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Oracle development best practices

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Question:  We need an Oracle developer for a mission critical project, and we are considering one of the key requirements as the Oracle PL/SQL Web Toolkit. Other technologies we require are PL/SQL for some back-end business logic functions and Javascript/XML/DHTML for the dynamic front-end. AJAX would be very helpful as well because we would like an asynchronous look and feel if possible.   Based on my observation, even among the Oracle PL/SQL developer community, the Web Toolkit does not seem to be a very common skill.  What advice do you have for the break between SQL and procedural coding?

It's a best practice to encapsulate as much data manipulation with your SQL as-possible, and deliver the data to the program ready-to-display. Oracle SQL has loads of efficient built-in functions and analytic functions that can do complex data computations and manipulation.

Question:  How do I find developers to use the PL/SQL web developer toolkit? 

The PL/SQL Web Developer Toolkit consists of tools to help with pre-written libraries of re-usable components. As such, all a programmer needs to know is how to read the interface specs. If you want the PL/SQL Developer toolkit, most experienced developers should pick it up really fast. If I were you, I'd just hire some smart young coders and teach it to them.  Just remember that the cheaper developers are rarely a bargain. Guru-level PL/SQL coders are amazing, and they can crank-out working code 10x faster than the bargain coders.

Question: What are most folks using for Oracle development these days?

I see lots of development in Java (J2EE) within Oracle JDeveloper, Apex (HTML-DB), and PL/SQL, especially since Oracle supports Java PL/SQL stored procedures.


Question: What is the industry best practice for hiring short-term Oracle developers with these skills? 

It's very important to have everyone using best practices, saves a load of downstream work.  For a short-tem project, it's hard to hire anyone with the exact skills that you need, and even harder to keep them after the project is completed.  For a 6-month gig, I would not risk hiring an employee, especially if it's mission-critical. (Good coders get bored really fast, and have a reputation as job-hoppers)  For a short gig where follow-up support is required, it's often better to employ a good remote PL/SQL consultant. The code happens fast, and you only pay for as-needed maintenance enhancements. A temp-to-perm employee may get bored, and you have to pay their inevitable downtime.

Using a professional consultant with a track-record of fast delivery, you get it on-time, well-documented, using best practices, and you can get maintenance and enhancements as-needed, without the salary overhead and risk of loosing your coder.   Remember, If you loose your own coder, you loose your institutional knowledge. With a consultancy, you have security and continuity.
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