Sunday, June 25, 2006

Report from ODTUG, Washington DC 2006

ODTUG 2006 was held in Washington, DC, this year and it was, as usual, a great conference, even if I didn't win any awards. Ah, well, maybe next year....I had a treat on arrival to the Washington National airport (I'd really rather not use the newer, more distasteful name of the airport). Coming out of the gate area I faced a small gift shop that showcased "Three more years" t-shirts and paraphenalia. I found it very refreshing that one of the main gateways into the capitol would offer for sale such blatantly and mockingly anti-Bush stuff. Ah, the wonders of capitalism! If they buy it, we will sell it.

Well, back to ODTUG. I was very fortunate that my wife, Veva, came with me. As a result, I stayed longer and was in a better mood than usual. See, when I go to conferences, I mostly just want to go back home as soon as possible, to be with my family and get back to my comfort zone of programming and writing. With Veva around, however, I actually attended some of the social events!

Here are some PL/SQL-related ODTUG highlights:

1. Quest announced that it had acquired my two tools, Qnxo and Qute. We are now working hard to prepare Qute, a revolutionary unit testing tool for PL/SQL developers, for general availability at Oracle Open World 2006 (October 2006). You can download, try and give feedback on Qute by visiting

2. The ODTUG board of directors announced on Monday that it would henceforth be sponsoring and organizing an annual PL/SQL training conference, chaired by, well, me. I held the first PL/SQL conference, Oracle PL/SQL Programming 2005, last November. Attendees enjoyed it greatly and immediately clamored for another in 2006. We are not yet sure of the date and location for this event, but I am very pleased to be working closely with ODTUG for future PL/SQL events. More news to come.

3. Lots of well-attended PL/SQL sessions. As Lucas Jellema of AMIS mentioned at the start of his Wednesday presentation, he has discovered the secret to a successful ODTUG session: put "PL/SQL" in the title. Not only were there a goodly number of PL/SQL presentations, but there were some new and very interesting ones, including: "PL/SQL for Dummies" by Paul Dorsey and Michael Rosenblum, authors of a new book by the same name; "Design Patterns in PL/SQL: Pre-inventing the Wheel" by Lucas, a fascinating look at how we in the PL/SQL world can leverage the concept and power of design patterns in our work; . Oh, and I gave two talks, one on "SQL games we can play in PL/SQL" and "Six simple steps to unit testing happiness"— I think they went well. I guess I will find out when I see the evaluations!

But as wonderful as all of the above happenings were, for me by far the absolute highlight of ODTUG 2006 was Bobert Dorsey. Bobert is 6 months old, the son of renowned author and teacher, Dr. Paul Dorsey, and his wife, Illeana Balcu. Bobert's real name is Robert, but he goes by Bobert (as well as "What a cute baby!"), he has wonderfully big round cheeks, and an incredibly friendly disposition. We got along famously.

As you well know, I enjoy PL/SQL greatly, but I would much rather hold, play with, and talk to babies any and every time. After all, who and what can be more important to humanity than its children? When I see a baby, I am totally shameless about asking his or her parent if I can hold him/her. Just ask Paul when you see him next. Thanks, Paul and Illeana, for being so generous and trusting!

For some additional commentary on the ODTUG show check out:

And I strongly encourage you to read Lucas' (and other Amis consultants') recent writings on PL/SQL, which do a great job at getting us to think about different ways to use PL/SQL.