Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back from Oracle Open World

(finally getting around to posting this!)

I am flying back from San Francisco; it is Wednesday evening, November 13. I made a relatively early departure from the overwhelming Oracle Open World conference, but I made good use of my time while there:

* Three presentations, with probably a total of 700 attendees. Nothing like Tom Kyte's blow-out experience, but hey there's no percentage in worrying about whether you could ever be as popular (or technically proficient) as Mr. Ask Tom!

* A Meet the Experts informal discussion at the OTN Lounge

* A book signing at the Toad World event on Tuesday night (O'Reilly Media released new editions of two of my books: Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices and Oracle PL/SQL Pocket Reference. The BP book is completely rewritten and, I think, one of my finer efforts. I hope you pick up a copy and enjoy it!

* Publishers Forum, an opportunity for senior Oracle managers to tell us what books they'd like us to be writing :-)

* Several media interviews - which gave me solid opportunities to repeat my latest mantra: "it is time to take testing much more seriously."

* Many one-on-one discussions with programmers on our favorite topic: PL/SQL.

As I implied above, I find the OOW experience to be generally quite overwhelming. Too many people, too much dilution of focus (DBAs and developers now seem to be a clear minority of attendees, with the majority "playing" in the application space). And, I must admit, large crowds simply make me nervous. I find humans mostly pleasant and rationale on an individual basis. In groups of 40,000 thought....hmmmm.....

Oracle addressed this issue somewhat by putting all developer-focused talks into a sub-conference at the Hilton hotel; that was very convenient, cutting down on the number of trips I had to make to Moscone.

Still, I remember with fondness the "old days," when OOW only had perhaps 5,000 in attendance, instead of 40,000. It was a much more technical experience, and much less of a marketing extravaganza by Oracle.

I am very glad to have gone, though. It is extremely important to make sure that PL/SQL has the highest possible visibility at OOW (Bryn Llewellyn, PL/SQL Product Manager, also had three presentations). This will cut down on the chance that the "PL/SQL is going to be replaced by Java" rumors will flourish once more.

I still get that question, though, and it always surprises me. Even if Oracle did rewrite the entire range of application software in Java, PL/SQL will not disappear. It runs hundreds of thousands of applications worldwide - PL/SQL will be around for as long as Oracle, and Oracle will continue to invest in improvements to the language. Of this, I am certain.

I also was able to enjoy a room on the 43rd floor of the Hilton, looking out over the Bay. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises and no evidence of the oil spill that has caused the latest ecological crisis in the area.

All in all, a quick and productive three days. And now back in Chicago, where autumn has arrived in full force and the land has turned yellow, as this view from my front door reveals.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Catching up with me at Oracle Open World

Sorry about the lateness of this posting, but if you are interested in attending my presentations next week at Oracle Open World, here's the info:

Session ID: S290723
Session Title: Break Your Addiction to SQL!
Track: Database
Room: Grand Ballroom A
Date: 2007-11-12
Start Time: 12:30

Session ID: S290725
Session Title: Collect Yourself: Optimize PL/SQL Code with Collections
Track: Database
Room: Yosemite Room B
Date: 2007-11-12
Start Time: 15:15

Session ID: S290727
Session Title: Test-Driven Development in the World of Oracle PL/SQL
Track: Database
Room: Continental Ballroom 6
Date: 2007-11-13
Start Time: 12:15

In addition, I will be at the OTN Lounge on Tuesday the 13th (Moscone West) at 4:15 PM. I would love to see you there, and I think we will be raffling off a few of my books – you have very good odds on winning one of these!

Finally, on Tuesday night, I will be at the Quest Toad event (come round the booth #1414 for details) at which I will be signing complementary copies of my newest books (or latest editions, anyway).

Other than that, I will be hanging out at the Quest booth, eager to give demonstrations of Quest Code Tester....

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More joys of Scrabble: zeugma


Now, that is a fine word, except it sounds like a made-up word.

I would have thought, in fact, that it was, but one of the joys of playing Scrabble (our way of playing, anyhow) is that you are given the opportunity to go exploring through the dictionary.

Sure, when I open the dictionary, I am supposed to simply be verifying the existence of a word. Along the way, however, my eye stops on the first and last words of the page and occasionally I get a nice surprise.

Like "zeugma."

Here is an example of a zeugma:

"He caught a fish and a bad cold."

So, you have waited long enough. Here is the definition of zeugma:

"The use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is appropriate to only one or them or is appropriate to each but in a different way."

Like I said: a very fine word!