Friday, May 29, 2009

SOUG: Oracle OLAP - John Paredes

I just returned from the SOUG meeting. Yes, it's 3 or 4 hours after the meeting officially ended. I needed to relax and enjoy the company of one Mr. Dan McGhan. I'll get to that in a minute though.

Tonight's presentation was on Oracle's OLAP capabilities by John Paredes who is the author of The Multidimensional Data Modeling Toolkit. John's education is in Electrical Engineering and Statistics. He's scary smart. Scientist smart. The first five minutes he demonstrated a sharp wit and a great sense of humor. Unfortunately he didn't go into the details that I was hoping for with OLAP.

I asked if he could explain the difference between OLAP and a product like OBIEE. I'm not sure he gave me an exact response, but I believe I was able to glean how OLAP fit into the Data Warehouse world. Now, I could be wrong, but OLAP essentially sits atop the data warehouse similar to a aggregate materialized view, only it's a cube...which apparently can have 5 dimensions. I thought a cube was 3, but admittedly I don't know enough about OLAP (or how it relates to data warehousing).

Ultimately his presentation was interesting. I would have preferred fewer slides and more of the technical stuff, but that's me. He discussed the role of an analyst in being able to turn this data into information that the business could then use. I did like the term Exploratory Data Analysis, which basically means, let me see the data and then I might figure something out.

The short of it, I would like to have beers with John, he just needs to utilize his natural skills a little better.

Oh yeah, Dan McGhan. I "presented" with Dan last year on Application Express at SOUG. By "presented" I mean I let him do all the talking and I not so quietly threw small problems at him by not installing Flash or dropping a table or something fun like that...I just wanted to see how he would handle it.

So we finally got out of there around 8 and headed over to Selmon's, a local eatery (more importantly though it has a bar). He described a project he's working on, to basically create PL/SQL libraries that will eventually be released into the wild. He's already released TapiGen, which generates code to do UPDATE/INSERT/DELETE on specific tables (which I'm not a huge fan of, but can at least appreciate his initiative) and also plRecur which generates dates based on recurrence. Modeled after the syntax used in DBMS_SCHEDULER. Thankfully, thankfully, Dan has seen the light and finally switched to putting commas where they the end of the line. I've been after him for that since we met. I told he we couldn't hang out until he changed.

Dan is an incredibly resourceful guy and very much under-appreciated. He's got a million ideas about future projects that I had to have a beer or 2 just to keep up with them.

It was a good night, some nice technical content and good (Oracle) conversation afterwards.

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