21 December 2011

Are the Quizzes Too Long (Wordy)?

A player submitted this comment about the 20 December quiz:

The question of this quiz was too much long and contained a lot of unnecessary information. I used a lot of time to read and understand the question (279 seconds) while it was over the functionality of the simple built-in function LAST_DAY.

This happens regularly in daily quizzes. Lots of quiz players like me are not English native speakers. (My English is very poor). We need to spend much time reading the question to fully understand. Therefore, we are necessarily disadvantaged as compared to the English speaking participants.

Looking back at this quiz, I realize that I introduced a table and data in the table when it really wasn't necessary. That lengthened the quiz and could have been avoided.

So, definitely, this quiz could have been shortened and I am sure that many of the quizzes could be "stripped down" to the very basics.

I would love to hear what you think about this. I will also create a poll about this.

19 December 2011


The 6 December quiz tested your knowledge of the effect of a NOT NULL constraint on a variable declaration, in this case through the declaration of a collection whose datatype is declared as NOT NULL.

The last choice (8773) used a nested table as follows:
   l_string   VARCHAR2 (10);


   l_nt       nt := nt ();
   l_nt (1) := l_string;
When Oracle attempts to assign l_string to an element in l_nt, a VALUE_ERROR exception is raised. So far, so good.

But a player noticed something odd here. Marcus checked the documentation on EXTEND and found this:

EXTEND(n,i) is the only form that you can use for a collection whose elements have the NOT NULL constraint.

Yet the call to EXTEND did not raise an exception. Either the documentation is wrong or there is a bug in EXTEND. If it's the latter, it's a bug that has gone unnoticed for many versions. I have logged a comment to the Oracle Documentation team about this.

Thanks, Marcus!