SQL*XL - Customer Case Study


Novus International, Inc.


Novus International, Inc., a global leader in the animal agriculture industry, is a privately held corporation headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.




Requirements to meet

I frequently perform ad hoc analyses of data from two Oracle databases and often the requestor needs the data in spreadsheet form in order to do additional manipulation. There are also situations where quirks in data cause operational problems, but users are not able to determine the problem from within the screens provided by their applications.

Issues to tackle

Most "canned" reports in our systems are specific enough that the columns of information fit easily across a printed page. However, for more complex analyses, it is often necessary or at least convenient to have more columns included. Using a spreadsheet to handle this "wide" output makes the task more straightforward. Likewise, when trying to quickly find out what's wrong with a particular record is difficult to do when using SQL*Plus output for tables with many columns, since it is difficult to visually follow columns when line-wrapping is necessary.

Approach taken

I find it very convenient to use SQL*XL to quickly dump some broadly-selected data into a spreadsheet, inspect the data and quickly delete columns that don't appear to be a problem. With further winnowing or sorting, I can usually find a problem in a minute or two that would (or may already have) take a substantial amount of time using other methods. For ad hoc reports, I either code a query directly in SQL*XL or, for more complex situations, create a view and then select from it. Having the data in Excel allows for rapid formatting or rearranging, and the subtotal drill-down capability is often put to use as well. Doing the same type of thing with Oracle Reports would take forever.


We have a company saying that a good solution, implemented immediately, is better than the "perfect" solution that takes forever. I think SQL*XL fits in well with this philosophy. Users are always thankful or impressed that I can quickly deliver usable results to them, sometimes while we're still talking on the phone. We have other tools, such as Business Objects, that do not lend themselves to the type of operations that I routinely perform with this product. I can't do without SQL*XL though. In the immortal words of Charlton Heston "...from my cold, dead hands."