ODTUG 2008 (week in review)

Well alot of people have been giving day by day reports about this years ODTUG (where do they get the time). So I figured I'd just post a weekly roundup on the proceedings.


The ODTUG 2008 event itself was alot of fun and very well organized.
From Tom Kyte's opening keynote , which was a very cool and non technical , looking at why we always need to question how and why we do the things we do because the way you used to do it might not be the right way anymore and it's our job to always make sure things are done in the right way.

To the closing night get together, complete with band , fortune tellers and beads the event was just very interesting with the right amount fun to keep everybody looking forward to what comes next. And the infrastructure of the event was put together so that getting to the sessions or events you needed to took the minimal of effort or fuss. I recommend this event to anyone interested in any of the tools that Oracle provides.


All I can say is "WOW"!! I knew people are using and interested in APEX but the amount of interest and usage is amazing. Almost every APEX session had a full room and many were standing room only. Many times I would just end up standing outside the door looking in just so I wasn't taking up a seat , that's the type of guy I am ;). I would say everybody at the event was surprised at the interest and energy of the APEX crowd including the APEX crowd itself.

During the sessions I'm amazed at the things people have done with our product, both from the people that just use the stock out of the box features. To applications that don't look or act like APEX at all until you look at the URL in the browser.

Both of these scenarios are perfect examples of the awesome cross section of APEX developers and uses, from the business user just trying to solve a business problem in the quickest / cheapest / reliable way around, to the advanced developer using custom javascript and/or third party libraries to provide APEX based RIA. APEX runs the gamut. Trying to be everything to everyone is hard and from everything I saw at ODTUG I would say that APEX is doing a very good job of it.

Carl @ ODTUG

Well here I have and will to be my own worst critic , unless someone else wants to jump in just try and make it constructive. I'll start with where I felt things were bad, and then mention the good. I wasn't as happy with my presentation as I should have been, and it was 100% my own fault, I will do better next time.

The Bad.

Two things I learned for giving presentations.

1. Never rewrite your whole presentation the day of the presentation. This seems such an obvious statement but this was my second presentation ever and I've made this same mistake twice now, I will not do it again.

2. Make sure that your mic is adjusted correctly before you start. Trying to adjust a mic in a very hot room 5 minutes into you presentation , while already a bit nervous, wastes too much time, makes the presenter even more nervous and compounds the problem. Next time mic will be right on the collar and everything will be perfect.

The Good

Rewriting my presentation was the right thing to do, I just should have done it earlier. The presentation I had , which I will eventually show , was very flashy and whizbang and would have been useless to pretty much everybody, though would have made me look great ;).

What I wanted to do ,and did, was show people some nuts and bolts examples of how things can be done in APEX, not how to fix or build particular things but to give people ideas of what can be done. Using an interactive report as the example I went through the features that are in APEX that allowed us to build them.

It ended up being a short and sweet session (48 min) but the room was very hot and it was the end of the day so I think the timing was near perfect in that respect. And I had enough people come up to me afterwards to ask questions and/or ask for the application that I think I did fairly well.

Thanks to everybody that attended, it does make one feel good to know that so many people are interested.

One thing I will do next time is Dietmar's suggestion , and how he did his session, which is to use screencasts of the functionality, live demo's are great but a screencast will show the same thing without the issue of having to jump back and forth between applications.

After a bit of cleanup I'll be putting both the slides and the application out for everybody to take a look at , plus to ODTUG so they can host on their site as well.

New Orleans

This was my first time to New Orleans and I had a real nice time. There were some very good restaurants and watering holes and I only had time to sample a few of each. The French Quarter was very cool with some of it's old style architecture. Bourbon Street was a experience in itself , and considering how crowded it was on just a random week I couldn't imagine being there during Mardi Gras, it must be insane.

Being from Vegas we have a joke , "Sure it's 120 f (50 c) but it's a dry heat!" , if New Orleans taught me one thing , that is not a joke! Vegas might be 120 but New Orleans at 82 felt alot hotter. I will tell that joke again in the future, but it will be a cold shiver down my spine as I remember what a non-dry heat feels like ;).

Lakers @ ODTUG

Congratulation's Boston.

Game 6 just happened to be the same night as the APEX meetup , which made going to a place with a TV mandatory. I was the only Laker fan in attendance at the APEX meetup and I remember all the names and faces of you haters :D

Hand grenade

A horrible yet intriguing drink, the name should be enough to keep you away from it, you have been warned.


At events like this it's the people that make it worthwhile , both the people in attendance and the people giving the session's, and this years ODTUG is no exception. Some of the most interesting ideas / questions / comments come outside the sessions, though the sessions are the catalyst. I learned quite a few new things about APEX and how people use it , along as with some other Oracle technologies and can't wait to start putting this information into action.

If you want more detailed accounts try searching through APEX Blog Aggregator or the Oracle News Aggregator there are many postings with much more detail on specific sessions.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Hi Carl,

    Your presentation was great! I sat front row and found it very informative and took lots of notes. I am sure everyone understands that things can get a little bumpy being in the spot light. You handled it very tactfully.

    I enjoyed your thoughts on the weather; I was born and raised in the south.

    Dietmar’s suggestion was very good; I will keep that in mind as well if I ever present something. <- that is a scary thought.

    Michael H.
    Anonymous said...

    I've got to apologize, I was going to jump up and help you with the Mic but kept thinking "he's going to get it this time"

    In hindsight I should have just shouted out and asked if you wanted a hand.

    As for your presentation, actually I thought it was great, some very cool stuff in there.

    I once heard (or read) somewhere that we are the least qualified to judge ourselves, it is up to everyone else to do that (since they are in the majority)

    By the way, you missed out the story of the amazing "neverending fly whiskeys" ;)

    Carl Backstrom said...
    @Michael H.

    Thanks for the kind words I will get better at it, hopefully it gave you some ideas.


    Yeah I will always be my own worst critic, but it's not a bad thing just makes you strive to be better.

    Yeah I didn't forget about the whiskey fly's that was horrible , hopefully one day I will just forget about it.

    Oh and I'm shooting for thursday to get the app out for people to play with.

    Anonymous said...

    I could add some constructiveness to your self-criticism. I thought you wowwed the crowd with some of the stuff you showed off. I think a lot of light bulbs lit up with "Wow, you can do that? Maybe I could use that to ... in my application at home!"

    Yes there were a few technical difficulties but we all know you're human. Well... Now I know it; before ODTUG I thought of you as one of the Oracle Apex Gods! :-)

    As to your self-recrimination about changing the presentation the night before, it sounds like you reached a lot more people with the changed version. My suggestion would have been to be sure to practice the new version a few more times, at least once with a stopwatch and an audience.

    The thing that I struggled with was that I didn't even know how to spell JSON before your presentation, so I didn't understand all of what you said about it and some of the other bits. I would have appreciated a little more intro on that and explanation of some of the concepts you were throwing out. I was totally lost at the end and frantically trying to take notes.

    For example, I thought you said that AJAX could be used for getting database values w/o a page submit, yet that seemed to be what you promoted JSON for. Are there times when one would work where the other didn't or one better than the other? I'm not sure when I'd want a light-weight data interchange format when it looks like I could use AJAX to do database lookups?

    Speaking my notes, I just looked back through them and you said (I think) "If you're not debugging using FireFox and FireBug, you're wasting your time." Other presenters (Dimitri) were promoting the new FireFox 3, so I installed it, but FireBug hasn't been upgraded to support FF3 yet! I know, not your fault, just thought people who haven't upgraded might want to know :-(

    Finally, I really appreciated one of your side-comments about using some of the cool display features such as FadeIn and FadeOut, which I paraphrased as "Using these gee-whiz features too much means you spend too much time implementing the JS library calls needed to do these things." Point taken. Rule: Only add enough functionality so the user can do their job effectively (unless it's your boss and some eye-candy won't affect the schedule significantly!)
    Unknown said...
    Hi Carl,

    well, I really enjoyed your presentation :).

    As for the presentation skills vs. the actual content: Speaking a "language" is important, but having "something to say" even more. And you had some pretty cool things to talk about.

    I am pretty sure you have gotten your message across. It is very important and motivating to see what can be done. And with the demo application at hands we can have a more detailed look later.

    That's fine.

    It was great seeing you again,
    Bharat said...
    you are THE UI god and i thought you did great. as much as i love dietmar i personally think screen casts are like lip-sync-ing..
    and now some NBA..who were the guys who were not Lakers fans??? put some Easter eggs in their APEX environments :).

    do you have the demo website available online??

    see you at the OOW 2008..

    take care


Post a Comment