Category Archives: ODTUG2009

My ODTUG adventure begins…with UFO’s on the flight!

After a long long day, I’ve finally arrive in San Francisco. I’m here a couple of days early because I’m going to Oracle HQ (in Redwood Shores) along with many of the other Oracle ACE Directors before we go over to Monterey.

In fact I already have a lovely view of the “Mothership” from my hotel window.

Oracle Headquarters

and speaking of ‘Motherships’, I had an interesting encounter with UFO’s on the flight over here.

No, it wasn’t that sort of UFO, the UFO I’m referring to was –

Uninformed about Features in Oracle”

It came about because when I was doing some work on my laptop, the guy next to me started asking what I was doing. It turned out he was a SQLServer guy (he wasn’t coming over for ODTUG, that’s why I don’t feel too bad telling you what happened next).

He told me that they had evaluated using Oracle in their company but had ruled it out in favour of using SQLServer instead, which is fine…these things happen. However being curious I asked him for what reasons they had ruled out using Oracle. I’m paraphasing what he said, but it’s pretty close to how he actually said it.

Him: “In Oracle there’s no way to automatically increment identifiers, like for primary keys”

At this point I already had my laptop fired up, so I showed him how you can use sequences to achieve that…

Him: “With SQLServer we can precompute aggregate queries so that they run faster, there’s no way to do that in Oracle”

I believe the feature he was talking about is called Indexed Views in SQLServer (I’m not a SQLServer guy, so I could have the terminology wrong. Anyway, I quickly showed him how you can create Materialized Views in Oracle and also use Query Rewrite features so that you don’t even need to modify your original queries to use the new materialized views (I also showed him Global Temporary Tables as he asked that as a side-question).

Him: “Great, but in SQLServer we can not only do queries but we can do real procedural coding too”

At this point, I brought out SQLDeveloper and showed him a few examples of how easy (and powerful PL/SQL) is, his response was “Oh I didn’t know you could do that!”

It was interesting for me, because since I’ve been using Oracle for a long time now, you sometimes forget that some of the really ‘simple’ features and pieces of functionality might not be easily discovered by people who are just given a few days exposure to the tool (seriously he told me they had a week to evaluate Oracle).

Anyway, I’m here now…looking forward to Oracle HQ tomorrow!

p.s. please don’t let this post put you off sitting next to me on a flight, I’m not always ‘talking shop’ 😉