My specialty is the Oracle PL/SQL language. You might even call it my obsession. I first started using PL/SQL during my first stint at Oracle, from 1987 to 1992. I used it in SQLForms 3, the first place that PL/SQL appeared. That was an enormous improvement over the SQLForms 2.x trigger logic.
PL/SQL got really exciting, though, with version 7 of Oracle Database, when the PL/SQL dev team added full support for packages and other stored program units, exception handling, embedded (static) SQL, and so much more.
I left Oracle in 1992 and became a consultant. I’d always liked to write and when in 1994 publishers realized there was a large-enough market of Oracle Database developers, I took a chance and signed up to write a book called Oracle PL/SQL Programming for O’Reilly Media.
It was the first independent reference on PL/SQL (that is, not Oracle documentation) and it was a big hit, relatively speaking. It became popular enough to be called “the Bible for PL/SQL developers” and free me up from daily consulting, so I could devote myself fully to helping developers make the most of PL/SQL.
Which I did, first as a PL/SQL evangelist for Quest Software (and then Dell), up through 2014. Then I returned to Oracle Corporation to lead a team of Developer Advocates.
Along the way, I trained thousands of developers, wrote ten books on PL/SQL (yes, ten, about 6 too many, I figure looking back), countless articles and blog posts. I recorded hundreds of videos on the topic, visited dozens of countries to present at conferences. I’ve also picked up a few speaker awards, and was one of the first Oracle ACE Directors.
I also created a website called the PL/SQL Challenge that offered daily ranked quizzes on PL/SQL. At its peak we had over 2000 developers taking the quizzes each day. That website was transformed into the Oracle Dev Gym (https://devgym.oracle.com), which now offers quizzes, workouts and classes on SQL, PL/SQL, database design, logic and more. All free, of course.
Yet even the best job in the world can get, well, repetitive after awhile. There will always be more to say and write about PL/SQL, certainly. But after almost 7 years at Oracle (in my second round), I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to work more closely with developers who were doing the work (delivering solutions for customers with PL/SQL) and I wanted to help make Oracle Application Express (APEX) more successful. So I joined Insum on Feb 1 2021!