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In the last four weeks, I had the chance to speak at three different conferences. This was the finish of an intensive conference year for me with many impressions, learning, knowledge sharing, new and old contacts and of course a lot of fun.

I am traveling back home in the train from Frankfurt to Zurich after my last conference in 2019 and use this time for my third conference review of this year. 2019 was a very intensive year for me, I had the pleasure to speak at several conferences (see also part 1 and part 2 of my little conference review series). Here a short summary of the last three conferences this year.

DOAG Konferenz 2019, Nuremberg

The DOAG conference in Nuremberg, organized by DOAG (“Deutsche ORACLE-Anwendergruppe e.V.”, i.e. German Oracle User Group) is a very important conference for my employer Trivadis, because most of our customers are in the German speaking countries Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Our company was able to present 37 sessions on the 3-days conference. The complete list of presentations you find here.

Because it is also an important conference for me and I want to attend whenever possible, I submitted 3 abstracts this year, all of them for new presentations. I hoped that at least one of them will be accepted. In July, I got three acceptance mails for DOAG – and I had to develop three completely new presentations. Of course, this was a lot of work, but I hope I can “recycle” these presentations a couple of times on other conferences (like the “Horror SQL” presentation which I prepared for DOAG 2018 and presented 9 times until now). This year I presented the following sessions:

  • Vom Data Vault ins Star Schema: Ladekonzepte müssen reifen: Together with my wife Andrea Kennel we explained how information can be extracted from a Data Vault model and loaded into a dimensional Star Schema. For this we implemented different solutions with loads of physical tables and with virtual data marts using views. For developing the different solutions and for the live demos during the presentation, we used an Autonomous Data Warehouse in the “always free” Oracle Cloud, and as (almost real) use cases we implemented an example data model for our microbrewery Monsterbräu.
  • Query Rewrite: Die Königsdisziplin von Materialized Views: In customer projects and in trainings I’m always surprised how many developers and DBAs are not aware of powerful features of the Oracle database. The purpose of this presentation was to explain the concept of Query Rewrite on Materialized Views and to show the different possibilities of advanced query rewrite with several live demos. As it seems, the topic was interesting enough for many attendees: over 200 attendees joined my session, the room was completely full.
  • Generische Datenmodelle: Grenzenlose Flexibilität?: Sooner or later, every data modeler comes up with the “glorious” idea to create a generic data model to keep the number of tables small and the data model clear. I made the same mistake in the past, too. In this session, I explained why a generic approach is a very bad idea for data modeling and why it should be avoided.

Birthday cake and good coffee at the Trivadis booth (photo: Kim Berg Hansen)

There was a funny detail on the DOAG conference this year: For the 25th anniversary of Trivadis, a birthday cake was offered every afternoon to the conference attendees, and all employees and speakers of our company got a green Trivadis sweater and a red polo shirt. This made it very easy to see my colleagues in the different sessions during the conference. Compared to my very first DOAG conference in 2004, where most of the people were wearing black suits and ties, the conference is definitely more colorful today.

UKOUG Techfest19, Brighton

Ukoug 1 Ukoug 2
Ready to present after a short night / Oracle ACE chocolate tasting in the evening

What is the difference between English tourists and Oracle nerds? English tourists travel to Brighton in Summer for swimming and enjoying the sea. We travel to Brighton in December for the UKOUG Techfest19 and enjoyto bing a very good conference. For me, it was the third time I was able to attend the UKOUG conference. The most obvious difference to the previous events in Birmingham (2017) and Liverpool (2018) was that there were less attendees in Brighton. Unlike in previous years, there is not one big conference with different streams (TECH, APPS, JDE) anymore. The conference in Brighton was “only” the Tech conference, which is called “Techfest” now. The application stream will have its own conference in summer. From my point of view, this separation makes sense, because most of the attendees will join only sessions of one stream.

Additionally to my session Avoid “Horror Queries”: Keep Your SQL Simple and Fast which I presented on most of the conferences I attended this year, I was able to give another presentation: The Night is Too Short: 10 Tips to Improve Query Performance. I don’t know if it was coincidence or intention that this session was scheduled in the first slot at 9am in the morning, but the title was a good match for the real situation. After several drinks at the hotel bar in the night before and a few hours of sleep, I was tired, but happy to present my 10 tips in front of an interested audience.

Socializing is an important part on every conference, also the three days (and nights) at the UKOUG conference. Fortunately, there are many good restaurants and pubs in Brighton. In addition to the official ACE Dinner on Monday evening, the legendary Chocolate Tasting took place again this year – with a good representation of Swiss chocolate (ok, to be honest, the Belgium chocolate wasn’t bad either).

IT-Tage 2019, Frankfurt

My last presentation of the “horror SQL” session this year 

IT-Tage is a German conference for software development, architecture, databases and management that is scheduled every year in December in Frankfurt. Because of the wide variety of subjects in information technology, the audience is quite different to a typical user group conference. I met only few of the “usual suspects” that are around on most conferences, but instead a lot of unknown people, working in different areas of IT. My active part on the conference was an adapted version of my “horror SQL” presentation.

The good (but also the bad) thing on IT-Tage is the variety of presentations. On one side, it is interesting to attend sessions about other topics that are not part of my daily job. The disadvantage of this is that many presentations are on a basic level and only good as an overview on new topics.

My personal highlight on IT-Tage this year was that I met a “virtual person” for the first time: Since years I know Martin Preiss from Twitter and from his blog MP Oracle Blog, where he writes good German summaries of different blog posts. He even mentioned some of my blog posts in the last years, but I never met him in real. Now, when we met for the first (and hopefully not the last) time in Frankfurt, I realized why this was the case: The last conference Martin attended was DOAG in 2002, and my first conference was DOAG 2004.