Simple Oracle Document Access (SODA)

ordsAt Oracle OpenWorld 2014 I spoke about the existence of the Simple Oracle Document Access (SODA) functionality after a visit to the Demo Grounds. At that point I didn’t know it was called SODA though. I was hoping to get on the beta for the next release of ORDS, so I could try it out, but that never materialised and I promptly forgot about it… 🙂

During my recent whistle-stop tour of ORDS, I was reminded of its existence again, so I’ve had a play with it. It was kind-of fun pretending I was a Javascript and MongoDB developer. 🙂

I guess the obvious questions is, “Why?”, and that is a tough one for me too.

I suppose for a company that is already an Oracle player who want document database functionality with a strong link to relational technologies it might make sense. SODA is all about JSON documents stored in the database and Oracle 12c comes with some pretty cool JSON support in the database. Transitioning between the two worlds is relatively easy in Oracle 12c.

The counter argument will be Oracle is really expensive and document databases are really cheap/free. There is also the performance aspect. Your typical NoSQL document store can pull numbers that will make Oracle weep, even if it can be akin to piping your data to “/dev/null”. 🙂 So why pay big bucks to turn Oracle into a slower version of something that’s free?

I honestly don’t know what the answer is, but I know I liked playing around with this stuff. Time will tell if it finds a niche.



Oracle Midlands : Event #16 – Summary

oracle-midlandsLast night was Oracle Midlands Event #16 and we were lucky enough to get Jonathan Lewis for the third time. I think he now holds the record for the most presentations at Oracle Midlands. Both his sessions were on indexing.

The first session was really a general session about B-Tree and Bitmap indexes. What they are. Where they are not. Ways to reduce the number of indexes or avoid indexes entirely etc. It started with some basic information, almost like a primer, then worked on through to some more complicated stuff. Jonathan encouraged questions as he went along, and he got plenty.

I like the broad appeal of this type of format because it means there is something for everyone in the room. The newer people are going to get lost after a while, but they still get something out of the session. The more seasoned people get a refresher, then get challenged more as the session goes on. For me it takes time for some of the concepts to sink in, so each time I see a session like this I will get a little further along and things will click a little better. If I watched a session just full of the complicated stuff I would probably switch off. Just the simple stuff and I would be bored. This approach draws you along and allows you to work a little past your comfort zone. 🙂

Because of the number of questions, the first session was running long, so we had a short break, then Jonathan finished the first session and started on the second…

redstacktechThe second session focussed on the things that have happened over the years that affect how we approach indexing. This included features in a number of database versions that either directly or indirectly affect indexing. Jonathan also talked about the impact of technologies like partitioning, Exadata and InMemory that may give us situations where the best index is no index. 🙂

I got a lot out the these sessions. I asked a lot of questions and got to clear up a bunch of things in my head. I tend to mostly work on OLTP systems, so there is a lot of warehousing stuff where I don’t get a lot of practical experience. Knowing the theory and actively using it are two very different things, so it’s good to have an opportunity to get direct answers like this.

Thanks to Jonathan for coming to speak to us. Thanks as always to Red Stack Tech for sponsoring the event, allowing it to remain free, and to Mike for organising it!

See you all again soon!



Happy birthday to me!

birthday-cake-clipartIt’s that time again. Another year older and unfortunately not another year wiser. I still keep reliving those same mistakes again and again. I guess the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, is true. 🙂

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but the plans for this next year are “to do me” a bit more. That might sound funny to people who know me, as I am incredibly self-centred, but I keep getting distracted from my path. There are certain things that make me happy and I’m distracted from them by all the stuff going on around me. Rather than concentrating on what I do well, I end up doing a bunch of other mediocre stuff, which makes me frustrated and it all kind-of spirals down from there.

That may sound a bit negative, but it’s not meant to be. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you can’t expect other people to be honest with you. 🙂

So that’s 47 years done. Let’s start the 48th. Here we go!



PS. Diet starts tomorrow. 🙂

Oracle Public Cloud User Experience Issues

For some time I’ve been openly critical of the user experience (UX) of Oracle Public Cloud. Just to be clear what I mean by this…

  • I am not talking about the quality of the services that are delivered, or the underlying technologies being used. I’m talking about the day-to-day usage of the Oracle Public Cloud (OPC) interface. The web pages you use to administer this stuff.
  • I’m not talking about the SaaS offerings, like Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications. I have no experience of them, so I am not in a position to comment on them.

With that understood, I have some big issues with the UI/UX of Oracle Public Cloud. I have been providing feedback (briefings, webinars, direct feedback and private forum posts) for some time, but while there are some improvements, the experience of administering your services through the OPC web interface is far behind that provided by Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure IMHO.

We recently had an ACED webinar and during the questions at the end I had a little rant about the user experience. Once that had ended, I wrote and email apologising to the presenter, but also listing a few of my gripes. I also reached out to the Oracle Applications User Experience team…

Yesterday I had a phone call with Jeremy Ashley about the situation and in the next couple of weeks I will hopefully be engaging with the UX team to discuss and demonstrate the issues I have.

Most of the problems I have are about wanting to follow a natural flow of tasks. Many aspects of the interface look like a developer has tried to expose the underlying tech, rather than asking how a user might want to interact with the service. The interface and the implementation do not have to match!

I was going to start a series of blog posts discussing the various UI/UX issues that annoy me, but I will probably hold back on that. Doing some constructive criticism directly to people that can make a difference is much better than me publicly throwing my toys out of the pram, but it’s not quite as fun. 🙂

Fingers crossed!



PS. I’ve been getting some stick from the guys at work about my telephone voice at the start of the call with Jeremy. I allegedly sounded like a cross between Hyacinth Bucket and Kenneth Williams. 🙂