Architects’ VisionBy Blair Campbell
Three peers interface with customers to create and maintain apps that work for everyone.
What’s your favorite tool or technique on the job? Definitely SQL*Plus. It’s simple, fast, transparent, and stable.
Which new features in Oracle Database are you finding most valuable? The flashback data archive feature introduced in Oracle Database 11g has been a huge improvement in how flashback technology caters to the needs of modern businesses. Before this new technology, tracking changes in a table meant writing triggers on it or writing program modules at the application level. This made the system very costly, from every resource point of view—including server, programming, and maintenance resources, and in terms of dollars and cents. Now, with this feature, one simple command enables the tracking of data on selective tables.
If you were going to the International Space Station for six months and could take only one Oracle reference book, what would it be? Oracle’s official documentation, because it contains vast amounts of information.
What advice do you have about getting into software development and architecture? The best way would probably be to get your hands on a real-life project, with a peer beside you to give you a helping hand if you’re stuck. Once your career is up and running, get familiar with possible stakeholders—not just your project manager—and their needs. Last but not least, you have to be a leader.
What’s your favorite tool or technique on the job? My daily life is spent dealing with small difficulties that come up on various projects. Problems almost always arise from bad design, wrong or missing standards, and weak process support. That’s why I love tools devoted to software quality, such as Checkstyle and FindBugs, and all my little design helpers available in different IDEs. I also love Oracle WebLogic Server.
What technology has most changed your life? This may sound trivial, but it’s my BlackBerry Pearl. I’ve never owned another tool that took over my life so quickly.
What’s your favorite thing to do that doesn’t involve work? Photography. I like taking pictures of nature and ordinary things. I bought a DSLR [digital single-lens reflex camera] a few years ago, and I’m still happy with it.
How did you get started in IT? I started my career at Arthur Andersen Business Consulting on a project involving programming in RPG [Report Program Generator]. I eventually moved on to helping clients from various industries revolutionize their information delivery with technologies from [Oracle’s] Hyperion, Oracle, Business Objects, and others.
Which new features in Oracle applications do you find most valuable? Oracle Essbase Studio, a new administrative tool for Oracle Essbase, which allows administrators to more easily connect to a multitude of sources to create and manage our Oracle Essbase databases. I also like the new calculation manager in Release 11 of Oracle Hyperion Planning and Oracle Hyperion Financial Management. It provides a single interface for creating business rules for budgeting and consolidation solutions. This is a pretty big feature, since each tool has its own specific syntax for writing the business rules. Now users can use the same graphical interface to create an optimized business rule for both products.