It had finally arrived, Tuesday 4th December. A day that had been engrained on my brain ever since receiving 'UKOUG 2007 - Speaker Confirmation' in my Inbox back in July. The day of my first big presentation, 'Building The Rich User Interface with Oracle Application Express and Ajax'.
So very nervous I headed down to Birmingham from Reading and arrived at the ICC at around 9.30am. I was speaking at 11.15 so gave myself a bit of time to register and go over the slides one last time. A worthwhile activity as I was soon to realise on discovering 3 of my slides were missing which I must have deleted the previous night. Thank goodness for backups!!
I headed up to Hall 8b, the venue for my presentation. It was a good size, around 170 capacity but didn't seem to big so I was ok with that. There was no session in there before me so had plenty of time to get setup and settled, or so I thought. The technician arrived soon after me and asked if I was going to be using the supplied laptop or my own, I said my own and he worringly replied, 'You are the first person who's wanted to use their own'. I replied 'Is that a problem?', and he assured it wasn't but there would just be a bit of setup to get it working.
Time went by, people started arriving and my opening slide was still no where to be seen on the big wall behind me. The room of around 50 people was filled with silence, Harrison my session chair did a good job of trying to break it with a quick poll of how many people had used APEX before, which was most (but not all) of the room. I then ran through my agenda which seemed like it took about 5 minutes but probably only lasted about 30 seconds. Anyway, with numerous trips back and forth to the control room by the technician, my opening slide finally appeared on the big wall, a sigh of relief from me and after all the waiting and anticipation, I could talk.
It went ok. I know there are a few things I could have explained better and in more detail. I had always been worried about the amount of technical information I was trying to get across in 1 hour (although originally I was worried I wouldn't be able to fill it!) and in hindsight, I think I should have gone for longer.
So having finished talking in about the right time, there were a few questions and the job was done. John Scott came up to me afterwards and introduced himself. It was great to finally meet him having only known of him before. He said my presentation was really good, which means a lot coming from someone like John and also suggested that I should have a longer time slot to get through everything, I definitely agree.
Me, full of relief!
For anyone who is interested in getting the slides I have currently taken them offline just because I wanted to change a few small things. Once these changes are made I will post a link on my blog. I am also trying to get a demo up and running which will have all the code available to download. Watch this space!
Having done my presentation, and with the weight of an elephant lifted from my shoulders I was then free to enjoy some of the conference.
Really enjoyed Zory Zeharieva of CERN present, 'A Real-Life Experience of Rapidly Building Web-Interfaces with Oracle Application Express at CERN'. She presented well and covered some best practices for building scalable applications which was very interesting and also expressed some concerns around the way APEX application files are managed within versioning systems, a common concern which came up in a few places over the conference.
Also then dropped in on Oracle's Barry McGillin talking about, 'Consolidate Your Microsoft Access Applications to Oracle Application Express'. Barry is a great speaker, informative and easy to listen to (even at the end of a very long day!). He showed how to migrate an Access database with data into an Oracle database and then use the APEX 3.0 feature 'Application Migration Workshop' to build your APEX application. Well worth a look for anyone planning on doing this kind of thing.
So the day of presentations was over, and it was up to the free bar to relax and catch up with some people. Had a very pleasant drink with some colleagues and headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep.
UKOUG day 2 done and dusted. The months of worry and preparation were worth it and my life can now resume normality. Presenting is, although nerve-wrenching and time-consuming, a very rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone.