What is Oracle

The Oracle Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is an industry leading database system designed for mission critical data storage and retrieval. The RDBMS is responsible for accurately storing data and efficiently retrieving that data in response to user queries.

The Oracle Corporation also supplies interface tools to access data stored in an Oracle database. Two of these tools are known as SQL*Plus, a command line interface, and Developer/2000 (now called simply Developer), a collection of forms, reports and graphics interfaces.

The Oracle products suite includes the following tools and utilities:

Application Development Tools

  • SQL*Plus - A command line tool used to manipulate tables and other database objects in an Oracle database.
  • Developer/2000 and Developer A suite of application development tools including Forms, Reports and Graphics.
    • Oracle*Forms - A screen based tool used to develop data entry forms and menus that access tables in an Oracle database.
    • Oracle*Reports - A screen based tool used to develop reports that access tables in an Oracle database.
    • Oracle*Graphics - A graphical tool used to develop charts and reports that access tables in an Oracle database.
  • CASE*Designer and Oracle Designer/2000 - A graphical tool used to create and display models contained in the CASE*Dictionary.
Oracle is a trademark of Oracle Corporation and in common usage refers to the database engine (which actually looks after the data) and a range of front-end products.  

Oracle is the largest selling SQL based RDBMS and on the whole, is in my opinion, the most commercially useful.

Major competitors to Oracle include:

  • DB2 (IBM platforms only)
  • Informix
  • Ingres
  • Sybase
Others worth noting include
  • Interbase from Borland (Unix/MS-DOS)
  • shql (free UNIX tool works like ingres isql)
  • Varous xbase products
  • Postgres (Stonebraker's other work - free but
  • Unsupported except for the Net - which is about the same as commercial support anyway).
It is *not* to be confused with the Oracle of Delphi, which led the market in executive information systems in the ancient world until about 7 BC.  The chief data analyst (the Pythia) would get off her skull on steam and Laurel leaves and mutter gibberish (Said Quixotically on Laurel, SQL for short) which was then translated by priests in an ambiguous manner in order to please the end-user and thus extract a hefty donation.  

Probably the most famous bit of management information was to Croesus, (King of Lydia and known in the phrase "as rich as Croesus"), when he received the advice "If you attack the Persians, you will destroy a great empire".  Well, he did attack, and lost his own empire.  There's a moral to this story I think ...

See Also
What is SQL

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