UKOUG SIG Development meeting

I was invited to speak at the Development SIG meeting of UK’s Oracle User Group yesterday. This was my first visit to the UK in a long time and I was quite impressed by the presented content and style of this little event. Travelling was fun and I was able to enjoy complimentary wifi on the two coach busses to Thames Valley Park from the airport. Beats sitting in a car for 45 minutes each way.

Lillian Hobbs started the day off and reminded us of all kinds of trouble people seem to have when dealing with data. She also explained that data really is already a huge asset for almost all organizations but is rarely treated with the same respect as other more traditional assets. She suggests to implement a ‘data manager’ position who is responsible for data assets on a non-technical level. Very cute and honest speaking style with a lot of interaction with the audience.

Dick Whittington and Susan Duncan from SQLDeveloper development (try saying this really fast ten times!) explained and demonstrated an abundance of new or underrepresented features of the product. Dick was focusing on how they are trying to make the SQL workbench even more useful by providing a lot of little helpers for code completion, refactoring and such. Most of the things were not as exciting as rocket-science but then again I also could not come up with a list of features I’d be missing. He was also a reminder for me to file a feature request to make the autotrace statistics in SQLDeveloper useful or at least put a warning when the program only fetched a subset of the whole result. Susan reported about the integration of version control systems, I might have to look at their subversion integration again. I cannot remember why, but for some reason I always use JDeveloper for these tasks even though I really only ever use the editor and simple SCM commands yet discarded SQLDeveloper because something was missing there. I really need to blog more since it helps me remember things like these. Another feature I did not care looking at far has been the ‘offline db’ functionality. But then again I can see how it would be useful to download and archive a representation of my data structures. Especially if I am able to generate diffs between certain versions and so on. If I don’t find time to play with this stuff myself, I will have to stalk Susan at the Oracle demo booths in San Francisco.

I talked about do’s and don’ts when dealing with datetime data, gave an introduction to the related datatypes and functions and showed a lot of examples of odd and/or unexpected and sometimes undocumented behaviour. Mostly a compilation of problems I encountered over the past years. I was quite happy with how this went.

Later in the afternoon I was getting pretty tired (I took a pretty early flight) and Stefan Heumann and Duncan Beeby could not really spark my plug with topics on data governance and quality. The presentations were good though, it was interesting to see what kinds of problems (and solutions) exist out there and I really liked how Stefan mentioned how great Germany was with penalties both in governance and football/soccer.

Thanks to Andrew , Andrew and Aimee for putting together this meeting and now I am looking forward to the UKOUG conference in December even more.

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