17 March 2014

Q2 2014 Brings Big Changes to the PL/SQL Challenge

Last year, I (Steven Feuerstein) floated the idea that I would end the daily PL/SQL quiz. Many players protested, and several agreed to help me with the workload by writing quizzes. So I agreed to keep the daily quiz going into 2014 and we would see how it goes.

It went pretty well. Some players did write quizzes (a big thank you most especially to Jeroen Rutte, who wrote a total of 7 quizzes, 5 of which were used in Q1). But I still spent and spend lots of time writing quizzes, which I enjoy greatly, but unfortunately is not sustainable.

So starting in Q2 2014, the daily PL/SQL quiz will end and in its place we will offer three weekly quizzes in its place:

PL/SQL Challenge

The PL/SQL Challenge replaces the daily PL/SQL quiz that ran from April 2010 through March 2014. I will write all the quizzes for the PL/SQL Challenge quiz. They will focus on "core" PL/SQL features (including commonly-used supplied packages like DBMS_OUTPUT and UTL_FILE), up through the latest production version of  the Oracle database. Players who take this quiz are eligible to qualify for the annual PL/SQL Challenge Championship.[We may decide to increase the frequency of those championships, but for now: annual.]

PL/SQL Explore 

The PL/SQL Explore quiz explores the nooks and crannies of the PL/SQL language, and the many PL/SQL packages supplied by Oracle Corporation. Quizzes are provided by both Steven Feuerstein and players, and can range from "core" PL/SQL functionality to "edgy" elements of the language, like calling Java from PL/SQ or rarely used supplied packages. like DBMS_XA.

PL/SQL Deja Vu 

PL/SQL Deja Vu offers quizzes from the past - PL/SQL quizzes previously played on the daily PL/SQL quiz or one of the other PL/SQL quizzes. Use Deja Vu PL/SQL to reinforce your PL/SQL knowledge without worrying about competing with others. These quizzes are not ranked!

We will also "re-brand" the daily PL/SQL quiz to the "PL/SQL Challenge", so the daily quiz names will be of this form:

PL/SQL Challenge #276 D2011-04-12

and the weekly PL/SQL Challenge quiz names will look like:

PL/SQL Challenge #1240 WS2013-04-12

where "WS" is the "Weekly quiz Starting on".

We will look into ways to offer rankings across the various competitive PL/SQL quizzes, but we will not be able to get to that immediately.

Of course, the new quarter has not yet started. I am very interested to hear your feedback on these quizzes.

And, of course, you are welcome to shower me with flattery about how much you love those daily quizzes and want them to continue. Surely, my ego could use the stroking. :-)

But this time the decision is made: the daily quiz will end, and three new PL/SQL weekly quizzes will take its place.


  1. I support the decision - you do need a life outside the Challenge at least a few hours a week ;-)

    (And maybe I'd even start playing the PL/SQL weekly quiz - I haven't played the daily for a while as SQL quiz writing takes most of the timeslot available to this...)

    1. Nothing to add, hopefully you are able to dedicate the freetime to your grandchild and your wife ;-)

  2. Arthur Landsbergen17 March, 2014 19:47

    Quite understandable, Steven.
    Thanks a lot for what you did, do en will be doing for the PL/SQL-community :-)

  3. Well, I guess this is it. I can understand why you made this decision and I guess the other players now also know how timeconsuming the making of a quizz is. I think the choices you offer for weekly pl/sql quizzes are nice choices and I'm looking forward to have more time to answer the other weekly quizzes ;-).
    Kind regards,

  4. PLSQLChallenge is the most altruistic effort in normal (business) life I have ever seen.

    Your decision to regain a personal life is indeed very understandable...

    We can not thank you enough for your time spent in building this website.

    I wish you good luck for your life und will continue to visit this website on a weekly schedule...

  5. Many, many thanks Steven for the great effort done until now!
    See you on many of the next coming quizzes!

  6. Thank you Steve for doing it so far.

    PL-SQL daily is great. But weekly is better. I have often stress enough to fill out in the daily rhythm. The weekly gives more time and is ok for me as well and I have time for the other weekly quizzes.

    1. I cannot but agree. Thank you, Steven, for all that effort so far.

  7. I think it's time to go weekly, and I was suprised earlier when you said it will keep going daily. It's nature finding a balance ;-)

  8. Thanks a lot for all the great work in providing the quizzes (having written only two quizzes myself, I'm only beginning to appreciate how hard writing good quizzes really is). And thanks for continuing the site - I'm looking forward especially to the PLSQL/Explore quizzes :-)

  9. I very much appreciate having the PL/SQL Quiz. My work has greatly improved as I have learned so much about Oracle and PL/SQL that I otherwise wouldn't have discovered. It is wonderful that you are keeping it going, even if in a reduced capacity. Thank you.

  10. Thanks a million for the daily PL/SQL quiz, it was always a great day starter !
    I will enjoy the new quizzes.

  11. Thanks Steve for your altruistic efforts on building this community.

    As a father of a one year five months boy I understand the importance of family and I appreciate your implication into this project.

    Lets the new phase start!

    I'm sure it will be successfully.

  12. I think that now we have much more hope to very rare tests based on errors thrown by the compiler or at run-time.
    Being given the fact that the quizzes are much rare it opens the way to put problems for which the system would give us, humans, no hints (via raising errors).
    Less quantity should come with much more quality.

  13. Hi,

    I just played the last daily quiz.
    Checking on my lifetime ranking I played the daily PL/SQL challenge for 1 day and 17 hours.
    Every minute well spent. It was fun and I learned a lot from it.
    Thanks for all the effort you put into this, and I can't wait for the weekly quizzes to start.
    Congratulations on your new job. The weekly quizzes must be of even higher quality since they are now written by an Oracle employee ;-)


  14. Thanks Steven!
    It was a real pleasure to play PLSQL quiz and I'm looking forward for the new format!


  15. Thanks so much to all of you for your kind comments and best wishes. I am sure I will be keeping very busy at Oracle, but do not worry, the PL/SQL Challenge to continue to get lots of my attention.

    Jeroen, I have been amazed over the years at the dedication and flat out amount of time players have committed to the quizzes - and improving their PL/SQL craftsmanship.