21 March 2014

Idea for a new type of quiz: Countdown PL/SQL

Always looking for ways to increase the entertainment value of the site, I came up with this idea last night.

Countdown PL/SQL

You have thirty seconds to answer ten true-false questions. 

With the clock on the page counting down, you are shown a statement about PL/SQL and you must quickly decide: true or false.

Of course, the same could be done with SQL, APEX, etc.

One concern I could see with this quiz is that comfort with the English language could have a big impact on how quickly you can get through the questions. It is also possible that we could offer versions that contained code, not (mostly) words.

Perhaps it is time to look at localization of content: offer it in different languages!

So what do you think? Sound interesting? Sound like something you'd bother playing?


  1. That would be great. Will it be daily quiz? :))

    Best regards,
    Viacheslav Stepanov

  2. Hello Steven,

    Sounds nice from a pure PL/SQL point of view.

    However, it should be taken into account that the time is counted down from the moment
    when you press the [Play] button, and many times it takes more than 30 seconds
    until the page appears displayed ....

    I already imagine a classroom, where everybody just has a page of paper on his table,
    and just has to turn it with its face up to see the text .... the old good times of another age ...

    By the way, it is very nice to think of Oracle and the PL/SQL Challenge during sleepless nights :)
    I have done it for years ... however ... ironically, today night I have to decide whether
    I continue to work or retire ..... those long years of thinking of Oracle do not matter ...

    Thanks a lot & Best Regards,

  3. It sounds interesting to me. I will give it a try and play it.
    Also, I believe that localizing the site will prove a valuable addition.

  4. Sounds like fun. Yes, I'd try that.

    (Congratulations on the move to Oracle!)

  5. Well , 3 seconds per question , sounds interesting and looks fast and furious :) , We can try it out .

  6. It does sound interesting and like something I'd bother playing :) Nice addition to the current types of quizzes. I don't think, though, that localization is the right way to go - the more languages a quiz is translated to, the higher the chance that there will be ambiguity about it. It already happens from time to time that people are not sure what the quiz is asking about (as we can see in the comments below the quizzes). Perhaps defining what types of questions would be possible to see in that new kind of quizzes would help? Like:

    The following code will never cause an exception: [code snippet]
    The following code [DOES NOT] compile[s] without errors: [code snippet]
    The following code [DOES NOT] throw[s] runtime exceptions: [code snippet]
    There are 2 errors in the following code snippet: [code snippet]
    There are 3 commits in the following code snippet: [code snippet]

    After playing a few quizzes with such questions, players would easily recognize what the question is about and go straight to the [code snippet] to analyze it.

    What is more, since we would have only 30 seconds, then I guess the questions would have to be short so maybe the impact of not reading them in native language wouldn't be so big.

    Last but not least, as I never had a chance, I'l do it now: thanks for running the PL/SQL Challenge, it's a lot of fun :)

  7. Sure, sounds like fun, and the short time limit is good if you do the quiz at work.
    I'd probably bomb, though - as I get older my reading/reaction times get worse!

  8. First of al, Steven, congratulations with your new job.

    About your Countdown PL/SQL quiz: I don’t like it that much.
    Programming is a profession for me, not a competition.

    I really like to do the PL/SQL Challenge. But my goal is always to give the right answers and not to make the shortest time answering the quiz.

    English is not my native language, so I’m always on lag with my fellow competitors.

    Thank you so much for doing the PL/SQL Challenge. I learned a lot!
    I really hope continuing this Challenge will stay your first goal.


  9. Sounds nice - I like it

  10. I think that is an interesting idea, let's give a shoot

  11. thirty seconds to answer ten true-false questions: I am feeling stressed already :-)
    One has to read the q&a very fast (too little time to)?

  12. That sounds great! It would certainly help me to sharpen my skills in troubleshooting pl/sql issues when there is high-priority deadline, and I have to read through code to determine the source of error. Thank you for the inspiration you give us to be our best as pl/sql technologists.

  13. This sounds like a very good idea and I'm looking forward to it already!

  14. Very nice idea. I will try it. It adds some action !

  15. 30 seconds? Are you kidding me? It is not enough to answer ten question. It should be timeless. The winner should be the person who complete it in the shortest time. :))

  16. Thanks for all the feedback. Now I just need to figure out when to get this going. Maybe after we settle into our new weekly quizzes....

    @anonymous and timeless (31 March comment): the only problem with what you suggest is that it is then no different from our current quizzes! This would be an alternative for those who want to try something different (as well).

  17. Thanks for all the feedback. I hope to get Countdown PL/SQL going once lots of other things in my life settle down.

  18. I'd give it a go, but I'd expect the game page to have no submits - operate through dynamic actions

  19. Really nice article. I like it. Thank you.