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Understanding Database Profiles

A database profile is, somewhat simplified, a definition of the kind of information that is presented in the database objects tree and in the various object views for a specific database engine. In addition, the profile defines the actions for the object types defined in the profile. DbVisualizer loads the matching database profile when you connect to a database. If no matching profile is found, DbVisualizer uses a Generic profile with just the general database information and actions included.

DbVisualizer currently offer database specific support (database profiles) for the following databases (click links for details):

The specialized database profiles define different object types, so the database objects tree may look different depending on which database you are connected to. The structure and organization of a database profile is also something that may impact the layout of the objects tree, even though the provided ones are similar in their structure. There are two root nodes in the majority of the provided profiles:

  • Schema Objects
  • DBA objects

Schema objects are, for example, tables, views, triggers, and functions, while DBA objects most often are objects that require administration privileges in the database in order to access them. The convention in DbVisualizer is to put all DBA objects under the DBA Views tree node. If you connect to a database using an account with insufficient privileges to access a DBA object, you may see error messages if you try to select nodes under the DBA Views node. The following is an example of the DBA sub tree for Oracle:

DBA sub tree example for Oracle

For databases that have no specific profile, DbVisualizer uses the Generic profile. DbVisualizer supports a wide range of databases. The nature of the databases and what they support differ from vendor to vendor, so the appearance and structure of the tree below the database connection objects for different databases differ as well. The generic database profile displays objects based on what JDBC offers in terms of database information (aka metadata information). DbVisualizer asks the JDBC driver for all schemas, databases, tables and procedures, and then builds the tree based on what the driver returns.

The advantage of using JDBC to get database metadata is that it is a standard way to access the information, independent of the database engine type; the JDBC driver layer hides the proprietary details about where and how the information is really stored. The drawback with using JDBC is that JDBC doesn't offer access to all metadata a database may hold. While the information presented by the generic profile, with its reliance on JDBC, is sufficient for many tasks, a database specific profile offers far more details as well as more features.

The generic database profile when used for an Oracle connection look as follows:

Oracle connection via generic database profile

The appearance of the generic database profile may include schema objects and/or catalog objects depending on whether the database supports these objects. The Procedures object always appear in the tree, regardless if the database connection supports procedures or not. There is no DBA Views node in the generic profile.