12 December 2010

Beta Test of Release 1.8 from 13 December to 17 December

We invite all PL/SQL Challenge players to visit test.plsqlchallenge.com and help us test the beta release of PL/SQL Challenge 1.8. You can log in at this site using your usual email/password combo. The quizzes shown for this week are from the first week of the PL/SQL Challenge. All past quiz data should be available to you for ranking and reporting.

This version of the PL/SQL Challenge includes these significant new features:

* Remember Me: a long-requested enhancement, you can check the "Remember me" box before you login. We will then automatically log you in to the PL/SQL Challenge on subsequent visits to the website. If you do not visit the site for seven days, you will be prompted to login again.

* Public Profile: you can now record much more information about yourself and your career as a PL/SQL developer. This information is then made available on a public player profile page - but only if you explicitly approve the publication of that content. All player names on the site are hyperlinked to this page. We also provide you with a public URL so that this profile can be accessed from outside of the PL/SQL Challenge website (such as from your blog).

* Streamlined "Take the Quiz" process: You no longer have to scroll down through assumptions and advice. You can choose to view the information or simply press the Play Now button to get right to the quiz.

* Post-Quiz Survey and Player Notes: after you take the quiz, we now invite you to provide us with feedback on the quality of the quiz. You can also record notes regarding that quiz for future reference. The notes will appear on the Past Quiz page. You can also take the survey at any time after you take the quiz.

* Submit Your Own Quiz Idea: you can now submit your own idea for a quiz directly from the website, both from the "Submit Quiz Idea" on the home page and from several other places on the site as well. If your quiz is accepted, your name will be posted the day the quiz is taken. Get creative and share your expertise with us and players from around the world!

* Reorganization of Rules and Assumptions: the Rules page is gone, long live the Rules page! Most of the content of that page is now available in the FAQ. In addition, rules, assumptions and advice for the quiz is provided on the Take the Quiz page.

Lots of great stuff, I hope you will agree! Now we need your help this week to uncover bugs and fine tune the flow on the website. If you have a few spare moments, please play around with setting up a comprehensive player profile. Are we missing any critical information you'd like to record about your career as a PL/SQL developer? And take the quiz survey. Are the questions asked appropriate to your experience with the quiz and the kind of feedback you'd like to provide?

Thanks in advance for your assistance and remember: any data entered during the beta test will NOT be carried over to production.

Many thanks in advance,
Steven Feuerstein


  1. Just quickly gone through the beta site and here are few quick observations related to UI:

    1. The "Quiz Taken" button (there are two on HOME page) can be eliminated and instead there could be only "Quiz Survey" button. The "Past Quizzes" button anyways takes you to past quizzes so don't see any need for "Quiz Taken" button. Also the two “Quiz Taken” buttons on HOME page leads you to two different pages.

    2. The "Select Topic" list is exhaustive for "Submit Quiz" option. It would be difficult to go through all the topics and select one appropriate for the quiz you are submitting. Instead just let users to mention the topic for their quiz.

    3. This applies to current version also. Many buttons on the HOME page are appearing multiple times. Why not have all the buttons displayed at the top (and may be at the bottom too).

    4. The position of CANCEL button is not as per MS Windows standard but follows some other UI convention (Gnome?). Not an issue for me but might be confusing to few other users.

    This is just a list of few observations after a quick glance of the site and if I find something else worth suggesting I will post later.

    Many thanks to Steven and his team for the great efforts they had put in the development of this release. I especially liked the idea of “Public Profile” and “Submit Your Quiz Idea”.


  2. Hello Steven,
    I just tried to have a look at the new version.
    Of course, the first thing I tried out was to answer a quiz (from those days when I was not a player yet).

    After submitting the answer, it displayed a new page announcing that the results will be sent by e-mail after the quiz is closed,
    but I could not scroll down to the bottom of that page.
    At this moment, the whole site seemed to be frozen.
    I opened a new IE session and performed a new logon, and then it was already frozen from the first page.
    I think the problem is not with my Internet connection, because the Production site works ok.
    Now, after I started to write this comment,
    I see that the frozen starting page "raised to life" and displays the survey for the quiz taken.

    I hope these problems only pertain to the test site.

    Many thanks for a good work and for investing so much time and endeavours to permanently improve things.
    And, also, a HUGE thanks for your willingness to answer all our feedbacks.

    I think that a monthly or quarterly PDF containing all the quizes + all the feedbacks would be a real best-seller !

    Best Regards,
    Iudith Mentzel

  3. @Judith
    I liked the idea of monthly/quarterly PDF very much. I would definitely buy if year book is published in EBook as well as hard-copy format.

    Complete with Quizzes/Feedback/Verification Code, it would be a very handy reference.