Odds and Ends

May 10th, 2007 by

Just a quick catch up post, as I sit here watching Spurs draw 1-1 with Blackburn.

Brian Duff posted a link earlier this week to the new Oracle Blogs Semantic Web site, that aggregates a much wider set of blogs than the old blogs.oracle.com site, and adds some Ajax, tags and semantic web goodness to allow you to list blogs by author, tag, date of posting and so on. What’s particularly cool is it’s (I presume) parsing of blog content to add it’s own tags, so that I can list out my own postings and view them by tags such as “Identity Management”, “SOA Suite” and so on. Not bad actually, miles better than the old OTN blogs site and it’s good to see something going beyond even Orablogs and OraNA.info.

On the subject of Oracle and blogging, I read and followed with interest the debate on various sites last week on Oracle Corporation and it’s (lack of) respect in the blogosphere. I was a bit snowed under with work at the time so didn’t join in, and I have got a fair bit of sympathy for Justin’s position, but looking back there’s probably two suggestions I could make that I think would significantly increase Oracle’s credibility in at least the technical blogging community:

  • Have Oracle staff actually comment on your blog postings, join in the debate, discuss why things work the way they do and how they could be improved/extended or whatever. I do get a bit of this in postings on one or two product areas but overall it’s pretty rare, which gives the impression after a while that most of the activity Oracle does in the blogosphere is broadcasting rather than discussing, if you see what I mean.
  • Have more technical staff (i.e. the development team for particular products, or consultants, or pre-sales consultants) blog, AS WELL as the product marketing managers, VPs and so on. I’d love to get in to conversation with the developers of OWB, or of OBI EE, or Discoverer or whatever, not just the PMs (though that’s good as well). Every so often I get the odd email from product developers but I’d love read in a blog what they have to say about why OWB works the way it does, what’s coming up, why they chose this particular architecture and so on.

And on that particular subject, it was through the new OTN BlogsSemantic Web site that I came across the new Oracle Warehouse Builder blog, hosted by Jean-Pierre Djicks and with contributions from … the OWB development team. So there you go, that’s exactly what I’m talking about and here’s hoping we see something similar in time from the team behind OBI EE, Hyperion, Data Integrator and Discoverer (Tim Dexter already does a sterling job for BI Publisher, Mike Durran and Abhinav Argawal post every so often on Discoverer but it’d also be good to get some content from the product developers as well). Taking at look at the OWB blog, there’s already some good postings on Speeding-up the Control Center Manager, how to restore the OWB Design Center panels when you move them all around, and creating an XML view for use with OWB, so take a look when you get a chance as it’s all very good content.

For me, I’ve got a very full and interesting two or three weeks coming up. I’m off to Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday to present a one-day Oracle BI Suite Enterprise Edition Masterclass on Tuesday for Oracle South Africa, then I’m back in the UK, taking part in an Oracle BI and SOA workshop on the Wednesday, presenting at and chairing the UKOUG BIRT SIG in London on Thursday, off to see a potential new partner on Friday and then off to Lyon on Sunday for the Hyperion Conference. After that, it’s back for a day, then off to the Miracle Scotland Database Forum, then back, then a week’s holiday, then ODTUG in the States. At the UKOUG event I’ll be presenting on “Moving to OBIEE from a Discoverer Users’ Perspective”, where I’ll go through the manual migration process, show how Videostore data and reports can be recreated in OBI EE, and do a demo showing how the process works and what you can do with new technologies such as Delivers, Dashboards and Answers. If anyone’s interested, I’ve uploaded the slides here, there’s a couple of weeks until the talk so if you’ve got any feedback or suggestions, let me know and there might be time to incorporate some changes or additional material.

Finally, if you’ve installed OBIEE and are wondering why you can’t get the scheduler (i.e. Delivers) working, this link might help. There’s one more post-install step that encrypts the Administrator password that you need to carry out, I had the same problem but following the direction in this OTN posting sorted it out for me. Just in case anyone else has the same problem.


  1. Brian Duff Says:

    I think Justin’s post did a great thing – it sparked a considerable amount of debate about what we’re doing in terms of reaching out to the Oracle community and what we need to do better on.

    And you’re right – besides being cool, the new semantic web blog page is a huge improvement over the existing blogs.oracle.com homepage, chiefly because it’s dynamic. I always felt that when the OTN team rolled out blogs.oracle.com, the front page was the weakest link. It’s awesome that this is being addressed. I found the blogs semantic web quite by accident while surfing around on OTN (I don’t think it had been officially announced anywhere yet), so I really was genuinely impressed by it :)

    BTW – I’d also like to hear more from the developers of OWB. The IDE / JDeveloper team has been working with some of their developers for the last year or so, and there are Very Cool Things in the future of that product. It was particularly good to hear about Jean-Pierre Djicks’ blog.

    I think one thing that makes it a little hard for oracle developers to blog is that we still have fairly tight control over what we’re allowed to say, particularly with regards to future product direction. We have Sarbanes-Oxley to thank partially for this (although having read the act, I’m still not terribly clear specifically why). I think more transparency would be a good thing, even if it means we have to release stuff more often.

    It’s *way* easier to blog just after a release goes out the door, as evidenced by the recent 11g technology preview of JDeveloper. There’s a tonne of stuff I’ve been buffering up for months that I can now talk about freely. And I find that the more I blog myself, the easier it is to read other blogs and participate in them.

  2. Jean-Pierre Dijcks Says:

    Since I’m mentioned here, just some thoughts on this. From the OWB side of things we are looking for a couple of things. One is to get some “less-known” features etc out to the community, the other is to get a quick turn around media on new features. Long term goal (and we have not yet figured this out completely) is to have the community actually drive OWB features. We never had and never will have a “what should we do now moment”, but I think we need more involvement in technical implementation details when we do the functional spec. I’m thinking of, build feature X, make it do this is priority 1, that priority 2 and the others, well whenever you get to it.

    As an example, while building SCD support we made some choices, and in retrospect we should have not done so, having the community chime in would help there.

    So stay tuned on that (it will be long term!)…

    I guess I will also encourage people on the OWB team to tell the community why certain things are as they are… and glad to see that the OWB blog is helpful…

Website Design & Build: tymedia.co.uk