Oracle Magazine at 25
By Tom Haunert
See where it’s been and where it’s going.
In 1987, a newsletter became a magazine. Oracle Magazine, Volume 1, Number 1, was published and distributed to subscribers of the newsletter it replaced. That first issue was still a newsletter at heart, however; it was 12 printed pages—including the front and back covers—in black and white (and various shades of green). And there were no ads.
What happened next was even more dramatic: the second issue of Oracle Magazine. Oracle Magazine, Volume 1, Number 2, could also have been called Oracle Magazine 2.0.
The first issue of Oracle Magazine had reported the news of the release of ORACLE RDBMS 5.1, but the second issue didn’t have a similar scoop. What the second issue did have was 48 printed pages. There was news. There were stories about Oracle customers. There were stories about Oracle partners. There was information on how to use Oracle technology. There were ads. There was distribution to new readers and would-be subscribers. And there were subscription cards, to help officially turn readers into subscribers.
As of that second issue, the Oracle Magazine community of contributors, Oracle customers, partners, subject matter experts, and subscribers was in place, and has remained for 25 years. Oracle Magazine celebrates 25 years of publication in 2011, and extends its most sincere thanks to the community that made it all possible.
Magazine Design Evolution
The printed Oracle Magazine has continued to evolve over 25 years, although some evolutionary steps are more apparent than others.
For example, as the number of pages in the magazine increased, the staple-bound format (saddle stitch, for those interested in the publishing term) gave way to a square binding (perfect bound is the publishing term). As demand grew and simply increasing the magazine’s page count was not enough to cover everything, the frequency of the magazine went from two issues in the first year to four issues in the next, and then in 1995 to the current frequency of six bimonthly issues per year.
In terms of design, that green accent color in the first few issues of Oracle Magazine gave way to different colors assigned to different content in 1988. The Oracle corporate logo was also the Oracle Magazine logo from 1987 until 2000, when it was replaced by a version of the current, taller Oracle logo (based on the TradeGothic typeface, for those interested in typefaces). And the now ubiquitous Oracle red (also known as Pantone 485) has appeared on every cover since 2000. There have also been periodic redesigns of the magazine’s interior—the latest was in 2010.
Magazine Content Continuum
Logo and redesign changes aside, the biggest changes from issue to issue of Oracle Magazine are in the magazine’s content. The content is constantly changing, even when the appearance of the content remains the same.
A regular publication schedule means that magazine issues cannot wait to cover the next big database release announcement or sea-change technology innovation. Because they can’t wait, magazines create ongoing sections and types of content to fit those sections and then plug the best and most timely content possible into each magazine issue.
For example, Oracle Magazine dedicates space for news and covers what’s new at the time of editorial and publishing deadlines. In its 133 issues (through November/December 2011), Oracle Magazine has covered the news of Oracle Database releases—from the aforementioned ORACLE RDBMS 5.1 in 1987 through Oracle Database 11g Release 2 in 2009. The magazine has also covered release announcements for Easy*SQL, SQL*Calc, SQL*Forms, Oracle SQL Developer, Oracle Application Express, Oracle JDeveloper, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle server and storage hardware, and many more Oracle products and technologies over 25 years.
Oracle customer stories have also been a constant in Oracle Magazine for 25 years. These stories have evolved with Oracle technology, moving from stories about a customer’s use of Oracle Database to stories about the use of Oracle Database as well as Oracle Applications, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Enterprise Manager, the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, and much more. As organizations adopt the newest Oracle products and technologies, Oracle Magazine includes stories on the customers using those products, enabling those early adopters to share their experiences with the rest of the Oracle Magazine community.
Articles on how to use Oracle technology have evolved in 25 years, from tips and tricks to white papers to hands-on, how-to pieces by industry experts including Tom Kyte, Steven Feuerstein, Arup Nanda, and Mark Rittman. Readers have technology questions, and Oracle Magazine has technology answers. The question-and-answer format in Tom Kyte’s Ask Tom series is the most obvious Q&A example, but all of the magazine’s technology content is designed to answer questions about Oracle technology. Most recently, readers have asked for beginner content, and the magazine responded by adding two article series for beginners: SQL 101 and PL/SQL 101.
The Oracle Magazine community is diverse, so community content is also segmented. Oracle partners describe their offerings in Partner News. The Oracle Technology Network Community Bulletin is for members of that community. The Architect column is for software and enterprise architects. User group members are featured in the Up Close column and video series, and user group presidents cover user group topics in the In the Field columns.
In 2007, Oracle Magazine added the Interview column and podcast series. In 2008, the magazine added the aforementioned Up Close article and video series. In 2011, Oracle Magazine prototyped its first animated technical illustration. And more audio, video, and animation ideas are in the works, so stay tuned.
Subscribers and readers have asked not only for different types of content in the magazine but also for different ways to access that content. Since the 1990s, Oracle Magazine has been more than print on paper. In the mid-1990s, the magazine’s content was briefly available on CD, and then more widely available on the Web—as it still is today.
In 2006, Oracle Magazine introduced a digital distribution option for subscribers. And in 2010, the magazine arrived on the iPad and iPhone. With these digital, iPad, and iPhone distributions, Oracle Magazine continues to be portable, beyond print, to reach and respond to new audiences on new devices.
As a print publication, Oracle Magazine has always been portable. And while reading, answering, and printing letters to the editor also makes it interactive on some level, by 2010 Oracle Magazine was also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, taking magazine interactivity to another level. Oracle Magazine’s distribution and interactivity will continue to evolve to meet the needs of subscribers.
Thanks again to the Oracle Magazine community of contributors, Oracle customers, partners, subject matter experts, and subscribers. And thank you all for driving the magazine to do more.
Oracle Magazine 25th Anniversary Video
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