Oracle Documentation: The broken links fiasco continues…

So I was just patting myself on the back for finishing my website clean up, then I happened on a few pages with broken links to Oracle documentation. That annoyed me, but I figured I better do a quick scan to see how many broken external links I had. The first attempt was a complete fail because the tool I used clicked all my Google Adsense adverts, making me a DotCom millionaire in about 3 minutes. I wrote to Google and apologised profusely. In my defense, the tool I used was right at the top of the list in the Chrome Web App Store…

Once I got a link checker that didn’t put me at risk of a jail sentence, things got a little more depressing. A very large number of my articles contain broken links to Oracle documentation. As I started looking at links it became apparent that Oracle have used at least 3 main URLs for documentation over the years:

  • (8i -> 10gR2)
  • (11gR1 -> 11gR2)
  • (post 11gR2 stuff)

The versions listed are based on the links I’ve added in my articles. If you check today, all/most docs come from the “” address.

This in itself shouldn’t present a problem, because any company with an involvement in the web knows that URLs should never change. If by chance you do have to change something, you put a redirect in place. The problem is, Oracle don’t do this, or at least not consistently. Check out the following three URLs:

They are the same document, just using the three base URLs I mentioned previously. If you click them, you’ll notice the first one fails and the following two work. My guess is Oracle have created a 301 permanent redirect from “” to “”, but not bothered to maintain the “” URL, thereby breaking just about every link to its docs on the internet that references anything older than about 11gR1. That includes forums (including their own), blog posts, documents containing URLs etc. It’s just a nightmare.

So PLEASE Oracle:

  • Stop changing URLs.
  • When you do change them, PLEASE use rewrites/redirects properly.
  • Remember, your rewrites/redirects should be permanent, not just long enough for search engines to update their indexes.

This would solve the vast majority of my gripes about the links to the Oracle docs…


  • For those not familiar with web servers, this kind of rewrite/redirect for a whole domain name is really simple. It’s one line in your “.htaccess” file, not a separate one for each page, so I’m not asking for the world here. 🙂
  • I am aware there are other issues with changing URLs at Oracle that a blanket redirect would not solve. I’m not even going to start on whitepapers and PDFs…



Website Updates: Cleanup Complete…

I wrote last month about some issues with my website as a result of an issue with my hosting provider. It’s been a very long and arduous process, but I think I’ve finally finished the last of the cleanup. It’s certainly not something I would like to repeat again. Having said that, there are lots of positives about the process.

  • When I started the website, over 11 years ago, my knowledge of HTML was very limited. In going back through all the pages to clean up the logical corruption it gave me an opportunity to clean up the HTML as well. I don’t think anyone on the outside looking in would notice the difference, but it makes me happier to know things are a little more in order.
  • I used my web stats to decide which pages to sort out first, figuring it would make sense to focus on the stuff that people are actually reading first. That in itself was a bit of a revelation. There are a lot of very old articles on the site and I kinda figured people don’t look at them much these days. It appears that’s not exactly true. This presented a couple of problems. First, some articles were really bad! I managed to turn a blind eye to this when I thought people weren’t reading them, but once I saw people were still hitting them I decided to rewrite them. That took a lot more time than I expected. In other cases, all that was required were more obvious links to the updated content. Many articles now have “Related articles” links at the top.
  • I use a home-grown CMS to manage the site. This process has forced me improve it and fix some of the things that were bugging me.

Even with all the positives, I still feel a little frustrated by all this. The time this has eaten up has impacted badly on my to-do list. I started this process the evening after I attended Cary Millsap‘s Mastering Oracle Trace Data course. As a result, I’ve not reviewed the material from the course, or even downloaded the free tools yet. That’s pretty high up my list.




Underworld: Awakening…

I went to watch the 3D version of Underworld: Awakening yesterday.

I’ve made my feeling know about 3D several times and this film changes nothing. The 3D element is an expensive gimmick I can live without. What’s more, the 3D in this film is pretty crappy. It looks like a post-production thing, rather than being filmed in 3D. It just so happens the cinema I went to was only showing it in 3D so I had little choice.

3D gripe aside, what did I think of the film? I liked it. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table. In fact it’s very much like the previous two films starring Kate Beckinsale, but it is crammed with iconic slow-mo shots that scream cool to people like me who are fans of women kicking ass in films. Just like the Resident Evil films, if they keep making them, I’ll keep watching them, pretty much regardless of plot or quality… 🙂



Windows: The easy option for Oracle…

I mentioned this when I blogged about my 11gR2 Virtual RAC install on Windows 2008. It came up in a conversation with Niall Litchfield at UKOUG 2011 and I’m reminded of it again today, after doing an 11gR2 install on Windows XP to double-check my answer to a question. Oracle database installs on Windows are so incredibly easy!

Now I’m not saying I would want to run Oracle on Windows out of choice. I’m a Linux fanboy, as you probably know, but even the most staunch Linux fan would have to agree that Oracle installs on Linux require quite a few prerequisite steps, even with the oracle-validated package. There is just nothing to do on Windows except put in the CD (iso image) and go…

Anyway, having spent a minute thinking about the “dark side”, I’m going back to Linux… 🙂



Free Book Offer…

Just a quick heads-up for anyone who is interested in getting hold of a free copy of
OCA Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I: A Real World Certification Guide.

There are two free e-books to be won. The two people that contact Sunil Chakravarthy ( giving the best reason why they want a free copy of this book win.

Please don’t contact me about this offer. It’s not my book and it’s not my competition. 🙂 Good luck.



(Orthodox) New Years Resolutions…

I’ve not become all religious. I’m just using this variant on new year to start my new year in earnest. The start of this year has been a little shaky for me. The first couple of days I was a little under the weather and I kinda decided to break all my planned new years resolutions to make myself feel better. Seeing as now we are half way through January, that process lasted a little longer than I expected. 🙂

I don’t really take new years resolutions very seriously, so instead I’m going to list a few things I am going to focus on in the coming year. Kinda like a mission statement to try and live up to.


  • Keep trying to write new material, but don’t worry if it comes slow. It’s been a long time since 11gR2 was released and 12c won’t come until the end of the year. This period is always a little stagnant.
  • Revise your existing material. Some of the stuff on the site is 11+ years old and it’s well dodgy. (blog post about that on the way)
  • Start writing more general stuff about Linux. (See below)
  • Write more, but don’t always hit the publish button on everything.

Tech Stuff:

  • I fancy doing the RHCSA and RHCE exams. I’ve been using Linux for over 10 years and looking through the syllabus I seem to know most of the content, but it will be a nice exercise to focus on it for a while. I might write articles on my revision notes for the exams, even if I never bother getting round to taking the exams themselves. 🙂


  • Keep getting to the gym. Not every day has to be a memorable performance. Just don’t get out of the rhythm of going.
  • Eat less. Whatever you think you need, halve it and have a little bit less than that. Remember, your stomach is the same size as your fist.


  • Be more tolerant of others. You expect others to tolerate your peculiar ways, so return the favor.
  • Be a bit more sociable. I like meeting people, but it is not a natural state for me. If I’m honest I’m happiest when I’m on my own. Give humans a chance.
  • Speak less, listen more. (like that’s going to happen)
  • Consume less. This might sound funny to people who know me because apart from computers I own nothing, but there is always something else you can get rid of. Don’t become a martyr to the process though.
  • Try to wear something that isn’t an OTN t-shirt. I was told by someone at a conference that they were asked, “Who’s that guy that’s always in Oracle t-shirts?” 🙂
  • Either grow a beard or shave more often. Take your pick.
  • Try not to take criticism personally, especially when it comes from the internet.

That’ll do for the moment… 🙂



Dbvisit Standby…

Several years ago I met Arjen Visser and Bertie Plaatsman from Dbvisit and they told me about their standby database product, which is a replacement for Data Guard. Now I don’t spend much time on non-Oracle products, but this one was interesting to me as it works on Standard Edition, unlike Data Guard which is an Enterprise Edition option. From that point onward I kept seeing Arjen and conferences and telling myself I really should take a look at the product.

Over last year I bumped into Arjen at a few conferences, along with some other members of the company (Eric, Mike and Vit). They are a cool group of people, so my interest in their products was ignited again. Finally, after several years of showing interest I tried out the standby product towards the end of last year, which resulted in the following article.

I held the article back until now because I was waiting for version 6.0.16 to be released so I could check out the revised web interface.

It’s a really nice product. Simple to install. Easy to use. Does exactly what it says it does. Most importantly, it’s backed by a cool group of people. When I tried the previous releases I had a few comments about the documentation and those were taken on board and changes were made. This is why I like dealing with smaller companies. There aren’t endless layers of bureaucracy involved in changing a few sentences in an install document. 🙂

I’ve said I’ll give their replication product (kinda like Golden Gate) a go, but based on previous experience it will probably take me about 4 years to get round to that. 🙂



Amazon Kindle…

One of my justifications for buying the iPad was I would use the Kindle App on it and save lots of money on buying paper books. That didn’t happen because the iPad is a really crappy reading device for novels. It’s way to big and heavy and has a nasty glossy screen that it totally crap for reading unless the light is perfect…

Using the same price justification again, I finally got round to buying myself an Kindle from Amazon. I bought the lowest spec one, which should be fine for me. My first impressions are it’s really cool. It’s very small and lite and most importantly the screen is great for reading novels.

I’ve just started reading the Repairman Jack series. Comparing the Kindle and paperback prices of the books, that series alone should pay for the cost of the device.

Let’s hope I do better with this than the iPad… 🙂



PS. So now I have to travel with a laptop, iPad and Kindle… 🙁