Thursday, December 04, 2008

UKOUG 2008 Report Back

This year I decided to do just one post about the UKOUG and not - as previous year - (try to) get out a post every day. Takes the pressure of me...
The first impression is that Birmingham was quite cold this time of year, the second is that the UKOUG seems less crowded this year. The first observation is quite right, the second one is wrong. Due to the shifted schedule of the session, they not all start and end at the same time, so the crowd is more scattered over the day. So no long lines for the food or traffic jams in the Exhibition Hall (the fact was that there where about 2,250 attendees, 'just' 5% less than next year - probably to do with the financial situation out there).
I won't list all the sessions I went to: See the previous post about my intentions - I didn't made all of them...

My personal top 3 this year (in order of appearance):

Beginners' Guide To Trouble-shooting
by Jonathan Lewis
I had never seen Jonathan presenting before but it is good to get an introduction into this subject by the master himself. He split up the performance in a quadrant with 'Wait Time' and 'Service' on one side and 'Using' and 'Competing' on the other side. That gives an insight where to look for one of the three classifications of problems : 'My task is slow', 'The batch took too long', 'The system is slow'.

Oracle SQL Developer: Focusing on a Few Advanced Features by Sue Harper
Sue showed how to create and use XML extensions, remote debugging APEX applications and how to Refactor anonymous PL/SQL blocks in APEX into database procedures. If she had the time she could have shown a lot more than she did, but (just like in a lot of other sessions) 45 minutes is very very short....

Performance Tuning Basics by Doug Burns
Doug did a great job in big Hall 1. His presentation ran very smoothly as well as in presentation style, in the sheets (just a few words or a picture on every sheet) as in content. He explained about ASH, AWR and ADDM - acronyms I had heard about but didn't quite understand the details (as I am not a DBA - apparently). The main message was: The only thing that really matters in the end is: DB Time, not latches, buffer gets, reads etc - only the time that passes between a user action and a system response defines the performance (but of course all the reads and latches and stuff lead to a certain DB Time...).

My own session:
On the last full day of the conference around 03:00 PM I had my session. It was a rather small room, with around 100 seats but pretty well attended with an audience of around 80 people. IMHO all went very good, ended right on time and could even answer some questions. My goal was to show that you can do a lot more with APEX than what is widely known and I think I got that message across. I did a sneak peek at the evaluation forms and saw a lot of 'Excellents' and 'Very goods' and some very positive comments. So I was (and still am) quite happy about that! BTW I already uploaded the application to apex.oracle.com, but I still have to seed it with some data. If that is finished I'll post the link on this blog.
Because there wasn't that much APEX going on, I 'had' to visit sessions with other interests, like performance tuning and JDev. I don't know yet if that's a good or a bad thing. But I will sure to try to get in (again as a presenter) next year! BTW next year the UKOUG will split the different streams into different shorter events. The (to me) most interesting event will still be at the end of November, but then only for three days.
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