05 May 2012

Update on Q1 2012 Playoff

As some of you may recall, we started a new qualification procedure for this playoff, in which a selected subset of the top-25 ranked players are asked to take three qualifier quizzes to verify their outstanding performance in the previous quarter.

For the Q1 2012 playoff, we asked six players to take the qualifier quizzes.

Much to my surprise and, I must admit, disappointment, all six players have been disqualified: three failed due to simply not taking the qualifiers at all (in fact two of these players stopping taking quizzes in early April - likely after they realized they would have to take qualifiers) and three others did not score well enough to match (or come close to matching) - and thereby validate - their previous performance.

So we have recalculated rankings for Q1 and will now proceed with our new top 25 ranked players and those who are invited to play through the correctness or wildcard selection.

I am, therefore, pleased to announce the following players are invited to compete in the Q1 2012 championship playoff. The number in parentheses after their names are the number of playoffs in which they have already participated. See the FAQ for an explanation of the three ways a player can qualify for the playoff.

Congratulations to all listed below on their accomplishment and best of luck in the upcoming competition. We will schedule the date of the playoff very soon.

Name Rank Qualification Country
Stelios Vlasopoulos (2)1Top 25Belgium
Frank Schrader (6)2Top 25Germany
Jerry Bull (3)3Top 25United States
Zoltan Fulop (0)4Top 25Hungary
mentzel.iudith (5)5Top 25Israel
kowido (4)6Top 25No Country Set
Yuan Tschang (2)7Top 25United States
Syed Ariful Bari (2)8Top 25Bangladesh
Viacheslav Stepanov (4)9Top 25Russia
Siim Kask (5)10Top 25Estonia
Chad Lee (3)11Top 25United States
Kevan Gelling (4)12Top 25Isle of Man
Krzysztof Helbin (0)13Top 25Poland
Vincent Malgrat (1)14Top 25French Republic
Sebastian Kolski (0)15Top 25Poland
Goran Stefanović (0)16Top 25Serbia
Joaquin Gonzalez (4)17Top 25Spain
Niels Hecker (6)18Top 25Germany
Dieter Kowalski (0)19Top 25Germany
_tiki_4_ (1)20Top 25Germany
Marco Siefert (0)21Top 25Germany
Michal Cvan (4)22Top 25Slovakia
Vladimir Drozdov (0)23Top 25Russia
Mike Pargeter (5)24Top 25United Kingdom
Ivan Blanarik (0)25Top 25Slovakia
Jack Callaham (1)26CorrectnessUnited States
Sean Stuber (3)27CorrectnessUnited States
Justin Cave (4)28WildcardUnited States
Ninoslav Čerkez (2)30WildcardCroatia
Thierry Poels (2)32CorrectnessBelgium
norton (0)33CorrectnessUnited States
Randy Gettman (5)35CorrectnessUnited States
Alexander Polivany (3)37WildcardUkraine
Anna Onishchuk (4)38WildcardIreland
Tobias Stark (0)40WildcardGermany
Jeff Kemp (7)54WildcardAustralia
Vebjørn Koksvik (0)58WildcardNorway
haennesche (0)76WildcardGermany
Nick Cook (0)78WildcardNo Country Set
Gideon Bruggink (1)80CorrectnessNetherlands
sbramhe (3)91CorrectnessNo Country Set
Rimantas Adomauskas (0)104CorrectnessLithuania
Alain Boulianne (2)174WildcardFrench Republic
Elena Rakhimov (0)175CorrectnessCanada
Sanjuinfo (0)328CorrectnessNo Country Set

WYSIWIG HTML Editing in Version 2.2 of PL/SQL Challenge

Many players have had the pleasure of submitting a quiz and then seeing it played by hundreds of developers aroudn the world. If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to give it a try.

Other players review quizzes to help us make sure they are free of errors and as interesting as can be.

All of these people provide content that usually benefits from HTML tags, especially showing code in a fixed font format.

When we upgraded to 2.2, we started using the native CKEditor for our "rich text fields". This has caused some confusion, because the toolbar of HTML tools that was previously always visible is now hidden initially. This is good because it takes up less room on the page. It's bad because players might not be able to find it. Hence, this post.

So if you are typing into a field and would like to do some HTML formatting, look for the small arrow in the top right corner of the field:

Click on that widget to display the toolbar:
And then if you would like to change the font for code, click on Normal and change to Formatted:
I hope that helps with your editing.

A Discussion Forum on the PL/SQL Challenge?

A player submitted this request yesterday:

"Hello Steven, I just wonder that are you planning to open forum in pl/sql challenge? Because I really would like to discuss and talk about quizzes. I think the only shortage in this site is forum. There should be a forum for users in order to discuss and talk about quizzes. Please do something for this. Thanks for your help."

While we have no plans to implement a "typical" forum on the PL/SQL Challenge, such as you would find on OTN or many other places, with our recent upgrade to version 2.2, you can now do precisely what this player desires.

Each quiz has a Commentary section, as you can see in the sidebar on the left side of the Quiz Details page (drill down from Library or home page):

There are three different kinds of comments/discussions you can have on a quiz.

Ask for Help - you are trying to use the feature that is the focus of this quiz and could you use some help.

Raise Objection - you think there is a problem with the quiz as it is currently presented, and think it should be changed - or the scoring for the quiz should be adjusted.

Start Discussion - general discussion about the feature that is the focus of this qui. In other words, you don't think there is a problem with the quiz, but you have some thoughts about or experience with the feature that you want to share with others.

Click on the View Commentary to see all the comment threads published; click on one of the buttons to start a new thread.

We will be going back over the posts to this blog that are specific to a quiz and move the content into the online commentary. This will take some time.

In the meantime, there is nothing stopping any and every player from using this feature to discuss the features tested in the quizzes.

Steven Feuerstein