As Published In
Oracle Magazine
September/October 2009


Developer Events Get Virtual

By Justin Kestelyn

OTN members collaborate and get hands-on training over the cloud.

The global Oracle Technology Network (OTN) team recognizes full well that the appetite for hands-on developer tools experience has not diminished, even as travel budgets have. In the last few months, the team has experimented with different virtual workshop formats with the intention of exploiting the creative and collaborative power of the Web.

The virtual event is becoming a signature of the postbubble economy. In the past six months, I have seen more of them appear, popping up like mushrooms, than I have in my entire career.

These events take various forms, the most common being the virtual trade show. Here, the offline model is transplanted to the Web in the form of a Second Life-like experience—digitally rendered exhibition halls, booth staff avatars, and virtual lounges are the norm. From what I can tell thus far, this format may have some traction with business end users and consumer types who are most comfortable with a familiar (some might use the word “canned”) experience.

But with developers? Not so much. Being more comfortable with collaborative online environments than most other people, developers recognize that using an offline metaphor in an online world leaves most of the creative possibilities of the latter on the table. At least that’s what I would like to think. (Caveat: I am speaking of developers in North America here; it’s likely that regional differences mean my observations do not apply on a global basis.)

In North America, we have discovered a formula that holds great promise for the future: OTN Virtual Developer Day, a 100 percent virtual event that uses live video, social media, on-demand Flash-based demos, and collaborative development tools. The inaugural event, OTN Virtual Developer Day: Rich Enterprise Applications, was sponsored by Amazon Web Services and launched in late June 2009. It featured a shared development environment for workshops accessible through the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) as well as a live Webcast keynote by Ted Farrell, chief architect and senior vice president at Oracle, and Steve Harris, senior vice president of product development at Oracle. 

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The event gave developers the opportunity to get hands-on training in Oracle Application Development Framework (Oracle ADF) Faces Rich Client, Oracle Coherence, Oracle WebLogic Server, and Oracle JRockit Mission Control (with Oracle WebCenter demos available as well) with zero software installation required. Furthermore, an Oracle Mix group served as the interaction point for participants and presenters, and a wiki page was provided for documenting participant experiences. Amazon Web Services reimbursed participants for the time they clocked into EC2 during the event’s duration.

Explore the OTN Virtual Developer Day: Rich Enterprise Applications on-demand keynote and demos at

Oracle ACEs: Rely On Their Activity

At Oracle, the end of the fiscal year is “spreadsheet season,” with metrics and measurements being the most common topic of conversation. The Oracle ACE program is not exempt from this process. Although it’s not an easy task, we do what we can to quantify what the influence of these great customer evangelists has been throughout the year.

For example, we found that in the previous fiscal year (2009), Oracle ACEs as a group delivered at least 116 known presentations/papers at user group and industry events around the world. We also know of at least 10 books that were written by Oracle ACEs.

The contributions of this group in the social media area, however, are boundless: their collective blogging and twittering firepower is awe-inspiring, and their tireless stewardship of Oracle discussion forums is perhaps the most impressive contribution of all.

For those reasons, I want to thank all the Oracle ACEs out there for their outstanding commitment and passion throughout the last year. As always, you can review the current crop of Oracle ACEs, or nominate a new one, at


Justin Kestelyn ( is senior director, Oracle Technology Network and developer programs, as well as OTN editor in chief.

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