Oracle 23c Free – Developer Release

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Oracle 23c if finally available, in the form of Oracle 23c FREE – Developer Release. There was lots of excitement in some parts of the IT community about this release, some of which is to do with people having to wait a while for this release, given 22c was never released due to Covid!

But some caution is needed and reining back on the excitement is needed.

Why? This release isn’t the full bells and whistles full release of 23c Database. There has been several people from Oracle emphasizing the name of this release is Oracle 23c Free – Developer Release. There are a few things to consider with this release. It isn’t a GA (General Available) Release which is due later this year (maybe). Oracle 23c Free – Developer Release is an early release to allow developers to start playing with various developer focused new features. Some people have referred to this as the 23c Beta version 2 release, and this can be seen in the DB header information. It could be viewed in a similar way as the XE releases we had previously. XE was always Free, so we now we have a rename and emphasis of this. These have been many, many organizations using the XE release to build applications. Also the the XE releases were a no cost option, or what most people would like to say, the FREE version.

For the full 23c Database release we will get even more features, but most of these will probably be larger enterprise scale scenarios.

Now it’s time you to go play with 23c Free – Developer Release. Here are some useful links

I’ll be writing posts on some of the more interesting new features and I’ll add the links to those below. I’ll also add some links to post by other people:


Annual Look at Database Trends (Jan 2023)

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Monitoring trends in the popularity and usage of different Database vendors can be a interesting exercise. The marketing teams from each vendor do an excellent job of promoting their Database, along with the sales teams, developer advocates, and the user communities. Some of these are more active than others and it varies across the Database market on what their choice is for promoting their products. One of the problems with these various types of marketing, is how can be believe what they are saying about how “awesome” their Database is, and then there are some who actively talk about how “rubbish” (or saying something similar) other Databases area. I do wonder how this really works for these people and vendors when to go negative about their competitors. A few months ago I wrote about “What does Legacy Really Mean?“. That post was prompted by someone from one Database Vendor calling their main competitor Database a legacy product. They are just name calling withing providing any proof or evidence to support what they are saying.

Getting back to the topic of this post, I’ve gathered some data and obtained some league tables from some sites. These will help to have a closer look at what is really happening in the Database market throughout 2022. Two popular sites who constantly monitor the wider internet and judge how popular Databases area globally. These sites are DB-Engines and TOPDB Top Database index. These are well know and are frequently cited. Both of these sites give some details of how they calculate their scores, with one focused mainly on how common the Database appears in searches across different search engines, while the other one, in addition to search engine results/searches, also looks across different websites, discussion forms, social media, job vacancies, etc.

The first image below is a comparison of the league tables from DB-Engines taken in January 2022 and January 2023. I’ve divided this image into three sections/boxes. Overall for the first 10 places, not a lot has changed. The ranking scores have moved slightly in most cases but not enough to change their position in the rank. Even with a change of score by 30+ points is a very small change and doesn’t really indicate any great change in the score as these scores are ranked in a manner where, “when system A has twice as large a value in the DB-Engines Ranking as system B, then it is twice as popular when averaged over the individual evaluation criteria“. Using this explanation, Oracle would be twice as popular when compared to PostgreSQL. This is similar across 2022 and 2023.

Next we’ll look a ranking from TOPDB Top Database index. The image below compares January 2022 and January 2023. TOPDB uses a different search space and calculation for its calculation. The rankings from TOPDB do show some changes in the ranks and these are different to those from DB-Engines. Here we see the top three ranks remain the same with some small percentage changes, and nothing to get excited about. In the second box covering ranks 4-7 we do some changes with PostgreSQL improving by two position and MongoDB. These changes do seem to reflect what I’ve been seeing in the marketplace with MongoDB being replaced by PostgreSQL and MySQL, with this multi-model architecture where you can have relational, document, and other data models in the one Database. It’s important to note Oracle and SQL Server also support this. Over the past couple of years there has been a growing awareness of and benefits of having relation and document (and others) data models in the one database. This approach makes sense both for developer productivity, and for data storage and management.

The next gallery of images is based on some Python code I’ve written to look a little bit closer at the top five Databases. In this case these are Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL and MongoDB. This gallery plots a bar chart for each Database for their top 15 Counties, and compares them with the other four Databases. The results are interesting and we can see some geographic aspects to the popularity of the Databases.

What does Legacy really mean?

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In the IT industry we hear the term “legacy” being using, but that does it mean? It can mean a lot of different things and it really depends on the person who is saying it, their context, what they want to portray and their intended meaning. In a lot of cases people seem to use it without knowing the meaning or the impact it can have. This can result in negative impact and not in the way the person intended.

Before looking at some (and there can be lots) possible meanings, lets have a look at what one person said recently.

“Migrating away from legacy databases like Oracle can seem like a daunting undertaking for businesses. But it doesn’t have to be.”

To give context to this quote, the person works for a company selling products, services, support, etc for PostgreSQL and wants everyone to move to ProtgreSQL (Postgres), which is understandable given their role. There’s nothing wrong with trying to convince people/companies to use software that you sell lots of services and additional software to support it. What is interesting is they used the work “legacy”.

Legacy can mean lots of different things to different people. Here are some examples of how legacy is used within the IT industry.

  • The product is old and out of date
  • The product has no relevancy in software industry today
  • Software or hardware that has been superseded
  • Any software that has just been released (yes I’ve come across this use)
  • Outdated computing software and/or hardware that is still in use. The system still meets the needs it was originally designed for, but doesn’t allow for growth
  • Anything in production
  • Software that has come to an end of life with no updates, patching and/or no product roadmap

Going back to the quote given above, let’s look a little closer at their intended use. As we can see from the list above the use of the word “legacy” can be used in derogatory way and can try to make one software appear better then it’s old, out of date, not current, hard to use, etc competitor.

If you were to do a side-by-side comparison of PostgreSQL and Oracle, there would be a lot of the same or very similar features. But there are differences too and this, in PostgreSQL case, we see various vendors offering add-on software you can pay for. This is kind of similar with Oracle where you need to license various add-ons, or if you are using a Cloud offering it may come as part of the package. On a features comparison level when these are similar, saying one is “legacy” doesn’t seem right. Maybe its about how old the software is, as in legacy being old software. The first release of Oracle was 1979 and we now get yearly update releases (previously it could be every 2-4 years). PostgresSQL, or its previous names date back to 1974 with the first release of Ingres, which later evolved to Postgres in early 1980s, and took on the new name of PostgreSQL in 1996. Are both products today still the same as what they had in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, etc. The simple answer is No, they have both evolved and matured since then. Based on this can we say PostgreSQL is legacy or is more of a Legacy product than Oracle Database which was released in 1979 (5 years after Ingres)? Yes we can.

I’m still very confused by the quote (given above) as to what “legacy” might mean, in their scenario. Apart from and (trying) to ignore the derogatory aspect of “they” are old and out of date, and look at us we are new and better, it is difficult to see what they are trying to achieve.

In a similar example on a LinkedIn discussion where one person said MongoDB was legacy, was a little surprising. MongoDB is very good at what it does and has a small number of use cases. The problem with MongoDB is it is used in scenarios when it shouldn’t be used and just causes too many data architecture problems. For me, the main problem driving these issues is how software engineering and programming is taught in Universities (and other third level institutions). They are focused on JavaScript which makes using MongoDB so so easy. And its’ Agile, and the data model can constantly change. This is great, up until you need to use that data. Then it becomes a nightmare.

Getting back to saying MongoDB is legacy, again comes back to the person saying it. They work at a company who is selling cloud based data engineering and analytic services. Is using cloud services the only thing people should be using? For me it is No but a hybrid cloud and on-premises approach will work based for most. Some of the industry analysts are now promoting this, saying vendors offering both will succeed into the future, where does only offering cloud based services will have limited growth, unless the adapt now.

What about other types legacy software applications. Here is an example Stew Ashton posted on Twitter. “I once had a colleague who argued, in writing, that changing the dev stack had the advantage of forcing a rewrite of “legacy applications” – which he had coded the previous year! Either he thought he had greatly improved, or he wanted guaranteed job security”

There are lots and lots of more examples out there and perhaps you will encounter some when you are attending presentations or sales pitches from various vendors. If you hear, then saying one product is “legacy” get them to define their meaning of it and to give specific examples to illustrate it. Does their meaning match with one from the list given above, or something else. Are they just using the word to make another product appear inferior without knowing the meaning or the differences in the product? Their intended meaning within their context is what defines their meaning, which may be different to yours.

AUTO_PARTITION – Inspecting & Implementing Recommendations

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In a previous blog post I gave an overview of the DBMS_AUTO_PARTITION package in Oracle Autonomous Database. This looked at how you can get started and to setup Auto Partitioning and to allow it to automatically implement partitioning.

This might not be something the DBAs will want to happen for lots of different reasons. An alternative is to use DBMS_AUTO_PARTITION to make recommendations for tables where partitioning will have a performance improvement. The DBA can inspect these recommendations and decide which of these to implement.

In the previous post we set the CONFIGURE function to be ‘IMPLEMENT’. We need to change that to report the recommendations.

exec dbms_auto_partition.configure('AUTO_PARTITION_MODE','REPORT ONLY');

Just remember, tables will only be considered by AUTO_PARTITION as outlined in my previous post.

Next we can ask for recommendations using the RECOMMEND_PARTITION_METHOD function.

exec  dbms_auto_partition.recommend_partition_method(
table_owner => 'WHISKEY',
table_name => 'DIRECTIONS',
report_type => 'TEXT',
report_section => 'ALL',
report_level => 'ALL');

The results from this are stored in DBA_AUTO_PARTITION_RECOMMENDATIONS, which you can query to view the recommendations.

select recommendation_id, partition_method, partition_key
from dba_auto_partition_recommendations;
RECOMMENDATION_ID                PARTITION_METHOD                                                                                                        PARTITION_KEY
-------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------

To apply the recommendation pass the RECOMMENDATION_KEY value to the APPLY_RECOMMENDATION function.

exec dbms_auto_partition.apply_recommendation('D28FC3CF09DF1E1DE053D010000ABEA6');

It might takes some minutes for the partitioned table to become available. During this time the original table will remain available as the change will be implemented using a ALTER TABLE MODIFY PARTITION ONLINE command.

Two other functions include REPORT_ACTIVITY and REPORT_LAST_ACTIVITY. These can be used to export a detailed report on the recommendations in text or HTML form. It is probably a good idea to create and download these for your change records.

spool autoPartitionFinding.html
select dbms_auto_partition.report_last_activity(type=>'HTML') from dual;

AUTO_PARTITION – Basic setup

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Partitioning is an effective way to improve performance of SQL queries on large volumes of data in a database table. But only so, if a bit of care and attention is taken by both the DBA and Developer (or someone with both of these roles). Care is needed on the database side to ensure the correct partitioning method is deployed and the management of these partitions, as some partitioning methods can create a significantly large number of partitions, which in turn can affect the management of these and possibly performance too, which is not what you want. Care is also needed from the developer side to ensure their code is written in a way that utilises the partitioning method deployed. If doesn’t then you may not see much improvement in performance of your queries, and somethings things can run slower. Which not one wants!

With the Oracle Autonomous Database we have the expectation it will ‘manage’ a lot of the performance features behind the scenes without the need for the DBA and Developing getting involved (‘Autonomous’). This is kind of true up to a point, as the serverless approach can work up to a point. Sometimes a little human input is needed to give a guiding hand to the Autonomous engine to help/guide it towards what data needs particular focus.

In this (blog post) case we will have a look at DBMS_AUTO_PARTITION and how you can do a basic setup, config and enablement. I’ll have another post that will look at the recommendation feature of DBMS_AUTO_PARTITION. Just a quick reminder, DBMS_AUTO_PARTITION is for the Oracle Autonomous Database (ADB) (on the Cloud). You’ll need to run the following as ADMIN user.

The first step is to enable auto partitioning on the ADB using the CONFIGURE function. This function can have three parameters:

  • IMPLEMENT : generates a report and implements the recommended partitioning method. (Autonomous!)
  • REPORT_ONLY : {default} reports recommendations for partitioning on tables
  • OFF : Turns off auto partitioning (reporting and implementing)

For example, to enable auto partitioning and to automatically implement the recommended partitioning method.


The changes can be inspected in the DBA_AUTO_PARTITION_CONFIG view.


When you look at the listed from the above select we can see IMPLEMENT is enabled

The next step with using DBMS_AUTO_PARTITION is to tell the ADB what schemas and/or tables to include for auto partitioning. This first example shows how to turn on auto partitioning for a particular schema, and to allow the auto partitioning (engine) to determine what is needed and to just go and implement that it thinks is the best partitioning methods.

   parameter_name => 'AUTO_PARTITION_SCHEMA', 
   parameter_value => 'WHISKEY', 
   ALLOW => TRUE);

If you query the DBA view again we now get.

We have not enabled a schema (called WHISKEY) to be included as part of the auto partitioning engine.

Auto Partitioning may not do anything for a little while, with some reports suggesting to wait for 15 minutes for the database to pick up any changes and to make suggestions. But there are some conditions for a table needs to meet before it can be considered, this is referred to as being a ‘Candidate’. These conditions include:

  • Table passes inclusion and exclusion tests specified by AUTO_PARTITION_SCHEMA and AUTO_PARTITION_TABLE configuration parameters.
  • Table exists and has up-to-date statistics.
  • Table is at least 64 GB.
  • Table has 5 or more queries in the SQL tuning set that scanned the table.
  • Table does not contain a LONG data type column.
  • Table is not manually partitioned.
  • Table is not an external table, an internal/external hybrid table, a temporary table, an index-organized table, or a clustered table.
  • Table does not have a domain index or bitmap join index.
  • Table is not an advance queuing, materialized view, or flashback archive storage table.
  • Table does not have nested tables, or certain other object features.

If you find Auto Partitioning isn’t partitioning your tables (i.e. not a valid Candidate) it could be because the table isn’t meeting the above list of conditions.

This can be verified using the VALIDATE_CANDIDATE_TABLE function.

   table_owner => 'WHISKEY',
   table_name => 'DIRECTIONS')
from dual;

If the table has met the above list of conditions, the above query will return ‘VALID’, otherwise one or more of the above conditions have not been met, and the query will return ‘INVALID:’ followed by one or more reasons

Check out my other blog post on using the AUTO_PARTITION to explore it’s recommendations and how to implement.

Postgres on Docker

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Prostgres is one of the most popular databases out there, being used in Universities, open source projects and also widely used in the corporate marketplace. I’ve written a previous post on running Oracle Database on Docker. This post is similar, as it will show you the few simple steps to have a persistent Postgres Database running on Docker.

The first step is go to Docker Hub and locate the page for Postgres. You should see something like the following. Click through to the Postgres page.

There are lots and lots of possible Postgres images to download and use. The simplest option is to download the latest image using the following command in a command/terminal window. Make sure Docker is running on your machine before running this command.

docker pull postgres

Although, if you needed to install a previous release, you can do that.

After the docker image has been downloaded, you can now import into Docker and create a container.

docker run --name postgres -p 5432:5432 -e POSTGRES_USER=postgres -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=pgPassword -e POSTGRES_DB=postgres -d postgres

Important: I’m using Docker on a Mac. If you are using Windows, the format of the parameter list is slightly different. For example, remove the = symbol after POSTGRES_DB

If you now check with Docker you’ll see Postgres is now running on post 5432.

Next you will need pgAdmin to connect to the Postgres Database and start working with it. You can download and install it, or run another Docker container with pgAdmin running in it.

First, let’s have a look at installing pgAdmin. Download the image and run, accepting the initial requirements. Just let it run and finish installing.

When pgAdmin starts it looks for you to enter a password. This can be anything really, but one that you want to remember. For example, I set mine to pgPassword.

Then create (or Register) a connection to your Postgres Database. Enter the details you used when creating the docker image including username=postgres, password=pgPassword and IP address=

The IP address on your machine might be a little different, and to check what it is, run the following

docker ps -a

When your (above) connection works, the next step is to create another schema/user in the database. The reason we need to do this is because the user we connected to above (postgres) is an admin user. This user/schema should never be used for database development work.

Let’s setup a user we can use for our development work called ‘student’. To do this, right click on the ‘postgres’ user connection and open the query tool.

Then run the following.

After these two commands have been run successfully we can now create a connection to the postgres database, open the query tool and you’re now all set to write some SQL.

Oracle Database In-Memory – simple example

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In a previous post, I showed how to enable and increase the memory allocation for use by Oracle In-Memory. That example was based on using the Pre-built VM supplied by Oracle.

To use In-Memory on your objects, you have a few options.

Enabling the In-Memory attribute on the EXAMPLE tablespace by specifying the INMEMORY attribute


Enabling the In-Memory attribute on the sales table but excluding the “prod_id” column


Disabling the In-Memory attribute on one partition of the sales table by specifying the NO INMEMORY clause


Enabling the In-Memory attribute on the customers table with a priority level of critical


You can also specify the priority level, which helps to prioritise the order the objects are loaded into memory.

A simple example to illustrate the effect of using In-Memory versus not.

Create a table with, say, 11K records. It doesn’t really matter what columns and data are.

Now select all the records and display the explain plan

select count(*) from test_inmemory;

Now, move the table to In-Memory and rerun your query.

alter table test_inmemory inmemory PRIORITY critical;  
select count(*) from test_inmemory;  -- again

There you go!

We can check to see what object are In-Memory by

SELECT table_name, inmemory, inmemory_priority, inmemory_distribute,      
       inmemory_compression, inmemory_duplicate 
FROM user_tables 
WHERE inmemory = 'ENABLED’ 
ORDER BY table_name;

To remove the object from In-Memory

SQL > alter table test_inmemory no inmemory;  -- remove the table from in-memory

This is just a simple test and lots of other things can be done to improve performance

But, you do need to be careful about using In-Memory. It does have some limitations and scenarios where it doesn’t work so well. So care is needed

Changing In-Memory size in Oracle Database

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The pre-built virtual machine provided by Oracle for trying out and playing with Oracle Database comes configured to use the In-Memory option. But memory size is a little limited if you are trying to load anything slightly bigger than a tiny table into memory, for example if the table has more than a few hundred rows.

The amount of memory allocated to In-Memory can be increased to allow for more data to be loaded. There is a requirement that the VM and Database has enough memory allocated to allow this. If you don’t and increase the In-Memory size too large, you will have some problems restarting the database and VM. So proceed carefully.

For the pre-built VM, I typically allocate 4G or 8G of RAM to the VM. This in turn will give more memory to the database when it starts.

To setup In-Memory on the VM run the following:

– Open a terminal window and run this command:

sqlplus sys/oracle as sysdba

Then run these two commands

alter session set container = cdb$root;
alter system set inmemory_size = 200M scope=spfile;

Now, bounce the VM, i.e. restart the VM

In-memory will now be enabled on your Database, and you can now create/move tables in and out of in-memory.

Database Vendors on Twitter, Slack, downloads, etc.

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Each year we see some changes in the positioning of the most popular databases on the market. “The most popular” part of that sentence can be the most difficult to judge. There are lots and lots of different opinions on this and ways of judging them. There are various sites giving league tables, and even with those some people don’t agree with how they perform their rankings.

The following table contains links for some of the main Database engines including download pages, social media links, community support sites and to the documentation.

Database VendorDownload PageCloud ServiceTwitterSlack/DiscordStack OverflowDocumentation
OracleDownloadCloud Service@OracleDatabaseStack OverflowDocumentation
MySQLDownloadCloud Service@MySQLSlackStack OverflowDocumentation
Microsoft SQL ServerDownloadCloud Service@SQLServerSlackStack OverflowDocumentation
PostgreSQLDownloadLots of Vendors @PostgreSQLSlackStack OverflowDocumentation
MongoDBDownloadCloud Service@MongoDBSlackStack OverflowDocumentation
RedisDownloadCloud Service@RedisincDiscordStack OverflowDocumentation
IBM DB2DownloadCloud Service@Db2zLabNewsStack OverflowDocumentation
CassandraDownloadLots of Vendors@cassandraSlackStack OverflowDocumentation
MariaDBDownloadCloud Service@MariaDBSlackStack OverflowDocumentation
SnowflakeN/ACloud Service@SnowflakeDBStack OverflowDocumentation

One of the most common sites is DB-Engines, and another is TOPDB Top Database index. The images below show the current rankings/positions of the database vendors (in January 2022).

I’ve previously written about using the Python pytrends package to explore the relative importance of the different Database engines. The results from pytrends gives results based on number of searches etc in Google. Check out that Blog Post. I’ve rerun the same code for 2021, and the following gallery displays charts for each Database based on their popularity. This will allow you to see what countries are most popular for each Database and how that relates to the other databases. For these charts I’ve included Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL and MongoDB, as these are the top 5 Databases from DB-Engines.

Working with External Data on Oracle DB Docker

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With multi-modal databases (such as Oracle and many more) you will typically work with data in different formats and for different purposes. One such data format is with data located external to the database. The data will exist in files on the operating systems on the DB server or on some connected storage device.

The following demonstrates how to move data to an Oracle Database Docker image and access this data using External Tables. (This based on an example from with a few additional commands).

For this example, I’ll be using an Oracle 21c Docker image setup previously. Similarly the same steps can be followed for the 18c XE Docker image, by changing the Contain Id from 21cFull to 18XE.

Step 1 – Connect to OS in the Docker Container & Create Directory

The first step involves connecting the the OS of the container. As the container is setup for default user ‘oracle’, that is who we will connect as, and it is this Linux user who owns all the Oracle installation and associated files and directories

docker exec -it 21cFull /bin/bash

When connected we are in the Home directory for the Oracle user.

The Home directory contains lots of directories which contain all the files necessary for running the Oracle Database.

Next we need to create a directory which will story the files.

mkdir ext_data

As we are logged in as the oracle Linux user, we don’t have to make any permissions changes, as Oracle Database requires read and write access to this directory.

Step 3 – Upload files to Directory on Docker container

Open another terminal window on your computer (desktop/laptop). You should have two such terminal windows open. One you opened for Step 1 above, and this one. This will allow you to easily switch between files on your computer and the files in the Docker container.

Download the two Countries files, to your computer, which are listed on Countries1.txt and Countries2.txt.

Now you need to upload those files to the Docker container.

docker cp Countries1.txt 21cFull:/opt/oracle/ext_data/Countries1.txt
docker cp Countries2.txt 21cFull:/opt/oracle/ext_data/Countries2.txt

Step 4 – Connect to System (DBA) schema, Create User, Create Directory, Grant access to Directory

If you a new to the Database container, you don’t have any general users/schemas created. You should create one, as you shouldn’t use the System (or DBA) user for any development work. To create a new database user connect to System.

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

To use sqlplus command line tool you will need to install Oracle Instant Client and then SQLPlus (which is a separate download from the same directory for your OS)

To create a new user/schema in the database you can run the following (change the username and password to something more sensible).

create user brendan identified by BtPassword1
default tablespace users
temporary tablespace temp;
grant connect, resource to brendan;
alter user brendan
quota unlimited on users;

Now create the Directory object in the database, which points to the directory on the Docker OS we created in the Step 1 above. Grant ‘brendan’ user/schema read and write access to this Directory

CREATE OR REPLACE DIRECTORY ext_tab_data AS '/opt/oracle/ext_data';
grant read, write on directory ext_tab_data to brendan;

Now, connect to the brendan user/schema.

Step 5 – Create external table and test

To connect to brendan user/schema, you can run the following if you are still using SQLPlus

SQL> connect brendan/BtPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

or if you exited it, just run this from the command line

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

Create the External Table (same code from

CREATE TABLE countries_ext (
  country_code      VARCHAR2(5),
  country_name      VARCHAR2(50),
  country_language  VARCHAR2(50)
  DEFAULT DIRECTORY ext_tab_data
      country_code      CHAR(5),
      country_name      CHAR(50),
      country_language  CHAR(50)
  LOCATION ('Countries1.txt','Countries2.txt')

It should create for you. If not and you get an error then if will be down to a typo on directory name or the files are not in the directory or something like that.

We can now query the External Table as if it is a Table in the database.

SQL> set linesize 120
SQL> select * from countries_ext order by country_name;
----- ------------------------------------ ------------------------------
ENG   England                              English
FRA   France                               French
GER   Germany                              German
IRE   Ireland                              English
SCO   Scotland                             English
USA   Unites States of America             English
WAL   Wales                                Welsh

7 rows selected.

All done!

Oracle 21c XE Database and Docker setup

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You know when you are waiting for the 39 bus for ages, and then two of them turn up at the same time. It’s a bit like this with Oracle 21c XE Database Docker image being released a few days after the 18XE Docker image!

Again we have Gerald Venzi to thank for putting these together and making them available.

23c Database – If you want to use the 23c Database, Check out this post for the command to install

Are you running an Apple M1 chip Laptop? If so, follow these instructions (and ignore the rest of this post)

If you want to install Oracle 21c XE yourself then go to the download page and within a few minutes you are ready to go. Remember 21c XE is a fully featured version of their main Enterprise Database, with a few limitations, basically on size of deployment. You’d be surprised how many organisations who’s data would easily fit within these limitations/restrictions. The resource limits of Oracle Database 21 XE include:

  • 2 CPU threads
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 12GB of user data (Compression is included so you can store way way more than 12G)
  • 3 pluggable Databases

It is important to note, there are some additional restrictions on feature availability, for example Parallel Query is not possible, etc.

Remember the 39 bus scenario I mentioned above. A couple of weeks ago the Oracle 18c XE Docker image was released. This is a full installation of the database and all you need to do is to download it and run it. Nothing else is required. Check out my previous post on this.

To download, install and run Oracle 21c XE Docker image, just run the following commands.

docker pull gvenzl/oracle-xe:21-full

docker run -d -p 1521:1521 -e ORACLE_PASSWORD=SysPassword1 -v oracle-volume:/opt/oracle/XE21CFULL/oradata gvenzl/oracle-xe:21-full

docker rename da37a77bb436 21cFull

sqlplus system/SysPassword1@//localhost/XEPDB1

It’s a good idea to create a new schema for your work. Here is an example to create a schema called ‘demo’. First log into system using sqlplus, as shown above, and then run these commands.

create user demo identified by demo quota unlimited on users;
grant connect, resource to demo;

To check that schema was created you can connect to it using sqlplus.

connect demo/demo@//localhost/XEPDB1

Then to stop the image from running and to restart it, just run the following

docker stop 21cFull
docker start 21cFull

Check out my previous post on Oracle 18c XE setup for a few more commands.

SQL Developer Connection Setup

An alternative way to connect to the Database is to use SQL Developer. The following image shows and example of connecting to a schema called DEMO, which I created above. See the connection details in this image. They are the same as what is shown above when connecting using sqlplus.

Exploring Database trends using Python pytrends (Google Trends)

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A little word of warning before you read the rest of this post. The examples shown below are just examples of what is possible. It isn’t very scientific or rigorous, so don’t come complaining if what is shown doesn’t match your knowledge and other insights. This is just a little fun to see what is possible. Yes a more rigorous scientific study is needed, and some attempts at this can be seen at Less scientific are examples shown at TOPDB Top Database index and that isn’t meant to be very scientific.

After all of that, here we go 🙂

pytrends is a library providing an API to Google Trends using Python. The following examples show some ways you can use this library and the focus area I’ll be using is Databases. Many of you are already familiar with using Google Trends, and if this isn’t something you have looked at before then I’d encourage you to go have a look at their website and to give it a try. You don’t need to run Python to use it. For example, here is a quick example taken from the Google Trends website. Here are a couple of screen shots from Google Trends, comparing Relational Database to NoSQL Database. The information presented is based on what searches have been performed over the past 12 months. Some of the information is kind of interesting when you look at the related queries and also the distribution of countries.

To install pytrends use the pip command

pip3 install pytrends

As usual it will change the various pendent libraries and will update where necessary. In my particular case, the only library it updated was the version of pandas.

You do need to be careful of how many searches you perform as you may be limited due to Google rate limits. You can get around this by using a proxy and there is an example on the pytrends PyPi website on how to get around this.

The following code illustrates how to import and setup an initial request. The pandas library is also loaded as the data returned by pytrends API into a pandas dataframe. This will make it ease to format and explore the data.

import pandas as pd 
from pytrends.request import TrendReq

pytrends = TrendReq()

The pytrends API has about nine methods. For my example I’ll be using the following:

  • Interest Over Time: returns historical, indexed data for when the keyword was searched most as shown on Google Trends’ Interest Over Time section.
  • Interest by Region: returns data for where the keyword is most searched as shown on Google Trends’ Interest by Region section.
  • Related Queries: returns data for the related keywords to a provided keyword shown on Google Trends’ Related Queries section.
  • Suggestions: returns a list of additional suggested keywords that can be used to refine a trend search.

Let’s now explore these APIs using the Databases as the main topic of investigation and examining some of the different products. I’ve used the website to select the top 5 databases (as per date of this blog post). These were:

  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • SQL Server
  • PostgreSQL
  • MongoDB

I will use this list to look for number of searches and other related information. First thing is to import the necessary libraries and create the connection to Google Trends.

import pandas as pd 
from pytrends.request import TrendReq

pytrends = TrendReq()

Next setup the payload and keep the timeframe for searches to the past 12 months only.

search_list = ["Oracle", "MySQL", "SQL Server", "PostgreSQL", "MongoDB"] #max of 5 values allowed
pytrends.build_payload(search_list, timeframe='today 12-m')

We can now look at the the interest over time method to see the number of searches, based on a ranking where 100 is the most popular.

df_ot = pd.DataFrame(pytrends.interest_over_time()).drop(columns='isPartial')

and to see a breakdown of these number on an hourly bases you can use the get_historical_interest method.


Let’s move on to exploring the level of interest/searches by country. The following retrieves this information, ordered by Oracle (in decending order) and then select the top 20 countries. Here we can see the relative number of searches per country. Note these doe not necessarily related to the countries with the largest number of searches

df_ibr = pytrends.interest_by_region(resolution='COUNTRY') # CITY, COUNTRY or REGION
df_ibr.sort_values('Oracle', ascending=False).head(20)

Visualizing data is always a good thing to do as we can see a patterns and differences in the data in a clearer way. The following takes the above query and creates a stacked bar chart.

import matplotlib
from matplotlib import pyplot as plt

df2 = df_ibr.sort_values('Oracle', ascending=False).head(20)

df2.reset_index().plot(x='geoName', y=['Oracle', 'MySQL', 'SQL Server', 'PostgreSQL', 'MongoDB'], kind ='bar', stacked=True, title="Searches by Country")

plt.rcParams["figure.figsize"] = [20, 8]

We can delve into the data more, by focusing on one particular country and examine the google searches by city or region. The following looks at the data from USA and gives the rankings for the various states.

pytrends.build_payload(search_list, geo='US')
df_ibr = pytrends.interest_by_region(resolution='COUNTRY', inc_low_vol=True)
df_ibr.sort_values('Oracle', ascending=False).head(20)

df2.reset_index().plot(x='geoName', y=['Oracle', 'MySQL', 'SQL Server', 'PostgreSQL', 'MongoDB'], kind ='bar', stacked=True, title="test")
plt.rcParams["figure.figsize"] = [20, 8]

plt.title("Searches for USA")


We can find the top related queries and and top queries including the names of each database.

search_list = ["Oracle", "MySQL", "SQL Server", "PostgreSQL", "MongoDB"] #max of 5 values allowed
pytrends.build_payload(search_list, timeframe='today 12-m')

rq = pytrends.related_queries()

#display rising terms

We can see the top related rising queries for Oracle are about tik tok. No real surprise there!

and the top queries for Oracle included:


This was an interesting exercise to do. I didn’t show all the results, but when you explore the other databases in the list and see the results from those, and then compare them across the five databases you get to see some interesting patterns.