Thursday, 20 December 2007

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

(Okay, I couldn't think of a funny and original title, but this one says it all really)

To the readers of this blog, plus the great people I've met this year at OOW and other events, and those kind people who have helped me out via my overly insistent emails, and everybody in the Oracle blogger arena (did I miss anyone?), I'd like to wish you and your family a relaxing and fruitful Christmas and New Years!

I'm shutting the blog down for 2 weeks while I take a well earned, um, well, nearly well earned break from all things Oracle. I've been threatened with a thumping from the missus if I mention the "O" or "J" words over the next 2 weeks.

Have a beer for me! :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

JDeveloper 11g guides

If you're using the JDeveloper 11g TP2 release and you're missing the single manual guides from JDeveloper 10g rather than the online help, check out the Oracle JDeveloper 11g Technology Preview page for the Oracle ADF Developer Guide (pdf) and the Oracle ADF Faces Web UI Developer Guide (pdf). Both draft guides have recently been updated and will provide great Christmas reading while you digest the left over turkey.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Advert: JDeveloper workshops in Australia and New Zealand 2008

Scared of JDeveloper because you don't know Java, but worried you'll miss the boat in developing Oracle web applications with Oracle's development tool of choice for Fusion development?

SAGE Computing Services in conjunction with the Australian Oracle User Group (AUSOUG) are giving you the chance to attend this whole day event on Oracle's latest JDeveloper 11g Technical Preview 2 version. The workshop will be held around Australia and also in New Zealand in February and April 2008.

This 1 day workshop will introduce you to the simplicity of JDeveloper 11g's drag-n-drop facilities, wizard and editor IDE, as well as declarative programming model for quickly developing a web application using ADF Business Component and ADF Faces, without a single line of Java!

Check out the AUSOUG event web page for more information and how to register. We look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

New Aussie Oracle database blogger

Yah, my 100th blog post! You just can't shut me up.

Talking about people you can't shut up, with Marcel Kratchovil this year I had the chance to meet Richard Foote from the Australian Capital Territory (you know, where Canberra the capital of Australia is) at OOW this year. Richard is an ex-ACT Oracle User Group President, is full of great DBA stories and good opinions to boot, and I note he had a number of people rapped at his OOW Unconference session on indexes.

Richard has decided to finally dive in as an Aussie Oracle blogger, with his new blog Richard Foote's Oracle Blog. While I'm not going to give Richard any points for an inspiring blog name (sorry Richard, with a surname like "Foote" you had so many great puns you could have gone with), I wish him all the luck in his new blog endeavours.

+1 to the Aussie team. 0 for the rest of the World.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Why doesn't the Oracle RDBMS feature in the web space?

There was a recent post by Nati Shalom analyzing Why most large-scale web sites not written in Java based on a statistics from Pingdom on What nine of the world’s largest websites are running on.

Assuming the Pingdom analysis is correct, there is a glaring whole in the database technologies category used by major websites; Where is Oracle?

Geva Perry picked up on this in his post Where is Oracle?. There are a number of other follow up posts within the blogosphere, but unfortunately mostly have degenerated into personality clashes, protecting personal agendas and the usual large corporation bashing; you can follow the trail if you so desire.

But the question is still valid and seems to have passed the Oracle blogosphere by in the last few month possibly thanks to OOW (unless I missed it of course). Where is Oracle in the web space? Given that there is so much publicity about the Web 2.0 world and innovation making it an important market at the moment, why doesn't the Oracle RDBMS feature in that arena? Many of us claim that the Oracle RDBMS is a very sophisticated product, but why is the apparent market leader in RDBMS technology not adopted as the RDBMS of choice by web companies?

Maybe it's a question of ongoing cost. MySQL and the LAMP stack are free.

Maybe these web companies came from the "start-up" mold, were experimental to start with, and as such the reliance of free products from day 1 was imperative to get their products and services out the door?

Maybe it's a question of open source, and the ability to rewrite and debug the entire stack?

Maybe the Oracle RDBMS is overkill for the database requirements of most websites?

Or maybe the analysis is just plain wrong.

What's your opinion of why the Oracle RDBMS is missing?

Footnote: You'll note that there are some obvious missing web companies in the Pingdom analysis, including Google, Yahoo etc.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Conference widows

Filed under "I'm really all pink and squishy inside."

I've just come off 3 weeks of conferences, having visited OOW in San Fran, the Perth Australia leg of the AUSOUG conference, as well as the Melbourne leg too. Conferences, whether you're just attending or actually participating, can take up a fair amount of work and home time in preparation, during the conferences and the lead up time. Multiple that by 3 and you'll know that I've recently had a very busy time.

In all the excitement of attending such events, it can be easy to forget the "significant other parties" who make a pretty clear sacrifice to allow us to attend these events.

My partner said to me the other day that she felt like a "conference window" over the last few weeks, having looked after our baby daughter, kept the house running with the usual array of chores, and working part-time to boot. All of this without me around to lend much of a hand at all while I swanned around the world. As you can imagine, an ever-so-small-incy-wincy-tiny-bit of guilt invaded my conscious.

So here's a small public thanks to my partner, and all the other wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, family, children, friends and work colleagues, who kindly and patiently put up with all of us who follow the conference trail, who understand and support us while we pursue our passions and interests, who nod and humour us when we return and rant about the latest Oracle 11g feature, the future of Fusion Middleware, or how many free Toad shirts we scored this year.

Thank you very much.

At least until next year of course.

In the Mix - Oracle User Groups

It didn't take long for Oracle user groups and SIGs to be represented on Oracle's new site The Mix proves to be a particular good fit for the user groups, because it allows non-technical discussions and posting of ideas for each group, unlike other technical forums hosted by Oracle or the user groups in particular.

If you're a registered user of the Mix, take the chance to dive in and start posting ideas and questions for your respected group. Given enough votes your ideas could persuade the group to take action.

User groups:
Special Interest Groups (SIGs):
Apologies to any groups I missed out. Note I also haven't had the chance to check that these are all legitimate user groups, but you get the idea.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Post OOW 07 - a green summary from TreeHugger

....filed with the "I'm a greeny so live with it" department.

As follow up to my recent post about Oracle's greening efforts at OOW, TreeHugger covered the event with a good range of posts which I hope you may find interesting. For the uninitiated, TreeHugger is the SlashDot of the environmental world.

Of particular interest:
  • Michael Dell from Dell and Jonathan Schwartz from Sun received some points for their "green" message during the keynote, but Oracle's Larry Ellison received a big fat zero. Come on Oracle, you're not alone in this big wide world!
  • Jena Thompson from The Conservation Fund spoke on the importance of C02 offsets in context of the gathering criticism.
  • Michael Dell talks among other green initiatives at Dell, the concept of the Green Print where organisations go beyond just looking at their CO2 emissions, but look at collaborative efforts among all departments within an organisations to reduce their CO2 footprint.
  • Recorded by video are some enlightening opinions from the punters at the conference on what being green means, moving from the marketing corporate hype of it all to what the "common folk" are concerned about.
For more check out the complete set of OOW tagged posts. Well done to TreeHugger for capturing the green issues around such a large event. I look forward to their coverage next year.

On a secondary note, thanks to a change of federal government and a general public tired of a government ignoring the environmental issues and concerns of the Australian voters for over 11 years, Australia's new government has finally ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Officially "Hurrah!" Now I don't feel so embarrassed about being an Australian. This mean the USA is the last industrialised country to not make the leap. Come on America, pull your socks up!

Monday, 3 December 2007

My cursed presentation

For the frequent readers of my blog, you may know more recently I've been running my "Take a Load Off!" presentation at Oracle Open World Unconference, as well as the 2007 AUSOUG Perth and Melbourne conference legs. This presentation took time out to look at load and stress testing the latest web technologies, in particular those from Oracle such as Application Express (Apex) and JDeveloper.

This presentation has turned out to be in fact "cursed". There's no other description that's suitable.

The presentation contained a significant amount of live demos ("oh-no" I hear you say). Yet regardless of the amount of preparation I put in and the number of successful dry-runs I had before my presentation, the live demos kept on failing right at the critical point of my "live stand up routine". First at OOW my database exploded taking 99% of my CPU making my presentation drag to a halt. Then in Perth Apache JMeter and JDeveloper refused to talk and I had to rely on good ol'Apex to demonstrate what I wanted to show. Finally in Melbourne my laptop's Firewall went nuts right at the last moment, and I later discovered I was running on battery power for the whole demo. This is of course not to forget the same morning my database Listener wouldn't talk to my database and I had to desperately call my boss and her ever handy DBA expertise to sort it out.

Read my lips: "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!"

There's a line in Australian television acting circles (I'm sure it crosses international barriers), that you should never work with animals or children during live broadcasts. I'd like to extend that to Oracle products during presentations for the foreseeable future! ;)

As somebody pointed out to me today though, the common denominator in the presentation wasn't the various technologies that failed, but in fact the operator himself. Being an Aussie, you can imagine my response to that ;)

Anyway, I've learned my lesson. From now on, it's all canned demos with Powerpoint content. At least until my confidence returns. I'd love to hear other presenters' "disaster stories" if you're willing to share.

For those overly keen on the whole load and stress testing gig, as well as checking the latest database tuning and Apex presentations from my boss Penny Cookson, head along to the Sage website to download the content. However I make no promise that my presentation wont destroy your PC.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

AUSOUG 2007 conference "yarn" + what's happening in 2008

It's now Sunday after the 2nd leg of the Australian Oracle User Group (AUSOUG) 2007 conference in Melbourne. The following is a bit of a "yarn" about the overall conference series format, and doesn't bother to mention speakers or personalities. If that's your gig, hit the back button now, otherwise if you're interested in Oracle User Group events in general, read on.

All in all the volunteers of the AUSOUG committee and staff need to be congratulated on a conference well done this year, building upon last year's successes.

This year saw both cities, Perth and Melbourne break the attendee records of the previous year, with over 400 and 500 attendees respectively in each (sorry, I can't remember the exact numbers). In 2006 AUSOUG decided to change the tired "all cities" conference series, run in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to focus on a smaller (in terms of number of cities) but larger (in terms of the size of the event) program in Perth and Melbourne. This has paid off with falling delegate numbers arrested, instead the 2 city conference seeing a growth of 100 each for 2006 and 2007 respectively. It's no Oracle OpenWorld, but in my opinion not bad for a country that only has a population of around 20 million.

As a side note: Why the 2 city model rather than 1? Or more specifically why Perth at all given it's so far from the Australian action on the West Coast? It's a question of member numbers and geography. Perth has always enjoyed a strong support for AUSOUG with (at times) the largest state based membership base. In turn Perth is such a considerable distance away from the Australian East Coast, there is a fair risk that West Aussies just wont commit the time or effort to head to an East Coast only "1 city" conference model. As such AUSOUG is mindful of ensuring it still supports one of its largest membership bases, to ensure the overall success of the conference series, and to protect the future of the group. However on the East Coast, the Melbourne conference sees attendees from Darwin through Tassie, even Indonesia and New Zealand, so it shows the people on the "other-side-of-the-big-brown-bit" are much more willing to head anywhere on the East coast than the "sand-gropers."

Why Melbourne? Well it was a considered choice between East Coast cities, and Sydney is known as the "nightmare" city in conference organiser circles in Australia (success is far from guaranteed in Sydney and can be very financially risky or so I'm told), Melbourne was a natural choice in 06 and 07 as it has (at last count) the largest state based membership.

The other key benefit of the 2 city conference model and was recognized by the AUSOUG committee as a priority when it changed the program, is the new conference model is seeing more international speakers willing to make the trip across. To some Aussies it might seem strange that international guests wouldn't want to see all Australia has to offer once flying the kzillion hour leg to our fair shores. However in speaking to a number of such speakers, most can't commit the huge amount of time (and dollars) required to visit every city. Now with the advantage of only a couple of cities to visit, they are willing to make the trip.

The decision of which cities to hold the conference at is an incredibly difficult one, and one that I'm happy I'm no longer a part of having stepped down from the National committee. It's the usual "you can only satisfy 20% of the people 80% of the time" decisions, and will draw complaints no matter what (especially from the Sydney crowd).

However the fact of the matter is from the user group's point of view, the conference series has seen good growth showing membership satisfaction, continued commitment from Oracle and other exhibitors from local and abroad showing the worth of the conference to sponsors and vendors, and of course the generous commitment from international and local speakers, who are what the punters come to see after all (either that or those free Toad tshirts this year - hard to tell really).

As announced at the Perth leg of the conference this year, next year's 2008 conference location is not yet 100% decided, but the going bet is the Gold Coast (south of Brisbane in Queensland for the international readers), approximately 2 weeks after San Fran's OOW in September 2008. The format and timing of the Perth conference leg is still a work in progress. Please remember I don't sit on the AUSOUG National committee anymore, so I have no "special" window into what the National committee decides. If you wish to influence the decision you should contact your local AUSOUG state representatives and voice your opinion.... and from personal experience, they do listen.

Anyway, after a year of watching the 2007 conference series form, while I sat on the sideline of the organisational effort, I think the end result has been a good one, and I wish the user group all the luck for the 2008 events.