I've been meaning to write up my thoughts from this years IOUG Collaborate event. Ian Abramson, the president of the IOUG, has a nice series of write ups on the event itself - starting with day 1 through day 3 and then a wrap-up post. He describes it as a three day event - but to me it is more of a four day thing. For the last couple of years, I've done a university day at Collaborate - so once again I spent all day Sunday May 3rd in a conference center talking about Oracle for eight hours. This year I talked about Encryption, all of the Flashback technologies, Read & Write Consistency (a really nice way to introduce the flashback stuff actually, sort of a pre-requisite) and Database Reorganizations (when to, when not to and when you have to - how to).
I also had a one hour "regular" session on Monday where I presented on "What's new in Oracle Application Development" where I touched on general database enhancements, ODP.Net, PHP/Ruby/Python, Java/JDBC, SQL Developer and APEX advances. This is the session where I got most of the questions/comments this year.
I think I might have scared away some of the DBA crowd with my session title, they see "Application Development" and stay away - but I know for sure at least one DBA was in the audience. He came up to me afterwards and commented on how glad he was to have attended - for a pretty simple reason. In each of the tools I discussed (mostly .NET, SQL Developer and APEX) - I pointed out how they easily tied the application into AWR (automatic workload repository) and ASH (active session history) facilities and how they could be used as an interface to the tuning/diagnostic packs. He is sure the developers he supports are unaware of this tie in and he himself certainly was - but his first course of action upon getting back to the office would be to expose them to it. The problem he has had in the past is that many people consider tuning "a DBA task" - when in fact - it is really a developer's thing to do. Since most developers don't have access to, or don't want access to Enterprise Manager - they assumed the advanced tuning features were not available to them. Not any more - all of the development tools now have tie in's to AWR/ASH and various features of the tuning/diagnostic packs.
One of the areas of large interest is the new (in beta) SQL Developer data modeling features. A lot of people (self included) still find the good old ERD (entity relationship diagram) a good way to envision/model your schema. SQL Developer now has an engine to do just that - with the ability to spit out various different physical models from the same logical model - either in support of different databases (yes, it does not just do Oracle), or in support of different environments (simple storage characteristic changes).
One thing I find interesting/good about an event like Collaborate is the ability to learn something new. Even after using Oracle for going on 22 years, I still learn something new often (almost every day). Regardless of your skill level, there is the opportunity to expand your knowledge of the stuff you use. For example - Jonathan Lewis (a pretty smart guy when it comes to Oracle knowledge) posted about some things he discovered for the first time. I strongly encourage everyone to attend at least one event if possible every year - to network, to learn and..... to present. IOUG Collaborate is a good venue for doing that - UKOUG is another - and the call for papers for the UKOUG event in November is currently happening.... Take a chance - go for it. It'll probably go much better than my first presentation :)