An Interview with Oracle-Base’s Tim Hall

thatjeffsmith Database Stuff 10 Comments

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Mixing things up today with a quick Q&A with the guy that that generates most of the Google results to your pressing Oracle ‘how do I…?’ questions.

Tim isn’t just a walking website, he’s also a great communicator. If you haven’t had a chance to see him speak at an Oracle conference, it’s probably because you don’t go to Oracle conferences – he gets around! Make sure you follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his blog, and all that jazz.

I asked Tim if he’d answer a few questions, and he politely obliged. I think Tim is the rare bird that can both explore all the newest stuff in great detail, AND always tie it in to what’s actually going on in the real world. It’s almost like he’s got two jobs…anyways, without further ado:

Q: How often do you find yourself reading your own articles for help/refresher on a problem or project? It happens to me more often than I ever imagined before I started writing.

A: I am the biggest user of my website. I have a terrible memory, so I need it in order to do my job. I guess that’s why people like it. It’s functional, not full of bloat. I will often Google things and find my article, not remembering I’ve already written about the subject. πŸ™‚

This is every blogger’s biggest secret…we write for ourselves first! — aside from Jeff

Q: My favorite (work) memory of you was taking over our ORDS booth at OOW last year and doing a full blown 30 minute sales pitch/demo of our tech to some customers. Could you give a shorter version of that here?

Tim literally ran the booth for about 30 minutes.

A: ORDS is a little WAR file you can run on WebLogic, Glashfish, Tomcat or in standalone mode. It allows you to bind URIs to database calls (SQL or PL/SQL). If you are running PL/SQL Web Toolkit apps, possible since Oracle 8i, ORDS just acts like a gateway and pushes the content back out the the client. If you are doing RESTful web services, ORDS can do loads more, including REST enabling tables, views and PL/SQL in the Oracle Database, and making the Oracle database work like a document store using SODA. It’s just a really handy tool for exposing the content of your database as RESTful web services without you having to do all the JSON creation yourself.

Q: Is there a 12.2 or even just 12c tech that you look forward to implementing at work – you know, in your β€˜real’ job?

A: I love the completion of the JSON support in Oracle 12.2. In Oracle 12.1 the JSON support in the database was mostly about consuming JSON data. In 12.2 the picture has been completed by including SQL/JSON to generate JSON from a query, and the PL/SQL Objects for JSON, which allow you to parse or generate JSON data from PL/SQL. Prior to 12.2 you are forced to dome some of the work with the APEX_JSON package, which is good, but it’s nice to have this functionality native in the database.

Q: Dessert island – way better than a desert island – what Oracle book or reference do you bring with you?

A: I’m assuming I can’t take the full set of manuals right? If not, then it would have to be Troubleshooting Oracle Performance by Christian Antognini. I think it’s the only Oracle book I have read from cover to cover like a novel. It’s really informative, but most importantly it’s really well written.

Q: Where do you see Oracle conferences and user groups evolving over the next few years? You go to a lot of these, and I’m β€˜feeling’ like change is afoot.

A: I think conferences are having an increasingly difficult time. I think part of the problem is people have got used to getting their information from the internet. When I started out this didn’t exist, so the reference manuals and conferences were the only way to learn stuff. For many the conference was the only way to short-cut the learning experience. Now we have a myriad of blogs and videos at our disposal. The conferences that seem to do the best are the smaller ones that still have a “family” feel to them.

Q: If you could make any feature happen in any of our tools, what would you wish for?

A: So much of Oracle goes unused because of licensing issues. I would just love it if everything was included in the base product. πŸ™‚

Yeah, I wish we could make all of it free, but then I also kinda need to send my kids to college at some point. I do like that XE is getting a big update and that our Cloud subscription model makes many of the ‘advanced’ features more readily available to folks. — another note from Jeff

Thanks Tim!

If you enjoyed this little back and forth, let us know in the comments, and we’ll try it again with another community member!

If you ever see Tim in the wild, be sure to ask him about his Oracle family, the Oracle game console, and his laundry.

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    1. thatjeffsmith Post
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  1. Yea, I do that with my own blog all the time. “Oh! Look at that! I wrote about that, lets see what I said….” Tim’s and yours Jeff are two of my favorites outside of mine of course. πŸ™‚

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
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  2. Great interview Jeff! I really liked the dessert island question. It is good to see answers to these sorts of questions from respected folks like Tim.

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
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  3. Excellent.

    It would be great, if you bring Tom kyte back here in this QA.

    we know he got retired, but good to see him back πŸ™‚

      1. thatjeffsmith Post
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