As Published In
Oracle Magazine
March/April 2007

CHANNELS: Peer-to-Peer

Rants and Raves

By Blair Campbell

Praise for DBMS_SCHEDULER and profiling, pans for wireless technology

Tim Hall

Peer Specs


 Company: A U.S.-based multinational shipping company

 Job Title/Description: DBA/developer, involved in installations and upgrades and responsible for general administration, backup and recovery, disaster recovery testing, and database tuning

 Location: Birmingham, U.K.

 Oracle Credentials: Oracle-certified DBA (Oracle7, Oracle8, Oracle8i, Oracle9i, Oracle Database 10g) with 12 years of experience using Oracle products
Oracle ACE
If you could add a feature to Oracle Database, what would it be? I would add a couple of new features when creating or dropping objects: DROP object IF EXISTS; CREATE object IF MISSING.

Which new features of Oracle Database 10g are you finding most valuable? I like the new job scheduler, DBMS_SCHEDULER—so much so that I wrote a book about it [ Oracle Job Scheduling , Rampant, 2005]. It's great for simple jobs, but it really comes into its own when you need to create complex job schedules. It makes life much simpler than using the old scheduler—DBMS_JOB—or OS schedulers like CRON and AT.

What advice do you have for those just starting out in Web and database development? Read the manuals! It's all there, and the sooner you get into reading them, the faster you'll reach your goals. While you're reading, try everything out for real. It makes understanding and remembering the material much easier. Finally, take any job you can get your hands on. Don't let pride get in your way.

Howard J. Rogers

How did you get started in IT? I was trained as an accountant, and an organization I worked for had just purchased its first copy of Lotus 1-2-3. It seemed like a useful program, so I was asked to learn it and then teach it to everyone else. Six months later, I'd done a reasonable enough job that I was asked to write some SQL reports for my company's finance director. After that, it was all IT, all the time! 

Peer Specs


 Company: Self-employed

 Job Title/Description: Freelance trainer and consultant for clients including Oracle University, with responsibilities that vary depending on the engagement
 Location: Pheasants Nest (near Sydney), Australia

 Length of Time Using Oracle Products: 11 years

Oracle ACE
These days, how much do you rely on wireless technologies? I tend not to use them, because performance is so poor. I'm much happier with a nice long bit of Cat 5, thanks all the same! I do stream music wirelessly around the house, but in my view, wireless is usually just an excuse to make yourself a social nuisance. I preferred it when work stayed in the office and didn't follow me around on planes, buses, and trains! There's this whole matter of work/life balance that I think a lot of people in our industry have gotten very wrong. Wireless rather insidiously makes it easier to get it even more wrong.

What's your favorite thing to do that doesn't involve work? Drinking a nice glass of red wine and settling down to a good requiem on the CD player.

Cary Millsap

Peer Specs


 Company: Hotsos Enterprises, a firm specializing in performance of Oracle-based systems.

 Job Title/Description: Founder and chief technical officer, also serving as researcher, author, software product designer, educational curriculum designer and developer, instructor, and consultant

 Location: Grapevine, Texas

 Length of Time Using Oracle Products: 17 years
Oracle ACE
What's your favorite tool or technique on the job? Profiling, in the established software development sense—meaning that you view the performance of a computer from the perspective of individual programs' response times, not from the perspective of all the resources that serve those programs.

What advice do you have for those just starting out in Web and database development? To succeed at a Web or database development job (as distinct from obtaining such a job), I think it's critically important to have a good foundational understanding of the technology you're going to be working with, including a good understanding of how operating system and database kernels work on the inside, and a deep comfort with C.J. Date's writings on relational theory for practitioners.

Of course, you have to learn SQL and a programming language or two, but without the fundamental understanding of what's going on beneath the covers, you'll have a really hard time writing software that's pleasant to use.