Saturday, August 18, 2007

How I Got Started...

It all started 5 1/2 years ago, my first IT job as a reports developer. I was given a tnsnames file and SQL*Plus. What? What the hell am I supposed to do with this?

I learned about databases through Microsoft's Access. While I would never want to go back to it, I am thankful it was there or I probably would never have learned. I was basically a secretary (administrative assistant for the PC). I got tired of entering in the same thing every month and knew there had to be a better way. So I put it in Access to speed things up a bit. I began to annoy the crap out of the IT department. I now wanted raw feeds of the data so that I wouldn't have to type in anything...

Finally a friend came along and offered me a job.

That's when I met Oracle.

So there I sat on my first day wondering where the tables where. I couldn't "see" them. I needed to "see" them dammit. Within a week I had set up an Access database to be my front end to Oracle; I couldn't stand not "seeing" the tables.

That got old real quick though. The sheer volume of data caused that. Within weeks, I was using SQL*Plus and beggining to learn the data dictionary.

I'd ask my cube mate, "How do I see the source of the view?"

SELECT text FROM user_views WHERE view_name = 'MY_VIEW';

Oh yeah; SET LONG 100000

I was fortunate enough to have a helpful cube mate.

And so began my obsession...

I would say it took a good year before I really started to feel comfortable with SQL*Plus and Oracle, and 5 years later, I'm still using it.

I'm glad I was forced to learn Oracle that way. I believe that I have a far better understanding of how Oracle works because of my experience.


Anonymous said...

Very true, Chet. Having to use a command line tool to talk to the database does force you to learn the data dictionaries and system views to pull information out of the DB. The GUI tools that most of us prefer to use do all that grunt work for us.

Of course, I liken the preference for SQL*Plus over a GUI tool to the differences between the traditional Quakers and the rest of the technological world.

I've relied on a GUI tool for so long, that I have to do a quick search on the names for the system tables/views if I ever have to do something "long hand".

oraclenerd said...

I should have figured you'd comment on this one. ;)

I have no rebuttal really. I can't put into words why I believe it is better (at least in the beginning) to use sql*plus. I have no facts to back it up either. Maybe I'll have to think on that one a bit more...