Rather than bore you with a lengthy tome about the event, I’d thought I would summarise the week with pictures and some brief commentary.
TL;DR: There was a conference-wide joy and euphoria about finally being back to meeting people face to face.
First was the 45 hours door to door to get to Dallas. This sounds ridiculous, but at the time of booking flights, pretty much every hop had to had have an extensive stopover factored into it due to the need for COVID testing before jumping on the next plane. Of course, Murphy’s law being as it is, by the time the conference dates came around, these restrictions had been lifted. In fact, in terms of trips to the USA, it is almost optimal for me because there is a direct flight to Dallas from Sydney; most of the time I would have had another domestic leg inside the US.
The conference was held in the Gaylord Convention Centre, which is best described as a cross between Disneyland and the Moscone centre. It is half holiday-resort, half conference centre. But definitely an impressive building parked in the middle of the Texas desert and only a few minutes Uber from Dallas airport.
Sunday was the APEX/Database symposium day, which was a great event to be part of. We had around 200 attendees and Shakeeb spent the first session taking a look back at the past few years at how APEX had evolved even though we had no face-to-face conferences to share in that evolution. And of course, we took a moment to remember our community friend Joel Kallman.
Then it was onto the true conference sessions starting on the Monday. There were several concurrent tracks covering APEX, Database, EPM and others, and there was plenty of great content to digest.
There was also the Oracle ACE breakfast, which of course necessitated the obligatory group photo. I was tasked with being photographer
It was also great to the see continuing growth in the number of women ACEs
On Monday night, a group of us headed out to the Texas BBQ restaurant. The concept is simple – pick as many type of meat, and as much of it as you like, get it weighed, pay for it and then settle in for a night of serious protein consumption!
A highlight for me was the Women-In-Technology lunch – the table I was at had a great variety of age groups, technology interests, as well as a few Forms programmers, so it was really interesting to hear how people are using our tech and their plans for the future.
Of course, the final night of the conference is saved for the party – this year’s theme being Silver, with everyone getting very much into the spirit of things.
Some of us partied on into the night, ending up at a line dancing (boot scootin’?) place. Being an ignorant Aussie, I assumed such a place would be full of senior citizens, slowly going through their line dancing paces, but the demographic was the opposite – generally millennials, all with great moves and a love of dancing!
On Thursday, the last day of the conference, the sessions were more long-form for things like hands-on labs. I sat in on good friend Cary Millsap’s session because he is a great story teller and I love a bit of Oracle nostalgia.
But the overarching theme for the entire week was simple – the joy of being together as a community again.