Playing FavoritesBy Blair Campbell
Three peers on the tools and books they rely on most
What’s your favorite tool on the job? Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. It’s absolutely the best tool to manage the Oracle stack—and Oracle Enterprise Manager Cloud Control, which I began implementing last December, provides a comprehensive solution for all layers including hardware, virtualization, database, middleware, and applications.
Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? Hybrid Columnar Compression. About 10 years ago, compression was an alternative; now it’s a must. Hybrid Columnar Compression provides incredible compression ratios, especially for historical data, and will soon be the de facto standard on data warehouse systems.
You’ve taken Oracle University [OU] classes in the past. What led you to do this? I’ve taken several classes from OU, including Program with PL/SQL and some Oracle Database 10g workshops. I wanted to improve my knowledge, and I believe the best way to learn Oracle technologies is by taking classes from OU. I also believe in certification, and it has truly helped me in my career.
How did you get started in IT? I started off programming on a RadioShack TRS-80 in my high school’s computer lab. I then attended a small technical college in Iowa, and my first job out of college was in the IT department of a bank holding company. My second job, for a small consulting and software company, is where I was introduced to Oracle. I haven’t looked back.
What are your go-to Oracle reference books? Pro Oracle Application Express by John Scott and Scott Spendolini [Apress, 2011] and Oracle PL/SQL Programming by Steven Feuerstein and Bill Pribyl [O’Reilly Media, 2009]. I have them in both electronic and hard copies—sometimes it’s nice to flip through the real thing.
What advice do you have about how to get into Web, database, and application development? Don’t be scared of it, and get your hands dirty! Like any other language or technology, the best way to learn is to do.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work? I have two loves: food and travel. My favorite pastime is traveling wherever I can and sampling the local food at my destination.
What’s your favorite technique on the job? In SQL, it’s analytics—because analytical functions can help you retrieve results faster than doing the same with subqueries. And when I’m doing data manipulation in PL/SQL, one of the best techniques available is using collections combined with bulk processing.
What technology has most changed your life? PL/SQL—because it gets the job done. PL/SQL provides lots of great constructs, as does Oracle Database, so all the issues posed to me are rather easily solved using this great language. Then I get to let the database work for me, doing the heavy lifting, and I get to go back to the good things in life, such as spending time with my wife and three kids.
How are you using mobile computing in your work? I’m taking baby steps on the jQuery Mobile side of Oracle Application Express—so far my development is mostly restricted to trying out or rebuilding demos put on the internet by fellow Oracle Application Express enthusiasts such as Peter Raganitsch [oracle-and-apex.com]. Hopefully the upcoming Kscope conference [June 24–28 in San Antonio, Texas] will shed more light on this subject for me.
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