Oracle Technology Network community members
weigh in on what they do and what they want more of,
including discounts and free stuff.
Sometimes you have to give people what hey want; other times, you have to give
them what they need. The Oracle Technology
Network team has always prided itself on
its ability to do both things. (Sometimes, if
we’re lucky, wants and needs are actually the
same things.) So although we are responsive
to feedback from our community, we
often also feel the need to lead by pushing
our “customers” toward mindsets and
approaches they may not have considered if
left to their own devices.
If you are an Oracle Technology Network
regular, perhaps you’ve noticed that during
the period between April 2010 and January
2011, an online survey was made available
via our newsletters and Website. Although
surveys are a routine process, this particular
one—which fell on the heels of the Sun
Developer Network/Oracle Technology
Network merger—was more important than
most. With the new blood that this combination brought to the Oracle Technology
Network community, we wanted to identify what each respective program (Sun
Developer Network and Oracle Technology
Network) had done right and wrong, and
then focus on the former going forward.
We received nearly 400 responses from
across the globe ( 10 percent of respondents
were not yet Oracle Technology Network
members)—which is not a bad sample, considering that we decided not to offer incentives that would encourage “mercenary” participation. As I often like to say, participation
is its own reward.
So, here’s some of what we learned. (Yes,
these facts apply to the sample only, but as
with all other surveys, they are assumed to
be somewhat representative):
Who you are. More than 90 percent of you
are male. (We didn’t need a survey to confirm
that, actually.) More than 63 percent of you, at
the time of survey completion, had visited the
Oracle Technology Network Website at least
once in the past month. No surprise there;
historically our repeat-visit rate is high.
What you do. This is interesting: although 81
percent of you, unsurprisingly, are involved
in “database-related” projects, 37 percent
are also involved in Java-related ones, and 25
percent are involved in hardware systems–
related (servers and/or storage) ones. This
data implies that a good chunk (although
certainly not all) of the Sun Developer
Network community has moved over to
Oracle Technology Network. We like that.
What you like. The most-popular services,
by a wide margin, are free developer tools
and software, discussion forums, newslet-
ters, and sample code (in that order). In
my opinion, too few of you have attended a
Developer Day or Virtual Developer Day, and
the existence of member discounts for books
and other things is either underappreciated
or not widely known. Also, interestingly, dis-
cussion forums are not as routinely used by
hardware-oriented folks as other audiences.
Whether this is a cultural artifact or lack of
awareness is unclear.
What you want more of. You’re itching for
member discount pricing for events (pre-
sumably Oracle Open World and JavaOne;
Developer Day is free), contests and chal-
lenges (also surprising, since historically
these have not been popular), and a rewards
program to incentivize member interaction
(yes, also surprising—the reward points
system in our discussion forums, when
introduced, was not warmly welcomed).
How we rate. This is my personal favorite
data point: 87 percent of you rate Oracle
Technology Network as “good” or better.
While it’s a nice result, we don’t take that
feedback to mean “don’t change a thing.”
Rather, we’ll keep pushing. For example, our
prebuilt developer virtual machines (based
on Oracle VM VirtualBox) continue to roll out
in different flavors and configurations. And
Developer Day content is being completely
rebaked, with new versions covering enter-
prise Java development, rich enterprise appli-
cations, and Java development with JDK 7.
By the time you read this, Oracle Database,
Express Edition 11g will be available for
download as a production release. Yes, for
the first time in years, the current release
of Oracle Database is now available in an
entry-level, small-footprint edition that is
free to use, free to develop on, and free to
distribute. Go get it!
.com) is senior director,
Network and developer
programs, as well as
Oracle Technology Network editor in chief.
Oracle Database, Express Edition 11g
Prebuilt Developer Virtual Machines