos

SQL Recall

Toad for DB2 keeps a history (which lasts beyond the current session) of all the SQL statements you have run against your database – making it quick and easy to retrieve them for retest or base modeling purposes:

Click for larger image

Debugger

As with any rich development and administration environment, there is a debugger that handles variable modification, bookmarks, step through, breakpoints, execution stack exposures, and so on, for statement-by-statement debugging of your business logic (SQL/PL, triggers, and more). DBAs developing business logic can step through code as it executes on the server.

A sample Debugger screen is shown below. Note that I have included a breakpoint and bookmarks (1 and 2) into the simple SQL/PL procedure:

Using GUI controls, you can step through the Debugger code at will.

The 'and more...' part

Even in this two-part series, I cannot go into all of the features that are available in Toad for DB2 – it is such a comprehensive product. The following figure shows some of the features that I have mentioned (and some that I have not). The best way to see just how powerful and helpful this amazing product is would be to take it for a test drive:

Want to test drive Toad for DB2?

Want to test drive Toad for DB2 for yourself? Why not join the Quest Toad for DB2 beta program or download a trial copy when it finished? You can join at: http://www.toadsoft.com/toaddb2/toaddb2beta.html. By participating, you have an excellent opportunity to give feedback and direction to the future development of the product.

The beta program for Toad for DB2 began on September 2 nd, 2005. For the most part, you will find weekly updates on this beta site. The beta period expires on October 13th, 2005, and the planned availability date for this product is October 25th, 2005. (Of course, this is the software industry, so these dates are not carved in stone.)

There is even a Yahoo! user group that you can join to influence the product and get support. You can learn more about this group at: http://www.toadsoft.com/maillist.htm.

What does Toad for DB2 run on?

To run Toad for DB2 , you simply need a workstation that has a minimum 233 MHz processor (though 300+ MHz is recommended) with 256 MB of RAM (though 512 MB is recommended). You will need a mouse-pointing device and at least a VGA monitor that can display a resolution of 800x600 (though 1024x768 is recommended).

The bottom line is, if you have a computer nearby, it is likely sufficient to run Toad for DB2 (well, perhaps not that TRS-80 in your crawl space). What is perhaps more important to note, however, is with these type of hardware requirements, you can repurpose the old machine that is powered off as a management control point into your database environment.

From an operating system perspective, you can run Toad for DB2 on any of the following platforms:

  • AIX 5.1, 5.2, 5.3
  • HP-UX 11i V1.5+ (support for both the Intel Itanium and PA-RISC)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) AS release 3 and 4
  • Solaris Versions 7, 8, 9, 10 (support for both SPARC and x86 architecture)
  • SuSE Enterprise Linux (SLES) Versions 7, 8, and 9
  • Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003

To get Toad for DB2 to talk to your DB2 server, you will need to install the appropriate DB2 client connectivity software (which you can download for free at: http://www-306.ibm.com/software/data/db2/udb/support/downloadv8.html).

With that said, Toad for DB2 can manage any DB2 Version 8 or later database server running on a Linux, UNIX, or Windows platform.

Wrapping it up...

In this two-part series, I have taken you through many of the administrative and development features in the Toad for DB2 product. If you are a developer or DBA looking for a rich and powerful tool to help you manage your database environment, but don't want to commit yourself yet, you can just check out a flash demo of Toad for DB2 at http://www.toadsoft.com/toaddb2/.

About the Author

Paul C. Zikopoulos, BA, MBA, is an award-winning writer and speaker with the IBM Database Competitive Technology team. He has more than ten years of experience with DB2 UDB and has written over sixty magazine articles and several books about it. Paul has co-authored the books: DB2 Version 8: The Official Guide, DB2: The Complete Reference, DB2 Fundamentals Certification for Dummies, DB2 for Dummies, and A DBA's Guide to Databases on Linux. Paul is a DB2 Certified Advanced Technical Expert (DRDA and Cluster/EEE) and a DB2 Certified Solutions Expert (Business Intelligence and Database Administration). In his spare time, he enjoys all sorts of sporting activities, running with his dog Chachi, and trying to figure out the world according to Chloë – his new daughter. You can reach him at: paulz_ibm@msn.com.

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IBM, AIX, DB2, and DB2 Universal Database are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.

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Copyright International Business Machines Corporation, 2005. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer

The opinions, solutions, and advice in this article are from the author's experiences and are not intended to represent official communication from IBM or an endorsement of any products listed within. Neither the author nor IBM is liable for any of the contents in this article. The accuracy of the information in this article is based on the author's knowledge at the time of writing.

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