Oracle Social Network Developer Challenge Winners

Now that OpenWorld 2012 has wrapped, I have time to tell you all about what happened.

Maybe you recall that Noel (@noelportugal) and I were running a modified hackathon during the show, the Oracle Social Network Developer Challenge.

Without further ado, congratulations to Dimitri Gielis (@dgielis) and Martin Giffy D’Souza (@martindsouza) on their winning entry, an integration between Oracle APEX and Oracle Social Network that integrates feedback and bug submission with Oracle Social Network Conversations, allowing developers, end-users and project leaders to view and discuss the feedback on their APEX applications from within Oracle Social Network.

Update: Bob Rhubart of OTN (@brhubartinterviewed Dimitri and Martin right after their big win. Money quote from Dimitri when asked what he’d buy with the $500 in Amazon gift cards, “Oracle Social Network.” Nice one.

In their own words:

In the developers perspective it’s important to get feedback soon, so after a first iteration and end-users start to test, they can give feedback of the application. Previously it stopped there, and it was up to the developer to communicate further with email, phone etc. With OSN every feedback and communication gets logged and other people can see the discussion immediately as well.

For the end users perspective he can now communicate in a more efficient way to not only the developers, but also between themselves. Maybe many end-users (in different locations) would like to change some behaviour, by using OSN they can see the entry somebody put in with a screenshot and they can just start to chat about it. Some key technical end users can have lighten the tasks of the development team by looking at the feedback first and start to communicate with their peers.

For the project manager he has now the ability to really see what communication has taken place in certain areas and can make decisions on that. Later, if things come up again, he can always go back in OSN and see what was said at that moment in time.

Integrating OSN in the APEX applications enhances the user experience, makes the lives of the developers easier and gives a better overview to project managers.

Incidentally, you may already know Dimitri and Martin, since both are Oracle Ace Directors. I ran into Martin at the Ace Director briefings Friday before the conference started, and at that point, he wasn’t sure he’d have time to enter the Challenge.

After some coaxing, he and Dimitri agreed to give it a go and banged out their entry on Tuesday night, or more accurately, very early Wednesday morning, the day of the Challenge judging. I think they said it took them about four hours of hardcore coding to get it done, very much like a traditional hackathon, which is essentially a code sprint from idea to finished product.

Here are some screenshots of the workflow they built.

I love this idea, i.e. closing the loop between web developers and users, a very common pain point, and so did our judges.

Speaking of, special thanks to our panel of three judges:

Finally, thanks to everyone who made this possible, including:

  • The three other teams from HarQen (@harqen), TEAM Informatics (@teaminformatics) and Fishbowl Solutions (@fishbowle20) featuring Friend of the ‘Lab John Sim (@jrsim_uix), who finished and presented entries. I’ll be posting the details of their work next week.
  • The one guy who finished an entry, but couldn’t make the judging, Bex Huff (@bex). Bex rallied from a hospitalization due to an allergic reaction during the show; he’s fine, don’t worry. I’ll post details of his work next week, too.
  • The 40-plus people who registered to compete in the Challenge.
  • Noel for all his hard work, sample code, and flying monkey target, more on that to come.
  • The Oracle Social Network development team for supporting this event.
  • Everyone in legal and the beta program office for their help.
  • And finally, the Oracle Technology Network (@oracletechnet) for hosting the event and providing countless hours of operational and moral support.

Sorry if I’ve missed some people, since this was a huge team effort.

This event was a big success, and we plan to do similar events in the future. Stay tuned to this channel for more.

Another update: Our gracious judges and happy winners right after the prize presentation, from left to right Dimitri Gielis, Martin Giffy D’Souza, Robert Hipps,Reggie Bradford, Roland Smart. Thanks to Peter (@peterreiser) for the photo.

Photo by Peter Reiser used with permission, from L-R: Dimitri, Martin, Robert, Reggie, Roland

Another update: Dimitri recorded a short video showing the integration at work.




  1. Brilliant ideation and execution of the competition, full marks to Noel and Jake! Agree with the comments about the winning entry too! On a general point, discussion around SRs, particularly lower-priority ones, and enabling the community to fix issues that corporate help desks will never get to seems like a reasonable balance between support fee generation, UX, and applying collective intelligence to solve real business problems.

  2. Thanks. Dimitri and Martin did a great job, and this pain point is the subject of another entry as well. Closing the support loop in a single place is immensely valuable to developers and users alike, and OSN offers a way to combine disparate systems into one place where everyone can collaborate.

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