Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Review on the ODTUG KScope13 conference in New Orleans

This year I got the great opportunity to join the ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference in New Orleans. Joining the conference as one of the most important conferences for an oracle developer I was excited to meet all the people, which i mostly knew of blogs and news.

getting ready
For preparation to travel to America I had to request a passport for travelling beside the European borders. Further on you have to request a visa, even for a vacation the USA. Making a presentation about a project we developed for a German customer, we also had contact the customer approving our presentation.

the flight
Flying from Germany to America was a took overall nearly 20hours. Flying  7hours"back in time" was for me no big problem, but flying back after the conference was even more hard. A good advice for all who are travelling through different time zones is, to change your sleeping time some days before the journey starts. For me it was my first flight more which took more than 4hours, but it was even easier than the short flies. The air planes are bigger and the flight itself is not so hectic.
Really annoying for some people was, that they have lost their luggage. About 10% of all people who travelled over more than one airport lost it. It's always wise to put the really expensive things like laptop, photo camera and other possible stuff in the cabin luggage. As far as i know you can always take a laptop bag and another cabin luggage.
During the flight I met Dietmar Aust and it was really interesting to talk in our waiting time about his presentation and other interesting stuff.

the hotel
Arriving at the Louis Armstrong airport in New Orleans it took another 30minutes to get to the Sheraton hotel in the middle of the city. Using the airport shuttle service for 20$ it was a little bit cheaper than the taxi. Arriving at the hotel my first impression was, how cold it is inside the buildings. After I got my room and put my luggage upstairs, I went to the hotel lobby met some more people out of the apex community. It's always a big advantage to travel to a conference before the first day, even when you could arrive in the morning. Talking about experiences and get in contact to other people, out of the community is a great experience and a big advantage for every one.
 A big advantage compared to some other conferences was, that the rooms for the attendees where in the same hotel as the conference itself. Further on the arrangement for the rooms during the conference was really good. The different areas or especially apex was concentrated to one area, so that the ways through the different rooms were really short. One disadvantage was, that the air conditioning was in some rooms really too cold. Till know i don't understand why a room is cooled down to 64F / 18Grad or even lower.
Swimming pool on the eights floor

the conference
For me the main topic in that conference was of course apex. But before the conference starts everyone got
During the first day (Sunday), all presentation where presented by the apex team or other oracle employees connected to the apex topic. The best presentation on this day, was Shakeeb's presentation talking about User Interfaces in apex.
Shakeeb presenting

Overall presentations of the oracle apex team were all interesting, but the content of apex 5.0 was scattered a little bit through 3-4 different presentations. Perhaps for next conferences i would enjoy it to get an overview of the new features in a presentation on the first day, divided by topics a reference through the other presentations which are also talking about related content.
Between the different session, there was a break of 15 or 30 minutes. This time is perfect to change the room and talk about the last presentation.
Another really good idea, was the combination of some presentation having the same topic. Related to the topic "Responsive Design" Martin D'Souza, Christian Rokitta, Mark Lancaster and  Dimitri Gielis, gave some great presentations and many interesting tools for developing really good looking applications for different devices.
Another really good presentation was from John Scott about "APEX: Version Control with Git". He managed it to present the features from Git with slides and while demoing Git on command line.
Beside the presentations there was the "open-mic-night", where everyone could present his apex application's. Thats always interesting to see in how many different ways apex is used and can look like.
During the conference there was also 2nd meeting of nearly all people who are part of the advisory board. It's really a great opportunity to get involved into some possible features, which could take place in future apex releases. So, keep on bringing new ideas for next releases at apex.oracle.com/vote.  Here is an overview of the people who joined this meeting and are part of the advisory board:
APEX Advisory Board Meeting

kscope "not technical"
Of course not all content is directly connected to the technical stuff. On this conference doc hendley was talking about his wine to water project. It's always impressive how people can change their life and can activate other people with their ideas.
The event on this conference was another great impression. We were collected by bus, which brought us to the hall's, where the wagon's for Mardi Gras were standing. It was directly beside the Mississippi, where a great firework took place. There were many different options, where you could drink something, hear good music or get something to eat.
Mardi Gras

As last it was a great pleasure to meet all the interesting people and see how much effort they are putting into organizing such an event. Further on every evening it was possible to get in contact with so many people only knowing from the blogs, articles and books. Especially thanks to the oracle apex team (Joel, Patrick, Shakeeb, Marc, Vlad, Jason, David), to the foex guys (Peter & Matt), to the enkitec guys (Christoph, Scott, Timothy, Jorge, Dan, Doug), to the odtug team (Martin, Monty), Steven, Patrick, Christian, the apex evangelists (Roel, Dimitri, John), Dietmar, Niels and everyone i missed at that point.
Lunch after the last conference day
after conference
After joining the conference we used one more day to travel through the city. Using the hop and ride bus, it was a good opportunity to get an overview of many different points of the city. Some interesting points we went were: 
Garden District
French Quarter
Bourban Street
Harrahs Casino
Ghost tour - Bourbon Hotel
And as last two of my favorites
Oysterbar - really good burgers :)
Cafe du Monde (thx Martin)

with delicious dessert :)
At last, if I mixed something up, please let me know I will correct it.


  1. Oliver,

    Would you mind if I "borrowed" the APEX Advisory Board Meeting picture up above? I'd like to put it in my "ORACLENERD t-shirts in the wild" album.


  2. Yes you can put the foto in your album.

  3. Great review. I'm looking forward to coming to one some day.