Apache Derby tutorial (OSCON 2005) materials

Posted on Mon 08 August 2005 in Databases

The presentations, handouts, and solutions for the "Deep Dive with Apache Derby: Perl, PHP, and Python" tutorial I gave at OSCON 2005 are finally online, including a couple of last-minute corrections:

The tutorial (my first solo 3.5 hour teaching session) went reasonably well, although my expectations of what comprises a tutorial apparently differs from the OSCON standard. I had structured the tutorial to be hands-on: after a brief lecture, the attendees were expected to perform exercises like installing Apache Derby, creating a database, setting up a connection through PHP, and the like. I was there to help them through the hurdles.

In contrast, most of the other tutorials were apparently three-hour lectures. I sat in on the end of Larry Rosen's *Law for Geeks*, which appeared to be a great discussion forum -- good format, important subject, great speaker. I followed that up with Monday morning's *Introduction to PostgreSQL*, which, at the one-hour mark, was going painfully slowly... so I slipped out at the break to do a last-minute run through of my own tutorial instead, and fixed a couple of bugs in the presentation materials just in time :-)

My tutorial had about 20 attendees at the start, but I knew it was going to be trouble when less than half of them actually had laptops. Of the laptops, about three had Linux (hurrah -- that matched my tutorial assumptions), a couple had Windows (I had tested everything on Windows, so I knew I could help them through), and one had Mac OSX (completely untested and foreign to me). That ratio was actually rather kind to me; in the rest of the OSCON audience, it seemed about half of the attendees were carrying Mac laptops.

After the break, I was down to about seven hard-core attendees. The attrition didn't surprise or dismay me -- if I was stuck in a hands-on tutorial without being able to get my hands on anything, I would probably leave too. Now, I had asked people to buddy up, but apparently overcoming the fear of strangers was too much to ask (and I admittedly didn't break the ice enough). The other rather frustrating factor was the rather sluggish wireless connectivity and ibm.com's sadistic time-outs playing hell with the 200 MB download required for the DB2 Application Development Client. I ended up copying all of the software onto a USB drive and distributing it manually to the attendees. Despite the frustrations with technology, though, I really felt positive vibes from the audience -- and nobody laid a beating on me in a dark corner after the session :-)

Updated 2005-08-11: Fixed the link to the presentations. Apparently not many people have tried to look at them, or didn't bother to tell me that they were not found :-)

Updated 2007-11-20: Apparently my host dropped one of the libraries required by the PHP presentation system, so the link to my presentation stopped working. Fixed - thanks to Gordon Agress for bringing this to my attention.