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Setting Up the PL/SQL Development Environment

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PL/SQL does not need any IDE or tool as such. Oracle provides SQL* plus in the database using which you can easily run PL/SQL code. Notepad++ or any other good text editor should be fine for writing the code. But there are IDEs like SQL Developer, PL/SQL Developer, Toad, etc. available which are crucial for an efficient and productive experience when working with Oracle’s PL/SQL language.

This article will guide you through the process of setting up your PL/SQL environment, including installing the Oracle Database, choosing the right Integrated Development Environment (IDE), and connecting to an Oracle Database.

Install Oracle Database 21C on Windows

PL/SQL is a built-in Oracle Database. So you need to install one. Oracle Database is available s Oracle Database Express Edition (XE), Oracle Database Standard Edition, and Oracle Database Enterprise Edition.

You can choose any edition. However, it is recommended to use Oracle XE as it is free for personal and small-scale use, making it a popular choice for developers. Standard and Enterprize editions need good computing power. You can use them as well if your system is good enough.

Now, let’s go ahead and install Oracle Database 21C Express Edition.

1. Download Oracle Database Xpress Edition

Visit the Oracle Database download page and choose the appropriate version for your operating system. It is available for Windows and Linux 64-bit architecture operating systems.

Download Oracle Database Xpress Edition

2. Extract the installer files

This downloads the file. Extract the file to the local folder once the download completes. You can use winzip or winrr app for this. Windows also provides a built-in utility to extract files.

Just right-click on the file and select extract.

Extract Oracle Database Xpress Edition

3. Start Installation

Locate the setup.exe file. Double-click to start the installation. It is a wizard wizard-driven installation where the installer provides some configuration options. In most cases, you need to click the Next button simply.

As soon as you click on setup.exe, the installer welcomes you with below windows.

Oracle 21C express edition prepart to install

Welcome page

Oracle 21C express database install welcome page

Accept the licence agreement

Accept License Aggrement

Choose Destination Folder

Choose Destination Folder

Set database password

Set database password

Installation Summary

Oracle Database Installation Summary

Installation started

Oracle database installation progress

Firewall warning

Firewall warning

Configure Oracle database

Configure Oracle Database Compnents

Installation Complete

Database installation compelted

That’s it.

You have successfully installed Oracle Database 21C Express Edition.

Next, connect to Oracle Database using SQL* Plus as below.

Open commad prompt and enter sqlplus <username>@database.  Here, username can be System or Sys and database name is XE. Next enter the password and you are connected to Oracle Database using SQL* Plus

Connecting Oracle Database using SQL* Plus

You can alos use SQL Developer or any other 3rd party IDE like TOAD, PL/SQL Developer. Let me show how you can connect to database using SQL Developer.

Connecting to an Oracle Database using SQL Developer

Launch SQL Developer. Go to the Connections pane, and click New Database Connection.

Enter the following information:

Connect Oracle Database using SQL Developer

  • Connection Name: Choose a name for your connection.
  • Username: Enter “SYSTEM” or another user with sufficient privileges.
  • Password: Enter the password you set during the Oracle Database installation.
  • Hostname: Enter “localhost” if the database is installed on your local machine. If it is installed on a remote machine, enter the IP address or hostname.
  • Port: Enter the default Oracle Database port, which is usually 1521.
  • SID or Service Name: Enter the SID (System Identifier) or Service Name of your Oracle Database instance. For Oracle XE, the default SID is “XE.”

Click Tets button to test connection. If successful, click Save or Connect to establish the connection. If the test fails, review your connection settings and try again.

Choosing the Right IDE for PL/SQL

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is essential for efficient PL/SQL development. There are several IDE options available, including Oracle SQL Developer, PL/SQL Developer, and TOAD for Oracle.

1. Oracle SQL Developer – This is a free, official Oracle IDE that supports PL/SQL development. It provides a user-friendly interface, syntax highlighting, code completion, and debugging capabilities.

You can download it from the Oracle SQL Developer website.

2. PL/SQL Developer – This is a commercial IDE specifically designed for Oracle PL/SQL development. It offers advanced features like code templates, integrated version control, and performance profiling.

A free trial is available at the Allround Automation website.

3. TOAD for Oracle – TOAD (Tool for Oracle Application Developers) is a popular, commercial IDE that supports PL/SQL development. It offers features like code refactoring, unit testing, and schema comparison.

A free trial can be downloaded from Quest Software’s website.

Setting Up the PL/SQL Environment in the IDE

After successfully connecting to the Oracle Database, you can start configuring your IDE for PL/SQL development.

1. Configuring the code editor

Customize the appearance of the code editor, including font size, color scheme, and line numbers, by accessing the editor settings or preferences in your IDE. This will help make the code more readable and comfortable to work with.

2. Syntax highlighting and code completion

Most IDEs offer syntax highlighting and code completion for PL/SQL by default. If needed, enable these features in the settings or preferences to improve code readability and speed up development.

3. Setting up code templates or snippets

Many IDEs allow you to create reusable code templates or snippets, which can be quickly inserted into your code. Set up commonly used PL/SQL constructs as templates or snippets to enhance productivity.

4. Enabling debugging

Debugging is an essential feature for troubleshooting PL/SQL code. Ensure that your IDE’s debugging feature is enabled and properly configured. You might need to configure the debugger settings to use the correct Oracle Database connection and PL/SQL compiler settings.

5. Integrated version control

If your IDE supports integration with version control systems like Git or SVN, set up the integration to efficiently manage your PL/SQL codebase and collaborate with other developers.

Additional Tools and Resources

In addition to the IDE, there are other tools and resources that can help you streamline your PL/SQL development process.

1. SQL*Plus

This is a command-line tool provided by Oracle that allows you to interact with the Oracle Database using SQL and PL/SQL commands. It can be useful for quick database tasks or when a graphical IDE is not available.

2. Oracle Data Modeler

This is a free data modeling tool from Oracle that can help you design and visualize your database schema. It supports reverse engineering of existing schemas, generating DDL scripts, and integration with Oracle SQL Developer.

3. PL/SQL unit testing frameworks

Utilize unit testing frameworks like utPLSQL or Oracle SQL Developer’s built-in testing features to create and run tests for your PL/SQL code. This ensures your code is reliable and adheres to the desired functionality.


Setting up a proper PL/SQL development environment is crucial for efficient and productive development. By following this guide, you’ll have a solid foundation for working with Oracle’s PL/SQL language, including a functional database, a suitable IDE, and a connection to the database.

Remember to customize your IDE settings to meet your preferences and consider additional tools to streamline your development process.