19 November 2010

Time to change the default DB version to 11.2?

Since the start of the PL/SQL Challenge in April 2010 (my, that seems like a long time ago now), the default database version for the quizzes has been Oracle Database 10g Release 2.

This means that, unless otherwise mentioned, the quiz would not address features of the Oracle database added in 11.1 or 11.2.

I received the following question from a player yesterday:

"For Oracle Database release 10.2 Premier Support has ended some time ago ( well, July 2010). I can't find any announcement on when you are planning to modify your Daily Quiz assumptions to shift to Oracle 11g ? Or why are you not planning to?"

The main reason for using 10.2 as the default version is that, so far as I can tell, it remains the most common version on which PL/SQL developers are working. To require them to be aware of features from 11 could increase the amount of time spent on the quiz, making it less attractive to players.

Having said that, Oracle Database 11g has been out for a while and it is the current production release, so there is every reason for PL/SQL developers to learn the features of this version.

Any thoughts from other players on this topic?

Cheers, SF


  1. It could be that 11 is now the version sold, but my guess is that most of the people are still using 10.2. Legacy systems don't change so fast in Oracle versions. I bet that lots of companies are still running 8.

    Suggestion. Make it a quiz? Which production version are you running? Everyone get's a 100% score on this and you know the statistics.

  2. Make it a quiz - interesting idea. But I don't think I can do that as a substitute for the daily quiz. I will, instead and as soon as possible, add polls to the website (which are, as you imply here, a kind of quiz) to make it easier to gather information.

    But I think the question here is that at some point in time, it is not so much which version people are using, but which version they should be aware of and learning about.


  3. I enjoy the 11g questions from time to time, and hope to see more.

    I'd prefer that you wait a bit longer before switching *entirely* over to 11g. I'm still working on a migration of data from an 8i instance, I still get work on 9i databases quite often, and most of my work is still on 10g.

    I'd like to see a poll, updated every 3 months, asking which database version each player is working on primarily; once the poll indicates that a majority (or perhaps >60%) of people are working on 11g, I'd say move the quiz then.

    Until then, however, knowledge of older versions is still valuable - and as organisations upgrade, it is important to know how things differ between 10g and 11g.

  4. I think a shift now is very reasonable. 11g Release 1 has been out for more than three years. Version 11g Release 2 for more than a year. In my opinion it definitely is the "version they should be aware of and learning about".


  5. I also encounter lots of database versions -- indeed ranging from 8i to 11gR2. I guess that for must of us it would be puzzling to answer a question on which version you're using.
    My point was to draw a line somewhere. Following the official "Lifetime support" documentation provides for a globally communicated end-of-support date.
    Skipping through the growing database of previously submitted PL/SQL Challenge questions, I don't think the shift to the basic assumption of 11gR1 would make really much of a difference -- so why not...

  6. I think that because this is a challenge, it should be up to date.

    My 'job' blocks me with old(even though valid)Oracle versions. I must do it!
    My preferred community shouldn't block me in the same way!


  7. I'd be happy with 11g questions. Makes it more of a 'learning' challenge.
    For people who don't have an 11g database (OTN licence or work) you can get a free workspace at apex.oracle.com, which is 11gR2
    At an OpenWorld interview Mark Townsend said that they were working on 11gR2 XE

  8. For your statistics, most of my current work done on Oracle10g. But I'm studying a new features of 11gR2 when I am not too busy.

    For the time to switch default version, I don't think it make any troubles. I think most questions still have the same answers but if you want to test, you have to do on 11g instance.

    However, if you decide to switch, could you skip 11gR1 and use 11gR2 instead. It may not a good reason but I think I have no chance to play on 11gR1 ones.

  9. A player without access to Blogger asked me to post this:

    I think that a change to the database version is not so good at this time, because it could be, that some of the players only have experience with the XE version and thats still an Oracle Database Release 10.2.

    I personally already use 11g R1 and 11g R2, but we only have Standard Editions here, so even on questions about the function result cache I must look at the documentation, because I haven't any experience with it. So if you make a poll about the database versions you should also think about including the edition into the question.

  10. For most people the plsql challenge is also a learning experience. I think that it is better to switch to release 11g. For the players who work with older version can also learn about the new features and we still can have question about the older features.

  11. Pretty much what Jeff said, although I think having more 11g questions now will be good for people (including myself) to learn.
    There are many questions on topics that have been around for years that people are learning for the first time, for whatever reason. Why not 11g topics?

  12. Since "most" pl/sql is the same between 10g and 11g, it won't make a difference for "most" questions. For the few where there is a difference or new features, is there really any downside to helping people to keep current on their skills?

  13. I like the idea of periodically polling for which version people use and gradually increasing the number of version 11 questions accordingly.


    create table dbversions (
    version_id varchar2(20),
    version_name varchar2(100),
    version_assumptions clob

    Add column version_id to the question table (I think you may already have it :-)

    The assumptions page could then show quiz specific version_name and version_assumptions.

    Then skip the phrase "version 10 unless noted otherwise in the quiz" and train people to always read the version number, name and version specific assumptions for each quiz.

    Doing that would start getting people used to checking the version information whenever they take a quiz, and then they (maybe :-) won't get confused when more and more v.11 questions start to show up.

    Just an idea :-)

  14. For my score it would be better if we stay with 10g ;-).
    Until now I have no developer access to an 11g instance. So, switching to 11g would mean for me that I have no chance to do a 'hands on check' on my solution - which I do very often for the (from my experience) more 'exotic' challenges.
    At the moment most people are able use at least Oracle XE to reproduce the solution or prove their answers.
    My proposal is to wait until the 11g version of XE is released.

    Greetings from Germany

  15. Great idea, KBH...in fact, I was already planning to do this for 1.8 - thought I hadn't thought of version-specific assumptions. I will add that.

    Thanks, SF