Oracle Instant Client

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So today was my first day as a Software Engineer at Time Inc. I can already tell it’s going to be such an incredible learning experience, and all we did was environment setup today.

The hardest part about all of this, was setting up the client for an Oracle database. An Oracle database is an object-relational database management system, which means that it is similar to a relational-database but uses an object-oriented model. Essential, it supports objects, classes and inheritence directly in the database schemas and query language, as well as supports custom data-types and methods.

The process of installing took me roughly 4 hours, even with the help of some great blog guides. So I thought I would give it a go at simplyifying the process even further.

1. The first step is to find your operating system in order to download the necessary components. I was using a Mac OS X Intel. Those options can be found here .

2. Download Instant Client Basic, SDK and SQL*Plus. SDK stands for software development kit, and is a set of developer tools. SQLPlus is a command line tool for making SQL queries to an Oracle database. Those options can be found here. One thing I will make note of, I originally tried downloading the latest Version,, but ended up having to remove all those directories and start over again with Version with the 64-bit package.

3. When I downloaded the instant client, SDK and SQLPlus, they were already unzipped, so I was able to bypass that step (I was using OS X, 10.8.5). The next step was to make a directory to store instant client: mkdir ~/opt/oracle

4. Because instant client, SQL*Plus and SDK all download into different directories, I combined the SQLPlus and SDK directories into the instant client directory, making everything much more compact.

5. Next, I moved my instantclient directory into my /opt/oracle directory: mv instantclient /opt/oracle

6. Setting up sym links to the libraries:

  ln -s libclntsh.dylib.10.1 libclntsh.dylib
  ln -s libocci.dylib.10.1 libocci.dylib

7. The next step is to set up ORACLE_HOME, NLS_LANG and DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH variables. I chose to set up my variables inside my .bash_profile:

  export ORACLE_HOME=/opt/oracle
  #export ORACLE_HOME=/usr/local/oracle
  export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ORACLE_HOME/instantclient
  export SQLPATH=$ORACLE_HOME/instantclient
  export ARCHFLAGS="-arch x86_64"
  export TNS_ADMIN=$ORACLE_HOME/network/admin

Obviously, these paths will change base on your own selection for directory names.

8. The final step is to put SQL*Plus in your $PATH. I did this by creating a symlink (I already had usr/local/bin in my $PATH)

  ln -s /opt/oracle/instantclient/sqlplus /usr/local/bin/sqlplus

You can test to make sure this works by running which sqlplus, which should return /usr/local/bin/sqlplus

9. The final step is to test it all out! Try running gem install ruby-oci8 and Oracle instant client should be all set up!

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