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 load it into Method R Workbench, or open it with any application you choose.

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

John Scott

Founder of APEX Evangelists

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

Installing and Uninstalling Method R Trace


Method R Trace is commercially licensed software. You must purchase a license key at to operate Method R Trace.

To install Method R Trace:

  1. Open Oracle SQL Developer.
  2. Click Help › Check for Updates….
  3. Select Search Update Centers.
  4. Click Add…
  5. Use the following values, and follow SQL Developer’s remaining instructions.
    Name: Method R Trace
  6. Enter your license key at the bottom of the Help › About › Method R Trace panel.

Setting Up Oracle

Method R Trace requires some 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 Tools › Features… › Installed Updates.

To delete the Method R Trace extension from your computer, delete the following files, where $HOME represents your home directory, and $SQLDEV represents the Oracle SQL Developer installation directory:

  1. $HOME/.method-r/mrtrace
  2. $SQLDEV/sqldeveloper/sqldeveloper/extensions/com.methodr.trace.sqldevext
  3. $SQLDEV/sqldeveloper/sqldeveloper/extensions/com.methodr.trace.sqldevext.jar

To uninstall the Method R Trace Oracle Database components, use the SQL statements provided at the tail of the installation script listed at Preferences › Method R Trace › Installation Script.

Using Method R Trace

Once you’ve installed Method R Trace, select View › Trace File Downloads to see the Method R Trace main Trace File Downloads 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 have to do this only once. If the indicator tells you that Method R Trace is disabled, then just click the indicator to enable it. If at any time you prefer not to trace the next execution, then, of course, click the indicator to disable it.
  2. Click this pathname if you want your trace file to be downloaded to a different folder than the one named here.
  3. 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.
  4. Your trace file will appear automatically as the top row in the Trace File Downloads panel.

This is why we call Method R Trace a zero-click trace file collector: once Method R Trace is enabled, and your destination folder is what you want, the only button you click (the one you clicked in step 2) is a button you’d have clicked anyway. The net effect: trace file, no extra effort.

You can open files directly from the Trace File Downloads panel by double-clicking. Each row’s context menu (right-click) gives you more options, like opening the file with your application of choice, showing its containing folder, or deleting the file from your local file system.

You can move this panel or even hide it; just use View › Trace File Downloads to reveal it if you can’t see it.

Convenience Options


Method R Trace is a trace file collector. Once you’ve collected a file, you’re probably going to want to feed that file to another software tool to analyze it. Here are some ideas for how to do that:

  • You can control what folder Method R Trace will put your next trace file in, right from the Trace File Downloads panel. This makes it easy to feed files to the Method R Workbench product. Create folders to keep your trace files organized by project, application, and function, and instruct Method R Trace to put your files right where they belong. Then just load those files from your file manager (Finder, Explorer, …) into the Workbench files pane.
  • You can right-click a row and choose Show Containing Folder. This opens your file manager application so you can easily move files from your Method R Trace folder to somewhere else if you want.
  • You can use the SQL Developer Tools › External Tools… feature to register an external program so that you can open that program by double-clicking a row, or by using the Open With context menu option. You can, for example, register your favorite text editor to be your default application that would open your trace file when you double-click it.

External Tools

Defining Oracle SQL Developer external tools lets you create your own trace file Open With 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 the 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 Workbench user on macOS, you can add the Method R Workbench to your list of external tools by using the following settings:

Program Executable: open
Arguments: -a “/Applications/Method R” ${file.path}
Run Directory:
Caption for Menu Items: Method &R Workbench
ToolTip Text: Method R Workbench
Icon Location: /Applications/Method R