Thursday, September 30, 2010

Say Goodbye to Hardcoding - 6 October webinar - join me!

Last week, I did a webinar, sponsored by Quest, for about 45 developers on "Programming with Collections."

On 6 October, I will present one of my all time favorite webinars: Say Goodbye to Hard-Coding in PL/SQL. Hard-coding is something everyone knows about, hates, and keeps on doing anyway. Especially because we tend to think of "hard-coding" as nothing but those literal values.

But hard-coding can appear in many different forms. The webinar explores all those forms, explains why they are hard-codings, and offers solutions to get rid of the hard-coding and be left with a "single point of definition" for values, formulas, etc.

Interested? Get more information and register here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I am a Quinquaganerian

And proud of it.

Isn't that an amazing word? It's worth playing Scrabble, just to discover words like this one (in the dictionary where I am looking up a word in vain hope that it actually is a word).

So: quinquaganerian:

50 years old, or between the ages of 50 and 60
a person of this age

I am 52 years old and so I am a quinquagenarian.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Announcement of Prize Winners at Oracle Develop / Oracle Open World

The three-day contest at Oracle OpenWorld and Oracle Develop on the PL/SQL Challenge has now ended!

We have analyzed the answers from everyone who played the daily quiz over the last three days and also checked the box indicating they were in San Francisco and could pick up their prizes.

Winners of the Oracle OpenWorld and Oracle Develop prize pool can, in fact, pick up their prizes by visiting the Mason Street Tent Thursday, September 23, anytime between 7:00 am - 4:30 pm to pick up your prizes at the Oracle Technology Network info desk. Steven Feuerstein will be present from noon to 1 PM to congratulate you, sign books, and join you in a celebratory photo - if you so desire. If you do not claim your prize Thursday, September 23 by 4:30 PM it will be forfeit. So much for the fine print. Let's get to the Big News!
Congratulations to everyone who is listed below (note: the names displayed are those chosen by the PL/SQL Challenge player). We hope that you will all continue to play the PL/SQL Challenge each day and tune up your PL/SQL skills and knowledge even further.

Warm regards,
Steven Feuerstein
First Place

Tim Lindemulder placed first with a score of 1171 answering 3 quizzes in 238 seconds and wins:  an Amazon Kindle.

Second Place

Rob van Wijk placed second with a score of 1154 answering 3 quizzes in 285 seconds and wins:  a $100 gift card.

Winners of  O'Reilly Media Oracle PL/SQL bundle: Oracle PL/SQL Programming 5th edition, Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices 2nd edition, Oracle PL/SQL Pocket Reference, 4th edition

Bjoern Rost placed 3 with a score of 1110 answering 3 quizzes in 419 seconds

poelger placed 4 with a score of 1104 answering 3 quizzes in 440 seconds

Patrick Wolf placed 5 with a score of 1098 answering 3 quizzes in 459 seconds

John W. Schultz placed 6 with a score of 1095 answering 3 quizzes in 286 seconds

Justin Cave placed 7 with a score of 1084 answering 3 quizzes in 498 seconds

Winners of Oracle PL/SQL Programming 5th edition

Ralf Koelling placed 8 with a score of 1073 answering 3 quizzes in 532 seconds

Greg Belliveau placed 9 with a score of 1061 answering 3 quizzes in 566 seconds

Iloon Ellen placed 10 with a score of 1031 answering 3 quizzes in 476 seconds

Alison placed 11 with a score of 940 answering 3 quizzes in 376 seconds

Jonathan Hart placed 12 with a score of 877 answering 2 quizzes in 368 seconds and wins

Winners of $50 giftcard

John Jeunnette placed 13 with a score of 797 answering 3 quizzes in 462 seconds

shra1 placed 14 with a score of 766 answering 2 quizzes in 702 seconds

Winners of your choice of O'Reilly Media Oracle PL/SQL bundle: Oracle PL/SQL Programming 5th edition, Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices 2nd edition, Oracle PL/SQL Pocket Reference, 4th edition (some books may not be available)

Craig Robinson placed 15 with a score of 725 answering 3 quizzes in 496 seconds

Nuno Ornelas placed 16 with a score of 716 answering 3 quizzes in 520 seconds

Fuad Arshad placed 17 with a score of 714 answering 3 quizzes in 155 seconds

Roel Hartman placed 18 with a score of 607 answering 3 quizzes in 27033 seconds

steve aho placed 19 with a score of 601 answering 3 quizzes in 697 seconds

Rob Dawson placed 20 with a score of 436 answering 2 quizzes in 193 seconds

phowells placed 21 with a score of 342 answering 2 quizzes in 295 seconds

Texas placed 22 with a score of 302 answering 2 quizzes in 595 seconds

KevinZhang placed 23 with a score of 268 answering 2 quizzes in 698 seconds

TigerFan placed 24 with a score of 237 answering 2 quizzes in 1117 seconds

Coleman Leviter placed 25 with a score of 219 answering 2 quizzes in 287 seconds

Ara placed 26 with a score of 217 answering 1 quizzes in 99 seconds

Eric Tegenfeldt placed 27 with a score of 215 answering 1 quizzes in 104 seconds

John Flack placed 28 with a score of 207 answering 1 quizzes in 128 seconds

Lori  Townsend placed 29 with a score of 204 answering 2 quizzes in 138 seconds

Gonzalo  Segarra placed 30 with a score of 155 answering 1 quizzes in 104 seconds

PeaellSlashSeaquell placed 31 with a score of 148 answering 1 quizzes in 307 seconds

Dennis Ruane placed 32 with a score of 143 answering 1 quizzes in 142 seconds

C. Scyphers placed 33 with a score of 140 answering 2 quizzes in 1261 seconds

diggitydog placed 34 with a score of 121 answering 1 quizzes in 387 seconds

mnrbradley placed 35 with a score of 40 answering 2 quizzes in 272 seconds

Sunday, September 19, 2010

PL/SQL Challenge Prizes You Can Win During Oracle Open World Week

Here's a recap of all the prizes you can win this week playing the daily quiz. The first table shows what you could win if you are attending Oracle Open World or Oracle Develop. The second table shows the fantastic prizes available to anyone playing around the world.

Good luck to everyone!

For those attending Oracle OpenWorld or Oracle Develop:

Amazon Kindle ebook reader ($260)
$100 giftcard
O'Reilly Media Oracle PL/SQL bundle: Oracle PL/SQL Programming 5th edition, Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices 2nd edition, Oracle PL/SQL Pocket Reference, 4th edition ($120 value)
8 - 12
Oracle PL/SQL Programming 5th edition ($70 value)
$50 giftcard
5 Oracle PL/SQL Programming 5th edition
15 Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices 2nd edition
15 Oracle PL/SQL Pocket Reference, 4th edition

For those not attending Oracle OpenWorld or Oracle Develop:

Complimentary registration to the ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2011 conference, a US$1775 value.
Complimentary registration in your choice of the Oracle PL/SQL Programming/APEXposed conferences, a US$600 value
Complimentary membership in the ODTUG organization, a US$175 value

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Win Many Great Prizes at Special PL/SQL Challenge Competition during Oracle Develop 2010

PL/SQL Challenge (a daily quiz for PL/SQL developers) will be holding a special challenge during the week of Oracle OpenWorld and Oracle Develop. From September 20 through September 22 (with start and end of days determined by UTC time), you take the daily quiz through the PL/SQL Challenge website: We will have two prize pools; one for Oracle OpenWorld and Oracle Develop attendees (with prizes provided by PL/SQL Challenge and O'Reilly Media)and another for non-attendees (playing from anywhere in the world).

If you are attending Oracle OpenWorld or Oracle Develop when you submit your answer, be sure to check the box labeled "I am at Oracle OpenWorld/Oracle Develop and can pick up my prize at the Mason Street Tent."

After the quiz ends on Wednesday, September 22nd, prizes will be awarded both for top ranking (highest scores for the three days of quizzes) and prizes will be raffled off for all those who took at least one quiz (the more you take, the greater your chance of winning).

We will announce the winners no later than midnight in San Francisco, 22nd September, with the list available on the PL/SQL Challenge blog, the Oracle Develop blog, Steven Feuerstein's blog, and on the PL/SQL Challenge website.

Winners of the Oracle OpenWorld and Oracle Develop prize pool then visit the Mason Street Tent Thursday, September 23, anytime between 7:00 am - 4:30 pm to pick up your prizes at the Oracle Technology Network info desk. I will be present from noon to 1 PM to congratulate you, sign books, and join you in a celebratory photo - if you so desire. If you do not claim your prize Thursday, September 23 by 4:30 PM it will be forfeit.

For those not attending Oracle Open World or Oracle Develop, the PL/SQL Challenge celebrates this enormous gathering of Oracle technologists by offering a set of special prizes for the week starting September 20. Instead of the usual two prizes for high rank and participation in that week, you could win any of the following:
Remember: you do not need to attend Oracle OpenWorld or Oracle Develop to participate in this special competition, but if you are in San Francisco, you could win a special, attendee-only prize -so be sure to check that box when you submit your answer!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fantastic PL/SQL Training Conferences: Dallas and Brussels

Since 2005, ODTUG has sponsored annual PL/SQL-specific conferences, which are now organized in conjunction with an APEX conference: OPP and APEXposed.

This year, we will for the first time hold the joint conference in Europe, specifically in Brussels, on October 27-28.

The U.S. conference will be held in Dallas on November 10-11.

The OPP conference offers the best training value on PL/SQL around. Two days, three tracks of presentations (including almost two full days of training by me), expert presenters, including in Dallas the PL/SQL Product Manager, Bryn Llewellyn.

If you are looking for ways to get "trained up" in PL/SQL and also meet and talk with some of the best PL/SQL developers in the world, I urge you attend the OPP-APEXposed conference.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sign up for my Fall 2010 Webinar Trainings!

Looking for a way to strengthen your PL/SQL skills without leaving your cubicle? Then I encourage you to talk to your manager about enrolling in or more of the following Quest-sponsored webinars:

Back by popular demand! Steven Feuerstein, Quest Software’s PL/SQL Evangelist and one of the world’s leading experts in the language, will conduct a third series of webcasts that will put you on the fast track to maximizing your understanding and use of Oracle PL/SQL. Attend this Quest-exclusive series of webcasts delivered by Steven and gain invaluable techniques and insights that you can put to work immediately. You will learn how to make the most of PL/SQL to dramatically improve the quality and performance of your programs. Steven will also answer questions from attendees during a live Q&A session at the end of each webcast. Each webcast lasts approximately two hours.

Session 1: Programming with Collections

Monday, September 27, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern ($200.00 US)

Collections (array-like structures in PL/SQL) are critical data structures that are used in some of the most important features of PL/SQL. Every PL/SQL developer should have a deep familiarity with collections and the wide range of features that Oracle has implemented for them over the years. This session introduces collections and quickly moves on to detailed explanations of collection methods, how to leverage string indexing in associative arrays, multi-level collections, set-level operations on nested tables and more. The session will run for approximately two hours.

Session 2: Say Goodbye to Hard-Coding in PL/SQL

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern ($200.00 US)

Everyone knows that hard-coding is a bad idea. Too many developers, however, only think in terms of literal values when they think of hard-coding. There are, unfortunately, many ways that hard-coding manifests itself in our programs. This webinar offers a comprehensive look at all the types of hard-coding that can appear in your programs, from literals to explicit declarations to exposed formulas, and offers specific techniques to get rid of the hard-coding. The result is code that is much easier to read and to maintain. The session will last approximately two hours.

Session 3: Dynamic SQL in Oracle PL/SQL

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern ($200.00 US)

Dynamic SQL (construction, parsing and execution of SQL statements and PL/SQL blocks at runtime) has become a common and critical element of most modern applications. PL/SQL offers two distinct methods for dynamic SQL: native dynamic SQL (NDS) and DBMS_SQL. This webinar focuses primarily on the capabilities of native dynamic SQL: how to use EXECUTE IMMEDIATE to execute dynamic query, DML, and DDL statements. We will also go beyond the basics and delve into when to use DBMS_SQL (method 4 dynamic SQL), and new Oracle Database 11g features for dynamic SQL (most importantly, interoperability between DBMS_SQL and NDS. The session will last approximately two hours.

Register Now!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Giving thanks to the inventor of 71D

71D - the digits and letter have a beautiful ring to them - because I just [well, over a week now - I just remembered I had not posted this entry!] flew back from Sydney on a massive A380 passenger jet, and I was not able to upgrade to business class.

How is that I, American Airlines Executive Platinum all-around Special Flyer, could not get an upgrade? Because AA handed over all their Australia flights to Qantas and even though my EP status on AA gets me into Qantas First Class Lounges (and that lounge in Sydney is truly fantastic), it does not get me anywhere when it comes to upgrades.

So I had to fly for 15 hours in economy. How about the exit row or bulkhead? Nope, they don't even assign those till day of flight....but somehow my friends at American Airlines were able to reserve seat 71D for me. "So what?" you ask. So...let's visit and see what they have to say about 71D. First, the picture:

Ah...notice the lovely green color on 71D - it is something every seasoned flyer looks for. That means something good, actually positive, is going on in that seat. What could it be?

Class: Economy
Seat Type: Recliner
Power: AC Power
Video: Personal TV
Review: Seat 71D has extra legroom since there is no seat directly in front of it.

Frabjous joy! Extra legroom! AC Power! And they aren't kidding. 71D is an incredible seat. There must have been five FEET of open space between my seat and 70D. And, yes, I could plug in the power cord of my laptop. So what did I do with my lovely seat? Well, let's see, I managed to sleep for perhaps one hour of the 15 hour flight. And probably for another ten hours, I worked on my laptop.

A whole bunch of quizzes for the PL/SQL Challenge, bug fixes for Code Tester V2, blog postings, specifications for this and that....then I decided, what the heck, watch a movie on their fine high def personal video system. So I picked out Iron Man 2, heavily branded with Oracle Corporation silliness.

What a poor excuse for a movie. I actually felt a little embarrassed for Larry Ellison for being in it and, well, me for watching it. What I don't get is how film companies can spend so much money on these productions and still do such a piss-poor job of plot construction and dialogue.

But it did pass the time, and then I was home - not a bad flight at all, all things considered - and all because of the inventor of 71D!