Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guru status on OTN!

About a week ago I recieved the double-golden-badge aka guru status on the OTN forums by hitting 2500 points. Hurray! I'm finally joining the elite! ;-)
I've only ever posted in the apex forums and the ascend was slow. Mainly in part because there are always periods of more and less activity at the job, leaving me with some more time and/or gusto to tackle problems there in my free time. I've also been active on StackOverflow in the oracle-apex tag, though the activity there is rather low (though as of late more people are starting to find their way there it seems).
Looking back at it though, it's undoubtedly one of the best things I've been engaging in for my self-development. Sure, there is quite a bit of time sunk in it. You usually don't fix someone's problem in just 5 minutes. It requires some dedication to it. Since getting guru I've flaunted my status at some collegues, mostly for fun of course. Though many don't really understand why I even do it, and I bet that is not limited to just my collegues.
Why then? Personally, I do it to challenge myself. I NEED a challenge, I can't put it any other way. I strive to keep learning. I don't want to get stuck in a rut. I don't want to keep doing the same thing over and over. And sometimes that is exactly what the job requires of you: do the same thing you've done twenty times before. Create a report with a form, and make it all perfect. Is that even fun anymore? Not really, and work isn't always about being fun all the time, and even a basic report+form is something that is simply necessary. I don't want to slam these things at all, they're just repetitive after a while.
Getting on the forums or SO and finding a problem I correlate with or deem interesting is something to keep myself going. Maybe it's just a slight variation on something that I've done 50 times over, but haven't encountered myself yet. Maybe it's pertaining to a part of apex that I haven't dealt much with. Maybe it's just pure javascript.
That's all good! I've spent much time in setting up examples, writing selects and pouring over documentation in order to get to the bottom of something. I'm happy Ive done all that! It's allowed me to not only flesh out my knowledge about apex, but also of the technology around it: HTML, CSS, javascript. I've managed to collect rich library of scripts and tips and tricks that I can regularly fall back on to solve a particular problem. I can more easily and faster get to the core of a problem than I used to, by being able to better identify the problem and knowing where to look, and asking the correct question. Most of all, I've learnt so much by forcing myself to set up examples, by reading documentation.
This goes hand in hand with ambition, by trying to improve and a drive to learn. By wanting to do better, by being able to stop and stand still and ask yourself whether what you've done is really the best solution there is, being critical in a constructive way.
Was it always fun? Ah, not always. My number one gripe would be when people simply don't credit someone's help with a simple click to acknowledge a helpful or correct answer on OTN. The StackOverflow structure is much better in that regard.
There is also a noticeable critical absence of knowledge with many, many developers. Especially when javascript is concerned. I often get very, very annoyed at some of the ignorance shown. To me, apex development is NOT only PLSQL, SQL and being able to navigate in apex. Valid HTML, CSS and selectors and javascript basics are, to me, core to apex and the development therein. When I see someone with a clearly copied construct which they don't understand I rage a little inside. How do you expect to grow your knowledge in such a way? How can it be oftentimes be clearly visible that documentation has not been read at all. How much would you want to abuse javascript to get something done and not understand what you've done? How can it be that seemingly still noone understand the f##-arrays and their use in tabular forms? Sometimes the first page on OTN is literally filled with questions in those veins! I admit I hardly find the resolve to react to those questions anymore. I tip my hat to Jari and Paul, the pillars of OTN apex.

I guess what I'm trying to explain here is that participating in this community is an enriching experience, for me and for those other participating. Getting that guru status is, in my eyes, a small mark of respect for the work I've been putting in, the amalgamation of it over the course of the last years. I -AM- proud of it! It IS (well, was) a milestone I've been working towards.

So, thanks, apex community! I have no intention of stopping to participate, I hope you won't either' :-)

(maybe I'll even write a blogpost again this year. I've halted it in part due to my job.)


  1. Hi Tom,

    Congratulations on your achievement! It can be difficult for some to to find things that bring them this level of enjoyment.

    Above you wrote, "It's allowed me to not only flesh out my knowledge about apex, but also of the technology around it: HTML, CSS, javascript. I've managed to collect rich library of scripts and tips and tricks that I can regularly fall back on to solve a particular problem. I can more easily and faster get to the core of a problem than I used to, by being able to better identify the problem and knowing where to look, and asking the correct question."

    Have you created a searchable APEX "knowledge library" app to contain your tips, tricks, demo's, etc.? I've been thinking about this for some time now but with my time constraints, have not done much except some initial planning.

    Steve S.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Lots of what I have is, perhaps unfortunately, very fractured. I have plenty of scripts sitting around in my folders of which I know the purpose but have no commenting what-so-ever. My blogposts require a touchup (some are irrelevant nowadays, some contain minor mistakes). I need blogposts posted. I have a demo application... or 3, where some pages also need a touchup.
      It all is a lot, and it all costs so much time. Time I do not regret spending, but time I don't have nearly as much as I'd want. When there are some lulls of activity on the forum I devote some of my time to enhance some of my scripts sitting around, so they could eventually find their way to the web.
      My eventual plan is to at least have a functional demo application on - much like some of the others out there, eg Denes Kubicek. While before I usually created some scratch page while helping/reproducing, I'm now always trying to gather up all my stuff and work it into a page. Some of that effort is making my way in my Chart app: , or my tree app - though I reckon more time will be needed.
      Unfortunately those apps aren't really indexed or searchable, and they won't just pop up on google. Ideally I can turn some of those from forums posts to an apex page to a blogpost.
      Much of what I learned and preached and wrote is also out there, on the OTN forums.
      I also have a github page I'm trying to put some of my things up.
      However, I dislike putting up incomplete packages: I've learned that it creates more annoyance for both me and the ones trying to use it. I try to document and provide a clear case, more now than I used to. And I suppose that is why it takes so long.


    2. Hey Tom;

      I live in a world where finding a few extra minutes seldom happens and when it does I'm sure what to do first... It sounds like you're very familiar that landscape.

      Now days (and nights) when I rarely do something that might be worthy to a few of us I try to save the page, region, etc., the smallest unit possible, where very little if any data is required to a "master" app. of such things.

      I've always wanted a system as I touched on previously whether created by me or someone else. Since you mentioned "needing to be challenged", I gave it a shot.

      Endeavor to persevere...


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