Which Version of TOAD to Use
This is the proverbial $64 million question. The very obvious answer is "the latest and greatest"—always. But sometimes people cannot roll out new versions across large organizations very quickly or easily. At other times people have let their TOAD maintenance contract lapse, so upgrading is no longer free unless they either renew that maintenance agreement or repurchase the product if they've been out of the maintenance loop for too long. But assuming you're current on your TOAD maintenance such that all TOAD upgrades are available to you for free, and assuming that you can deploy upgrades without restrictions or heartaches due to internal procedures, then our "latest and greatest" advice stands. Figure 1.2 shows the long TOAD versus Oracle Database version history, along with some key Oracle version support references.
Figure 1.2 TOAD versus Oracle Version History
What, in a nutshell, does this very crowded and complex figure tell you? In short, if you're using Oracle 9.x, then you should be using at least TOAD 9.0; if you're using Oracle 10.x, then you should be using at least TOAD 9.6; and if you're using Oracle 11.x, then you should be using at least TOAD 9.7 (at the time of this writing, the current version). Anything else is like playing Russian roulette with your database work and data.
What's the logic behind our advice? Simple—much like the case with the prior section's client version advice, TOAD cannot work with database features or capabilities that came out years after the TOAD version was written. We find lots of people using TOAD 8.6 with Oracle 10g. Yes, Figure 1.2 shows that TOAD 8.6 came out after 10g Release 2 and, therefore, should support it. But Oracle often makes changes between even the minor database versions that can affect tools such as TOAD (i.e., tools that make heavy access to the internal data dictionary). For example, some Oracle data dictionary changes in version 10.2.0.2 broke a key TOAD screen. Because you should always be running the terminal Oracle release version (e.g., 10.2.0.4) for best Oracle support, then you should also choose your TOAD version based on that terminal Oracle version's release date—and not the date when the original database version itself debuted. Thus, if you're using Oracle 10g, we recommend TOAD 9.6, because TOAD 9.6 is the very first TOAD version that came out after Oracle 10.2.0.4. It's the only one for which Quest can perform QA testing and guarantee that it works.