OOW07 – Day 1

Is it day 1 or day 0? Hmmm, either way…it’s the first ‘real day’ of OpenWorld and it was certainly a busy one!

Dimitri and I walked down to the Moscone around 9:30am, and we bumped into Dietmar Aust, it really is amazing that even with 40,000+ people attending OOW you can still manage to bump into friends so easily (of course it probably has something to do with usually attending the same sessions!), it’s always good to meet people who you’ve only swapped email or MSN conversations with. The social side of OOW is one of the things which make attending OOW a ‘must’, not only are the presentations, hands-on labs and other ‘official’ activities great, but it’s also the ‘unofficial’ things, where you just arrange on-the-fly to meetups or bump into someone and then spend the next hour chatting to them.

First session of the day was the APEX SIG meeting, Dimitri did a great job leading the meeting and also keeping the panel (in L-R order from the audience perspective, Carl Backstrom, David Peake, Me, Tony Jedlinski and Patrick Wolf).

We started off with the introductions (good job on keeping it short Dimitri!) and then a few seed questions:

  • Tony Jedlenski: What’s your TOP coding technique?
  • John Scott: What’s your TOP security feature?
  • Patrick Wolf: What’s your TOP improvement?
  • Carl Backstrom: What’s your TOP web 2.0 feature?
  • David Peake: What’s the most impressive app?

I took a picture from the panel table before the session started, so whilst the room looks empty it very soon filled up. I think the official ‘figure’ was over 100 people attending, which is fantastic since I seem to remember that last year the figure was around 40-50, so the APEX community is definitely growing.

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Next up it was my first OOW presentation, not the first one I’ve done at OOW, the first one this year I mean, I have a second presentation on thursday so I can relax for a while yet. My presentation was titled ‘Debugging APEX Applictions’ and was really a collection of methods, techniques and tools I use to help to debug my applications. I did spend a lot of time debating when I was putting the presentation together how many techniques I should show, since there are a huge number of things you can do.

Fortunately I got a 90 minute slot rather than just 60 which allowed me to include a lot more things than I would otherwise. However I still pushed my luck in terms of trying to fit all the material in, but I managed it *just*, but I have to apologise to Tony Jedlinski as I overran with the Q&A by about 10 minutes. I’d completely misread the schedule and assumed there was a break between my session and his, but for some reason there was no break which meant that my overrun meant that he had to start late, apologies Tony…inexcusable presentation ettiquette on my part there! In my defense these sessions weren’t timed so there was nobody waving a ’10 minutes left sign at me’, but still my fault!

Again I took a picture before the session started, and the room was still filling up, I think the official number was around 80-100. I didn’t check, but the room was pretty much full which was both great and nerve-wracking simultaneously, particularly when this presentation had quite a few live demos in it (always add potential for a nightmare there!) and also because of the variety of things I wanted to show.
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There were some great questions, but because some of them took a while to answer, it meant that I had to drop some of the demos I’d planned to do just to try and stand a chance of finishing on time. I also perhaps didn’t make it 100% clear that my demo would contain *bad* code, the title of the presentation was after all ‘Debugging APEX apps’, I had someone ask me afterwards why I’d done something in a particular way and I realised that I hadn’t explicitly made it clear that the purpose of the application and code in the presentation was to give me something ‘bad to work with’, after all…if it was ‘properly written code’ then the presentation would have been much much shorter!

Anyway, I hope the presentation ‘worked’ from the audience perspective since it’s always difficult to judge exactly what level to pitch at (how much detail to go into etc), but it’s always a good sign when you get lots of questions and people come up to you afterwards.

Right after my presentation it was time for Tony Jedlinski to present about APEX applications on hand-held and mobile devices, this is really becoming a hot area too, particularly since on my return I’m buying an iPhone now they’ve been launched in the UK. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to access applications and websites from a small screen device like the iPhone or dedicated rugged hand-helds, so as developers we might need to take that into account when designing the layout of our apps. There were some good tips in the presentation, it was particularly interesting that Tony was in the lucky position of having the end users of the app directly asking him to do things in a particular way (rather than him having to guess how they wanted the app to work).

After Tony’s presentation, it was time for Raj Mattamal to present ‘Securing APEX Applications’, I met Raj at OOW last year but this is the first time I’ve seen him present, and he’s definitely a ‘high energy’ presenter, he definitely has his own ‘style’ of carrying you along with the speed of the presentation and it 100% works. There were lots of cool tips about how easy it is to secure your applications declaratively and the payoffs from doing so certainly outweigh the short amount of time it takes to enable that security.

It was then time to race to the Keynote speech by Larry Ellison (or, since we’re all Oracle geeks if you just say ‘Larry’ everyone knows who you mean).

The presentation was very enjoyable, I really enjoyed it, lots of anecdotes and stories about how Oracle was formed and grew up. You learned about lots of the ‘first employees’, lots of whom are already known (like Ken Jacobs), but some of whom I didn’t really know so much about.

Since Dimitri and I were quite late getting to the keynote, we got perhaps the worst seats in the room, sitting behind one of the big pillars and couldn’t see the stage at all. Also because of where we were sitting we had to turn our necks at right-angles to see the (huge!) screens which were showing a live feed of the presentation (except when they were showing static pictures at which point we had to sit and look at the pillar whilst listening to the disembodied voice of Larry).

However we managed to shuffle up a few seats and could then see around the pillar and I was surprised we were so close to the stage (only about 30 feet away), so the initially ‘bad’ seats turned out to be not quite so bad.

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After the keynote it was time for the first real party, and it didn’t disappoint, lots of free food, alcohol and entertainment.

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My wife teased me before I came out that OOW was 90% pleasure and perhaps 10% work (whilst I claimed that since I was presenting it was indeed ‘work’), I’m sure after seeing these pictures she’ll revise those figures.

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There’s only so much free food and free alcohol you can take and then jetlag once again caught up with me and it was time to head back to the hotel to get some sleep in preparation for what Monday brings!

Comments 5

  1. Patrick Wolf wrote:

    John,

    your presentation was really interesting. Well done!

    Patrick

    Posted 12 Nov 2007 at 6:31 pm
  2. Tim Hall wrote:

    I can see a couple of guys getting some wife/girlfriend hassles when the get home because of that last photo! :)

    Cheers

    Tim…

    Posted 13 Nov 2007 at 3:44 am
  3. Anton Baranchuk wrote:

    Are there any video or audio records from that session available?

    Posted 13 Nov 2007 at 8:15 am
  4. Karen Cannell wrote:

    Looking forward to seeing that presentation. I believe there is huge value in learning how to recognize and correct bad code. In APEX one needs to be a bit scrappy about it.
    I agree, that last photo will get some attention. No wonder the APEX community is growing :)

    Posted 16 Nov 2007 at 5:37 am
  5. John Scott wrote:

    Anton,

    No video or audio I’m afraid, but I will be posting the presentation (or you can download it from the OOW site directly).

    Karen,

    Good to hear from you again, hope all’s well with you. The presentation had a few rough edges (always the way the first time you show something), but all in all the feedback was very positive that it’s a topic that lots of people want to know more about.

    John.

    Posted 23 Nov 2007 at 4:38 pm

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