17 July 2010

Regarding requests to make all past quizzes available

Several players over the past few months have asked us to "open up" the Past Quizzes page to make it possible for players to see all past quizzes. Here is an example of a typical request:

"I would like to see a search option added so we can search all past quizzes by topic as a reference. For instance, search for "bulk collect" and we would find the quiz results from June 16..."

That sounds like a great idea. A really great idea. Imagine having a searchable database of hundreds, and eventually thousands, of Q&As, backed up by links to documentation, explanations of the reasons for the answers, and perhaps even videos demonstrating a technique or feature of the language.

It's such a great idea, that I am in active planning stages to build a whole website that will deliver my expertise in the PL/SQL language through various means: a testing database (not just quizzes, but user-defined and curriculum-based tests on given areas), an extensive library of video trainings linked to specific topics or features, a repository of reusable code, and more.

I hope that you read the above paragraph and think to yourself: "Wow, that sounds great. I would love to have access to all that information and expertise." And I further hope that you then think something like: "Heck, I would even pay (or get my company to pay) to have access to this expertise."

I say that because I plan to charge a fee for access to this broad, deep content. I am definitely not comfortable with giving it all away for free (and if I make all past quizzes available all the time, then the effectiveness of these Q&As as a testing database is greatly diminished).

In fact, my plan is to largely stop traveling (it's been great fun and wonderful to meet so many people, but being away so much is not the best thing for me or my family) and instead concentrate on delivering my expertise online.

What do you think of my idea? Would you pay for this content or do you think your company would? I would very much like to hear your thoughts.

This plan also explains why, at least for the foreseeable future, I will keep the restrictions in place on the number of past quizzes you can see through the PL/SQL Challenge site.


  1. Hi

    Just a reminder to all that Knowledge Xpert for Oracle (that I think was based in your expertise) was a Quest Software software and paid for with SQLNavigator and Toad for Oracle and that info is now available for free from Quest site Knowledge Xpert for Oracle

  2. Hi Steven,

    I also think it'd be a great idea to make the quiz question database available and searchable. It'd be a great resource for personal training.

    Much as I'm sure everyone appreciates interacting with you directly around the world, I also think it's an even *greater* idea to try to limit travel for your family's sake - family must come first!

    Personally, though, I would never pay for access to it. It's your choice, of course, but I suspect it'd go the same way as EE - which used to be a great site, but is now just a nuisance (it keeps popping up in Google search results, but clicking on the link brings the paywall comes up).


  3. Sorry, Experts-Exchange.

    I used to use it frequently before they put the paywall up - quite a few years ago. Nowadays I'm active on StackOverflow, which has a better Q&A & "reputation" model (IMHO) and is free, supported by ads.

  4. Trying to get money out of an employer for a useful resource (even a book) can be like extracting blood from a stone.

    Pitching it as a recruitment tool may work. Target the recruitment agencies as a way for them to filter out candidates. People may buy it to crib from.

    As a value-add to user groups, it could be worthwhile.

    Offer it along with a certification may be a route too. See if Quest want to move into the Certification game.

  5. I agreed with Gary Myers on above comments. I think my company never pay for this access too. "You have a free google"

    Using the site as a recruitment tools is very interesting. However the quizs is quite difficult and may be more than need of organization which have many many standard code and the only thing programmer should do is to follow them. I think this site show us the level of experts so the certification idea may be better.

  6. Keep it free. See http://asktom.oracle.com