28 April 2010

A Learning Library!

Oracle has added a new Learning Library which will help you when you're looking for demonstrations or online tutorials. This is a neat (Oracle APEX) application which basically provides a new user interface to the same Oracle by Example (OBE) tutorial content available on OTN. The difference is that you don't need to scroll down through lists of OBEs or search various sites to find online demonstrations.

You can find the Learning Library here: http://otn.oracle.com/obe. The material from my team is under the database section, so you can select that node and then add in your search criteria. For example, just add "model" to the search and you'll see the 3 current Data Modeler tutorials and the latest data Modeler tutorial, published just this week.
We also have a new SQL Developer 2.1 New Features OBE.

The library also lists online demonstrations, which are all typically around 3 - 5 minutes long, focusing on just a small feature area. This means that a search for SQL Developer material will result in tutorials and online demonstrations. It saves you wading through endless pages looking for help. Select "All Content" and add the search SQLDEV and you'll find quite a nice long list... Let us know what you'd like to see next!

26 April 2010

Trains,Taxis, Ferries and Apologies

Norwegian User Group

The week before last I went to Norway to present two papers at a new user group. Well, the Norwegian Oracle User Group is not new, but has been running for a few years now. The fun thing is that it's growing each year and so there is now a steady audience. Interestingly enough it's a pretty focused audience of DBAs and Database developers, with the application developers noticeably absent. I think a new stream has potential, JDeveloper? Oracle APEX developers? perhaps you need to look into this event and suggest an application developer addition.

Anyway the novel thing about this event is that it's held on a boat (huge cruise liner /ferry that runs between Oslo and Kiel), so the audience does not wander off to play golf or swim on the sea, as they can do at some events. (Fine for the organizers who have the registrations, not so fine for those of us hoping to talk to a nice big audience.) Anyway, this was good. I had a nice crowd for SQL Developer 2.1 Overview and New features and a nice crowd for SQL Developer Data Modeler. The downside with the latter talk was that I tried to fit in why you should model, how you should model and all the features of the Data Modeler in a single session. I should know better!!

I must apologize to those waiting on the phone or trying to attend last week's SQL Developer 2.1 web cast - to no avail. Kris stood in for me, but he had to use his dial in and conference details and we were unable to get the new details to everyone before the event. The reason I was stuck was because I had been out in Norway when the airports were closed. The web cast was not recorded, but I'll do a cut down recoding and add that to the web cast site later this week.

Following the conference and back in Oslo we had the news that there were no flights out that day and possibly the next. I didn't think much of it. How bad can it be, I'd had my lost suitcase found, so I could stay on a little and fly back on the next available flight. The rest is history... By Sunday there was talk that this might be weeks and by that stage the ferries and various channel crossings were fully booked at least until Wednesday. So we decided the best decision was to make our way home. Here is where the Internet is so powerful and the world a truly amazingly connected place. I sat down and started to plan and book a train journey home. With lots of suggestions offered by friends and passers by, between two of us traveling the same route, we planned and booked a route home.
Starting at 4am on Monday morning, we started on a bus and then a train to get to Oslo, where the journey really did start - then over to Goteborg (Sweden), then Copenhagen (Denmark), then, still by train, across to Germany (with the train ion the ferry) to Hamburg, across Germany to Cologne and then to Brussels and across to the UK London and home, arriving back here on Wednesday night. The time delay was due to some trains being full and having to wait for the later trains. It is the way to travel of course. Assuming you have a seat, this is a much calmer way of crossing continents, and you get a much stronger feel for the vast distances we cover when just hopping on a plane and swapping countries. In all, the journey was a good experience and most travelers in good spirit, with some tales more absurd than others.

12 April 2010

SQL Developer Exchange - Not Just for Feature Requests

Recently I wrote about the SQL Developer Exchange (http://sqldeveloper.oracle.com) , focusing on the new feature requests area. You may or may not be aware that there is also a Tips and Tricks area. Anything you you find useful and want to pass along, just add it here! The latest Tip is on working with SQL Developer and Linux. Srini has a few SQL Developer/Linux blog entries and he's added the latest blog entry to the Exchange and so if you are unaware of his blog and want a quick tip, take a look at the steps in the SQL Developer Exchange | Tips & Tricks section.

09 April 2010

Steven Feuerstein's PL/SQL Challenge

If you have not already seen this then take a look at Steven's latest initiative: "The PL/SQL Challenge " http://plsqlchallenge.com The Challenge was launched on the 1st April and so you can get involved right now. The Challenge should do a number of things, you might "meet" some new PL/SQL whizz-kids or indeed find you are greatly proficient yourself, I'm certain you'll learn stuff and have some fun while you're at it.

As Steven says
"The Challenge is free and simple: you play the quiz each weekday. We keep score. You get ranked. Every three months, the top-ranking players compete in a quarterly championship to award first, second and third prizes. Cash prizes, among others. But that's not all. Every month, we will raffle off other prizes to anyone who played the quiz that month. And the more you play, the greater your chance of winning. "

The site looks great and is easy to get around, you should be able to nip in each day and play. Take a look at the rules too, it all looks like good fun. What's more you'll probably learn bits too, with the Oracle database, rules change over the years, some of the questions and answers may well have you delving into an area you are unfamiliar with or even scratching your head with "I didn't realize that was true". Nice.

08 April 2010

An Oracle Developer Day Near You!

Oracle runs Oracle Developer Days (ODD) for all kinds of topics. Typically they're a 1 day event, jam packed full of information. Most start with a keynote session, and then offer two or more tracks, so you hear a general talk and then have a choice of tracks and subject areas to switch to. In these tracks the speakers go into more detail about the topic. What's more these are designed to introduce you to new subjects, so if you've always worked with one set of products, you can sit in on something quite new and learn. Some include hands-on sessions while others are all presentations, with a variety of speakers who demonstrate the features.

The Database Development Tools PM team are running a series of these Developer Days and the next one is in Orange County, USA. This is a 4 track event, with two main keynote talks in the morning and you get to spend the afternoon doing hands-on. Just bring your own laptop. Read all the details and register by clicking on this event link.

There is another planned for June in Reston, near Washington DC and another in August near Oracle HQ, near San Francisco. These Developer Days are also being run in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) and in APAC (Asia Pacific), so you're sure to find one near you.