COMMUNITY: Community Bulletin
Survey SaysBy Justin Kestelyn
Oracle Technology Network community members weigh in on what they do and what they want more of, including discounts and free stuff.
Sometimes you have to give people what they want; other times, you have to give them what they need. The Oracle Technology Network team has always prided itself on its ability to do both things. (Sometimes, if we’re lucky, wants and needs are actually the same things.) So although we are responsive to feedback from our community, we often also feel the need to lead by pushing our “customers” toward mindsets and approaches they may not have considered if left to their own devices.
If you are an Oracle Technology Network regular, perhaps you’ve noticed that during the period between April 2010 and January 2011, an online survey was made available via our newsletters and Website. Although surveys are a routine process, this particular one—which fell on the heels of the Sun Developer Network/Oracle Technology Network merger—was more important than most. With the new blood that this combination brought to the Oracle Technology Network community, we wanted to identify what each respective program (Sun Developer Network and Oracle Technology Network) had done right and wrong, and then focus on the former going forward. We received nearly 400 responses from across the globe (10 percent of respondents were not yet Oracle Technology Network members)—which is not a bad sample, considering that we decided not to offer incentives that would encourage “mercenary” participation. As I often like to say, participation is its own reward.
Who you are. More than 90 percent of you are male. (We didn’t need a survey to confirm that, actually.) More than 63 percent of you, at the time of survey completion, had visited the Oracle Technology Network Website at least once in the past month. No surprise there; historically our repeat-visit rate is high.
What you do. This is interesting: although 81 percent of you, unsurprisingly, are involved in “database-related” projects, 37 percent are also involved in Java-related ones, and 25 percent are involved in hardware systems-related (servers and/or storage) ones. This data implies that a good chunk (although certainly not all) of the Sun Developer Network community has moved over to Oracle Technology Network. We like that.
What you like. The most-popular services, by a wide margin, are free developer tools and software, discussion forums, newsletters, and sample code (in that order). In my opinion, too few of you have attended a Developer Day or Virtual Developer Day, and the existence of member discounts for books and other things is either underappreciated or not widely known. Also, interestingly, discussion forums are not as routinely used by hardware-oriented folks as other audiences. Whether this is a cultural artifact or lack of awareness is unclear.
What you want more of. You’re itching for member discount pricing for events (presumably Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne; Developer Day is free), contests and challenges (also surprising, since historically these have not been popular), and a rewards program to incentivize member interaction (yes, also surprising—the reward points system in our discussion forums, when introduced, was not warmly welcomed).
How we rate. This is my personal favorite data point: 87 percent of you rate Oracle Technology Network as “good” or better. While it’s a nice result, we don’t take that feedback to mean “don’t change a thing.” Rather, we’ll keep pushing. For example, our prebuilt developer virtual machines (based on Oracle VM VirtualBox) continue to roll out in different flavors and configurations. And Developer Day content is being completely rebaked, with new versions covering enterprise Java development, rich enterprise applications, and Java development with JDK 7.
Oracle Database, Express Edition 11g is now available for download as a beta release, and the production release is imminent. Yes, for the first time in years, the current release of Oracle Database is available in an entry-level, small-footprint edition that is free to use, free to develop on, and free to distribute. Go get it!