Tag Archives: ODTUG

#DBADev (Ops), who knows what is going on…


I have been considering writing this article for quite some time now.
APEX Connect 2016 in Germany’s capital Berlin and the DOAG Database days have finally persuaded me to talk more about #DBADev, let me explain why…

Whenever in the stone age…

During my career as DBA, I was always working closely together with Oracle Forms & Reports developers. In retrospect, the cooperation in that time was remarkable.
These Forms & Reports developers had always been used to working on a host-based platform.

For those of you who actually remember Oracle Forms & Reports and wonder…
Was there ever Forms & Reports host based?
Yes there was, but it is creepily long ago!!

Because of the nature of Forms & Reports, there always was a lot of consideration about where to place application code. This especially became true when PL/SQL was introduced and the migration to Oracle Forms & Reports 6.5 came about.
This brought the transition to client/server based computing and introduced physical distance between the database and the “front-end”.
Front-end between quotation marks, as in today’s world we don’t actually know “front-end” anymore in this same qualification. The “Frond-end” was always more elegantly and fittingly described as a “fat-client”, because of the sheer size of the software and utilities that were required on the end-users workstation.

The physical separation and distance between the presentation entity and the data manipulation engine required and inspired a lot of thought and debate on where the bulk of data processing had to be done.
You can imagine the impact of having a specific data manipulation done inside an Oracle Form that lived on a desktop on the other end of the network. Especially when the required data set is large. Having 1,000 records being fetched, where 2 where manipulated and then send back in bulk, repeated 100 times, 4 times a minute on a 10 Mbps network. OK, clear, that needs to be done smarter.
The solution: work with small data sets and do database side manipulation to limit client/server communication. And actually, that worked quite well!!

All good and fine… But how does this tie in to #DBADev? This already sounds so harmonious. And how could APEX Connect 2016 have inspired this article?

Well… Let’s see

Later on, I found that this cooperation appeared to be not so normal.
If you step out of the world of client-server computing and move on to “todays world”, that started more or less in the nineties with web based computing – or cloud-computing “avant la lettre“ or “my stuff on your computer” or however you describe it – you find a world that consists of “strange things”.
I find these things “strange things” because I believe they are suboptimal, and luckily I find myself not alone in this corner.
Suboptimal in a way that data manipulation solutions (lets call them applications for now) should be considered to be database agnostic. This independence dictates that you use the database as just a data store or even more accurately, as a persistency store. Blane Carter 2 minute TechTip

In another scenario these applications are designed and build by developers who are very good at creating intuitive and sharp looking user interfaces. Unfortunately often with a lesser developed understanding of the mechanics involved in dishing up and serving data to this newly established middle tier.

With the continuing professionalization of IT over the past 20 years, we have seen the creation of a wide variety of disciplines. These range from those who think about IT (architects, managers, designers) to those who build IT (programmers, engineers) to those who run IT (system administrators, operators) and the majority of these disciplines today are self-contained groups of professionals and specialists who excel at their own game. Basically that is good as the profession is wide and complex enough to support this.
The problem is that there is no longer anyone who has the whole picture.

Bring it on / together!

apex-logoAPEX Connect 2016, to me personally, was the first time I really saw #DBADev in practice. With the following two examples I want to illustrate my inspiration.

The first talk of this genre was @alexnuijten with his confessions, and subsequent smart tips and best practices in “Structuring an APEX application”.
As a pure database developer like Alex, you are automatically more prone to thinking about “DBA-stuff”. A lot of these best practices, although they are very database centric, like using a view for each application screen, are obviously primarily there to help the developer. And, don’t get me wrong, that is a very good thing! Alex inspires to try and combine the best of both worlds, which helps getting the most out of your application, your database, and therewith frankly, out of your total investment.

The second example was the information-packed presentation by Dietmar Aust @daust_de, called “Oracle APEX Scripting – die Kommandozeile ist Dein Freund“ (the command line is your friend).
Much more than “just about developing”, this presentation bridged gaps in more than one way. Perhaps it is even #DBADevOps if you think about it.

The recent DOAG Database days held a few additional surprises with the presence of @cczarski and @nielsdb. A very will pitched presentation by Bruno Cirone really sparked the growing interest in the topic!!

It is funny how an idea that was initiated some 18 months ago, conceived together with Sabine Heimsath @flederbine has grown and evolved out of natural demand. For me, this is one other aspect of the industry, where APEX is setting new frontiers.
With a growing awareness and more people recognizing the gap, the deficits it is bringing and the benefits cooperation brings, I have good hopes.

APEX is not only the technology that enables you to create web-based apps super quickly, it is also the technology that brings developers and DBA’s truly closer to each other, ensuring a maximum bang for the buck when it comes to utilizing your database infrastructure investments!
I am not saying we are there, but this is definitely a first step in the right direction!


meetup

The importance of meetup.com

The Oracle community convenes at the various events, SIG-meetings and gatherings that are organized by the national Oracle User Group organizations. This is, for my reckoning, one if the most important parts of the power of the Oracle user community.

During these events, local Oracle stars are joined by the travelling Rock Stars of the Oracle Tech community, together they share knowledge and experience to teach and learn about the tricks of the trace. As said many times before, by people much greater than me, this is truly a unique and powerful way to nurture and grow the combined knowledge about Oracle products and the best ways to use them. My favorite quote remains that of Monty Laitiolais: “This truly is a celebration of Tech!” where he obviously was referring to the yearly KScope happening, but which easily translates to many of the Oracle events around the globe.

Since quite a while now, the phenomenon meetup.com has emerged. It is an on-line place where people can initiate meet ups of like-minded people. Either being a small initiative with just a few people in a cafe up to bigger, or perhaps more commercially colored, happenings. Whatever the subject or idea, from travel to innovation and from hobby to profession, you can find a meet up to suit your needs.

Even though the richness and the broadness of the activities of the Oracle User Group organizations worldwide, recently I have seen more and more activities of Oracle aficionados on Meetup.com.
As far as I recall, the ever-vibrant APEX community started organizing these kinds of events under the flag of APEX-meet ups, using this platform. Gathering to share best practices and share experiences about APEX and all the various bit and pieces that adhere to this technology.
If you would look at the following list you would conclude that it even has quite a big list of meetups there… The adoption of meetup.com by the Oracle community is growing rapidly.

Is this a bad thing for the ‘regular’ Oracle user community?

I think not.

From my experiences participating in both “regular” Oracle user group events as well as in Oracle-related meet ups, I think they have a complimentary function.
The traditional user group events are usually more “speaker – audience” oriented, which is a very good format for educating and teaching. A format that is indispensable because it enables a larger group of people to gain knowledge and understanding quickly and effectively.
The meetups have a, let’s call it, more informal character, one where the interchange of information and knowledge is more of a group event. And, let’s face it, the social aspect of meetups is also a little more on the foreground, which in itself is a good thing too.
The need for this kind of contact already was there in the form of SIG’s. During the traditional events, with the emerging of the round-table phenomenon, this has been even more obvious.

Conclusive I would like to state: Let’s embrace meet ups. Go find or organize a meet up – preferably about our much-loved Oracle technology – in your neighborhood. Find and inspire people, share, learn and laugh! It is worth your time, I can tell from experience.

kscope15

Kscope15, a celebration of tech…

Kscope15 promised to be a brand new experience in more than one way.

Kscope15LogoAs I start to write this report, I am flying from Düsseldorf airport to Atlanta. It will be the first time flying to the United States with a stopover, and because of Erik van Roon, I came prepared. With just carry-on luggage, I should end up at my final destination, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, together with my ‘stuff’. I am flying Delta Airlines this time, and for an airline that promises just a ‘lunch’ during the 9 hours flight, they do come up with a lot of food…

My colleagues of FOEX have already arrived at the event-venue and are setting up our booth.

On arrival at Fort Lauderdale airport, I am scheduled to meet-up with distinguished product manager for PL/SQL and EBR, Bryn Llewellyn. From there, we would travel to Hallandale Beach to check into our hotels. This plan was only hindered by sheer force of wind shear at Atlanta International, which delayed my flight.

The first day, the Sunday, started off with a boiling walk to the Diplomat hotel. Upon registration I was pleasantly surprised that FOEX had graciously upgraded my conference pass to a full pass, which is cool as I get to attend sessions! And the kind ladies of ODTUG had even attached an ACE Associate ribbon to my name-tag, of which I am kind of proud.

I had so many cool meet-ups and run-ins at Kscope. Just to name a few new friends in no particular order:

Of course I spent most of my time in the APEX and database development tracks. If you look at the momentum that APEX is generating, I think we can safely say that we are making a difference… We can say with confidence: #LetsWreckThisTogether!

The “together” bit was beautifully expressed by Joel Kallman as you could hear a pin drop when Carl Backstrom and Scott Spadafore of the APEX team were remembered…

But still there is a lot of work that has to be done to further spread the word on APEX. I guess I have had at least 4 conversations where I had the opportunity to talk about and explain APEX to people who were still oblivious. That is one of the most rewarding this to do.

Nikki beachThe week passed so quickly and most experiences are becoming great memories very quickly now. The countless meet ups with friend and heroes from the Oracle world, the white party at Nikki Beach and the after party at The Mansion and of course the Oracle content which was dished out with great quality.

Just on more thing… Travelling Über is the best! I have been doing this in San Francisco and used the service here to get back to the airport. Why would you take a taxi with this service around? Because of the way it works, the drivers I have met, have been much more friendly than regular ‘cabbies’. I would recommend this any day.

So, now I am heading home, hanging in the sky somewhere between Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta. Thinking back on Roel’s blog post on his first Kscope… will this have changed my life? Quite possibly, but on the other hand things could not get much more crazy than they have been over the last 6 to 12 months!!

If you are looking to read up on the business side of things, please check out the FOEX blog!

Please also don’t forget to check out the #Kscope15 hash tag on Twitter and remember, when you are at an Oracle conference, also use the #orclconf as additional hash tag. This will help to make it even easier to follow your favorite tech-community on-line!

Share your passion

What I have encountered over the past few years, as I got  more and more involved in the Oracle User Community, is the passion to share.
As I have stated in previous posts, it is unbelievable how many smart people are willing to invest private time AND money to travel the world and to share knowledge and experience they have accumulated over the years.

Typically, the annual Oracle User Group events are the place to be to learn from these people. And most often many will submit abstracts of their stories to be elected to be part of these events.

Only, to be able to submit these abstracts, you need to know:
– when these events are
and
– when the so-called CFP (Call for Papers)
is open.

As all Oracle User Groups tend to be independent, this information is hard to come by if you’re not part of the in-crowd, which if, of course, a pity!!
My goal is to collect this data and make it centrally (well, as central as this website is, then) available to whomever is searching for it.

I have made a start.

It’s a small start yet, so:

  • If there are errors, correct me!
  • If information is missing, tell me!

Hope this helps!!