Method R Trace

Trace files, automatically. No searching. No clicking. No bother.

Method R Trace is a zero-click trace file collector for Oracle SQL Developer. Every time you execute SQL or PL/SQL from your SQL Developer worksheet, Method R Trace automatically copies your trace file to your workstation, where you can tag it for easy lookup later. The main panel lets you manipulate all the trace files you have collected. You can click to open a trace file with any application you choose, like the Method R Profiler or your favorite text editor.

Method R Trace for Oracle SQL Developer version 4 (1:45)

Wow… Just wow. Absolutely blown away by how simple yet effective it is.

John Scott

Founder of APEX Evangelists

Installing and Uninstalling Method R Trace


Install Method R Trace from within Oracle SQL Developer. You have two choices.

Method 1 (the one we recommend)

  1. Open Oracle SQL Developer.
  2. Select Help > Check for Updates…
  3. Select Search Update Centers.
  4. Click Add… and set the following properties:
    Name: Method R Trace
  5. If you have a license, paste it in at Preferences… > Method R Trace > Setup.

Method 2

  1. Download
  2. Open Oracle SQL Developer.
  3. Select Help > Check for Updates…
  4. Select Install From Local File.
  5. Click Browse… and select the file you downloaded.
  6. If you have a license, paste it in at Preferences… > Method R Trace > Setup.


Method R Trace requires a few privileges and components to trace your code and fetch your files for you. When Method R Trace needs privileges for a database connection, it will pop up a dialog box showing you what it needs. If you are your own DBA, then all you need to do is enter a password, and you’re on your way. If your DBA is someone else, we’ve tried to make it easy for you both by providing a complete, documented script to do the job. You can see this script any time you want, in Preferences > Method R Trace > Installation Script.


To stop Oracle SQL Developer from loading the Method R Trace extension, use the Tools > Features… panel, on the Installed Updates tab.

To delete the Method R Trace extension completely from your computer:

  1. Browse to the Oracle SQL Developer installation directory.
  2. Change directory to sqldeveloper/sqldeveloper/extensions.
  3. Delete the file com.methodr.trace.sqldevext.jar.
  4. Delete the folder com.methodr.trace.sqldevext.

You can uninstall the Method R Trace Oracle Database components using the SQL statements provided at the tail of the installation script at Preferences… > Method R Trace > Installation Script.

Release Notes

Using Method R Trace

Once you’ve installed Method R Trace, select View > Local Trace Files to see the Method R Trace main Local Trace Files panel. Your screen should look something like the one here.

Now you’re ready to roll:

  1. Glance to make sure that Method R Trace is enabled. You will only have to do this once. If the indicator tells you that Method R Trace is disabled, then just click on the indicator to enable it.
  2. Press the Run Script button to execute and trace the code on your worksheet. Note that the Run Statement button (the green triangle without the disk drive) does not trigger the trace file creation. …Well, sometimes actually it does, but the reasons are subtle, so it’s easier to remember the general rule: run and trace by using Run Script, not Run Statement.
  3. If you want to open a trace file, just click its name in the Local Trace Files panel.

From Local Trace Files panel you can open files, edit tags, delete files, or filter results. (Here’s where everyone always asks: if you delete a file from the Local Trace Files panel, no, it does not remove the original trace file from the database server.) You can move this panel or even hide it; just use View > Local Trace Files to reveal it if you can’t see it.

…Now you know why we call Method R Trace a zero-click trace file collector: the only click you need to collect a trace file is the click you did in step 2, which is a click you would have had to do anyway. The net effect is any trace file you want, with no extra effort.

Convenience Options

External Tools

Defining Oracle SQL Developer external tools lets you create your own trace file Open commands. To create a new external tool, select Tools > External Tools…. This will open a dialog where you can select an application. Once you have added an application, it will appear in the Open With context menu when you right-click on a trace file name.

For example, if you are a licensed Method R Profiler user, you can add the Method R Profiler to your list of external tools by using the following settings:

Program Executable: /your-path/mrprof_wrapper
Arguments: ${file.path}
Run Directory:
Caption for Menu Items: Method &R Profiler
ToolTip Text: Method R Profiler
Icon Location: /your-path/etc/graphics/icon.iconset/icon_16x16.png

Tagging and Filtering

Each time Method R Trace collects a trace file for you, it will ask you to tag that trace file. You can select default values for your tags at Preferences > Method R Trace, on the Tags tab. If you don’t want it to ask every time, you can change this behavior on the Setup tab.

You can change a tag’s value any time you want. Tags are physically stored in the local copy of the trace file. Once you’ve tagged a trace file, you can use the Filter… widget to display only files whose details contain the filter text you’ve entered. In this way, you can focus your attention on only a subset of the files that you have collected.