One of the goals of the tool is to allow the user to complete tasks with the least number of steps. For example, to load an Excel spreadsheet into a table, you just have to complete a simple, four-step wizard and all the data will be in your table.
Another example is having quick access to queries you executed some time ago without having to manually save them. That way, you can still access an important or frequently used query that maybe you forgot to save.
Generating data files from queries with minimum setup is a time saver. You can preset the output format you want (CSV, insert, Excel, JSON to name a few), run your query and the file will be generated in that format.
I would like to see the Monitor Sessions functionality to provide access to SQL Monitor reports in the same format used by Oracle Enterprise Manager. That would help developers to see what their SQL statements are doing as they run.
The output (generated report) is the same. It's an HTML+ flash type of report that both products allow to save. The part that I like about Oracle Enterprise Manager is that once you get into a report, it keeps refreshing its execution statistics and performance metrics as the query progresses. SQL Developer only shows a snapshot of the execution statistics and performance metrics at the moment you request the report.
Both products have access to the same API to produce these reports so I thought it would be nice if SQL Developer could match OEM's default behavior.
I would like to see more functionality to assist in having database-enforced source control on objects and data.
I think the product is really stable and the Oracle Database Tools team is very responsive to any issues that could impact its usability.
I think this is one of the brightest aspects of SQL Developer. The Product Manager and the main developers are very active in the OTN Forums, Stack Overflow, Social Media, etc. They’re always presenting at conferences, providing articles, blog posts and all kinds of insights on the best ways to use the product.
Technical Support is also great because the SQL Developer team is available to the community, providing answers to questions and releasing bug fixes in a timely manner.
SQL Developer has reached a maturity level where it offers pretty much the same essential functionality (and much more) that you can find in other solutions, with the benefit of being free. Why not use it then?
Initial setup is as easy as download, unzip and start using it. I recommend using the version that includes its own Java Runtime Environment. Of course, this is from the perspective of a single user.
I did not evaluate other options.
Invest some time on standardizing the preferences/reports and centralize them so that all of your developers use exactly the same setup. For example, you could customize all the preferences that format your code in order to follow your company’s SQL and PL/SQL standards.