Using Oracle Software at SHU

Students and staff at SHU can use Oracle software for teaching and learning. The system at SHU is based upon an Oracle 11g (11.2.0.3) DBMS (Relational Database Management System) which is run on a Red Hat virtual machine. Students and staff can develop applications against this core system using a variety of client applications. These are made available either on the University Desktop used throughout the University or (for web based applications) on the server itself. The primary users of this service are students and staff in the ACES faculty. However the resource is available to all staff and students in the University. The Oracle products are licensed to SHU through the Oracle Academy and all use of the products should be in accordance with the terms and conditions of this license.

The DBMS

Students and staff wishing to use this need to have an account. Any registered student and staff can create their own Oracle and APEX accounts using the "Start|All Programs|Specialist Applications|Oracle|Create Oracle User" utility which is on the menu on PCs in the PC Labs at SHU or via this Oracle Account Utility. The data stored in student accounts is not guaranteed to be persistent from year to year.

The first line of support for students and staff using Oracle products is the Advisory Service who are contactable by phone (0114 225 3333), email Advisory at SHU and via Helpdesks. This support includes support with creating user accounts. If necessary staff at these locations will escalate the problem to the Oracle Administrator.

Normally the Oracle DBMS will be updated to the latest version on an annual basis subject to constraints imposed by the needs of the teaching community. When the Oracle DBMS is updated staff accounts and the data stored in them will be moved to the new version of the database.

Client Software

SqlPlus for Windows

The most widely used client product at SHU is SqlPlus for Windows. This is a developer tool which allows users to execute SQL commands in order to manipulate the data and data structures in their accounts. It is available at "Start|All Programs|Specialist Applications |Oracle|SqlPlus for Windows" in the University Desktop menu on both staff and student PCs in the University. The main use of this tool is to provide an environment in which users can develop skills in the use of SQL (Structured Query Language).

SQLDeveloper

Is a new SQL/PLSQL development environment released by Oracle.

Oracle APEX

Is a web based rapid application development environment. It provides both SQL/PLSQL and application development functionality. An APEX account is created for students when they create an Oracle account. APEX can be accessed here, if you have an account: http://homepages.shu.ac.uk:7777/pls/apex

Oracle Forms Builder

Is a development environment which is set up to allow users to create client/server applications. It can be used to develop both client side and server side code. Server side code is stored in the DBMS and can be called from the client application. Client applications at SHU are created to run in the MS Windows environment.

Oracle JDeveloper

Is a development environment which allows users to create web enabled Java applications to run against the Oracle DBMS It includes graphical tools to support application design.

Connectivity

Users/Developers in the University may use other products to interface with the DBMS This is true for both MS Windows based and Web based applications.

ODBC

Developers in the MS Windows environment may use ODBC to connect to the database. The MS Access deployed in the University with the University Desktop is pre-configured to allow the creation of Link tables within that application using ODBC. However users can use any ODBC compliant language or tool to interface with their data.

Perl

Users wishing to develop database enabled CGI programs which interface to the DBMS are supported in the use of Perl for this purpose by the deployment of the CGI, DBI, and DBD::Oracle modules on Ivy. Special permissions or accounts are needed in order to use this. However users wanting advice about how to get started may contact Oracle Administrator

PHP

Another widely used approach to database enabling web sites is the use of the PHP language. This enables programming elements to be embedded within tags in the HTML. This is also freely available to students and staff in the University. As with Perl, users wanting advice about how to get started may contact Oracle Administrator.

Support Services

Support for Project Students

From time to time project students require particular configurations or simply advice on how to approach a particular problem. Where necessary they may contact the Oracle Administrator who will attempt to meet any reasonable request.

Further Development

The deployment of Oracle products at SHU will continue to change and develop and it is hoped that this document will be kept up to date to reflect these changes. If you want other Oracle products or functionality to be made available or assistance with realising a utilisation of the Oracle resource at SHU then contact the Oracle Administrator.


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