Saturday, September 22, 2007

PL/SQL developers converge on .... Newark!

Just back from the third Oracle PL/SQL Programming conference: OPP2007-East.

Close to 200 developers and their close friends in Quest Software, Oracle Corp, OReilly Media and Dulcian (the sponsors) gathered at the Sheraton Newark Airport Hotel to rejoice in all that is PL/SQL: two days of intensive training, conversation and contests.

Unlike the "work hard, play hard" theme of ODTUG's Kaleidoscope conference (held in June), we at OPP proudly call ourselves the "Seriously Practical" conference.

At OPP, we mostly work you hard and then work you some more.

I started off on Tuesday with a keynote at 8:15 AM, after which there were five 1.5 hour sessions organized in four tracks (Best Practices, Fundamentals, Advanced and Vendor). The sessions ended at 7:15 PM. But wait -- that's not all! For another twenty or so brave souls, it was time to participate in the third-ever PL/SQL Test-a-Thon.

The Test-a-Thon ("Who can build the most/best automated tests for a set of programs you've never seen before, in an hour?") went till 9 PM, resulting in a very pleased winner (closely beating out two others nipping at his heels): Todd Barkus of Barkus Consulting, Minneapolis. Congratulations, Todd!

That is one very long day, and with little time for sleep, we all gathered the next morning at 8 AM to listen to Bryn Llewellyn, PL/SQL Product Manager, tell us all about the wonders to come in Oracle Database 11g.

Poor fellow - his laptop powered down on its own accord twice, leaving him to explain things like the Function Result Cache, compound triggers, native compilation and more without the benefit of a single Powerpoint slide. Horrors! As expected, though, Bryn captivated his audiences with both his technical know-how and dry wit.

Cursory scans of attendee evaluations reveal the following:
  • Continued, tremendous enthusiasm for PL/SQL and the OPP conferences
  • Great appreciation for the deep expertise of the instructors. (Well, it is rather hard to hide behind a superficial understanding of topics when you have one or more 1.5 hours sessions to fill!)
  • "We don't want to do five sessions in one day, going from 8 AM to 7:15PM!"
  • "We need more breaks - 1.5 hours straight is tough to do over and over again."
Wimps. :-) OK, OK, we will look adjusting our schedule!

Many thanks to ODTUG for taking on sponsorship of these conferences, to Kathleen McCasland and YCC for its very competent organizing of the event, to Bryn Llewellyn and the PL/SQL team for their fine work on our language of choice, to our other speakers/instructors (John Jeunnette, John Beresniewicz, Ken Atkins, Karen Morton, Paul Dorsey, Mary Hunsaker Gable, Ron Hardman, John Pocknell, Mark Sewtz and Anthony Harper).

We are thinking now about holding the next OPP in the Southwest, in the first quarter of 2008. If you would like to be informed about our Oracle PL/SQL Programming conferences, let me know by sending an email to

1 comment:

L. Craig Schoonmaker said...

Did any of the participants get to see anything of Newark but the hotel? Newarkers are always glad when out-of-towners come to visit, and have nothing negative to say when they leave, but there is much more to see of Newark than conference rooms. Had they managed to get to NJPAC, the Newark Museum, or one of the great Iberian restaurants in the Ironbound, conference participants might have been very favorably impressed, and passed along that info to their colleagues, not just what they learned in training sessions.