Thursday, December 29, 2005


I read this blog entry the other day and it sort of resonated with me.

I’ve often said 1995 was the year lots of things changed forever.  It was March of 1995 that I last used Forms to develop any applications.  It was the year that client server just totally died in my eyes.  

Much as Matthew described in that blog entry – I distinctly remember the first time I got (as in understood) this web thing – it was 1995.  Way back in 1990/1991 – I was introduced to HTML for the first time.  I was working on a heavy SGML project and this guy Dave Seaman who ran this small startup company at the time – InfoDesign – was sure this HTML thing would take off big time.  Yeah, right says I (such the futurist).  Sure enough – not too long after, it did.

I remember clearly when I first got it.  We had these brown bag technology lunches at Oracle where other sales consultants would get up and over lunch describe some new technology that was up and coming.  One day in early 1995 – Ty Eckard, a friend and co-worker of mine, got up on the 13th floor of the Bethesda Metro Center building we were brought in for a brown bag lunch and talked about HTML.  Boooorrrring I thought – until he did this “cgi-bin” thing.  Oh, did that get my attention.  Big time.

I got a web server (NCSA) later that very afternoon and started playing.  It was the beginning of the end.  I was into Forms in a large way back then – I could make it do anything I wanted.  But this web thing just took over in my mind.  I couldn’t do things nearly as “pretty” with HTML (the blink tag was pretty exciting) – but I could do things and let everyone have at them immediately.  That year – when many others went away on our sales club – I set up an internal web server called Aria (my daughter Megan was born in August, my wife Lori wasn’t wanting to travel in June).  It was on an old piece of Solbourne hardware, but it worked.

We just retired Aria this month – a little over ten years later.  Inside Oracle – Aria is a “known name” – it hosted the “Aria people search” (wrote about that application in Expert One on One Oracle) and people still call it the Aria people search.  Even now that it is hosted on a “data center machine”, it is still the “Aria people search”.  Funny how a little application like that – that suddenly gets 7 hits per second, every second, every day pretty much, 24 hours a day can change things.

1995 was the year that HTML-DB was born as well – believe it or not.  Mike Hichwa (the guy that owns HTML-DB and Raptor inside of Oracle) first started down the path of getting to HTML-DB that year.  We did version 0.00001 using nothing more than SQL*Plus as a cgi-bin application – it worked pretty well actually.  A lot has changed since then.

It doesn’t seem like a decade since then – but it is.


Blogger Roderick said....

I also first saw some text only browser in the early 90's, but thought it was just another variation tftp with a markup language that reminded me of troff. It was more fun when NCSA Mosaic came out around 1995. But the novelty wore off for me too quickly.
Then I turned down friends at Netscape and Yahoo offering me jobs pre-IPO because I thought anybody could write a browser or web server for free, and the Internet culture would never tolerate advertising or consider buying stuff online.

Fri Dec 30, 03:50:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

"The blink tag was pretty exciting ...".

The 'Blink' tag was a completely failure. Nowadays, fortunately, those that keep using this tag will burn on the Hell's flames :).

By the way, Tom, is there any kind of 'internal' excelence award on Oracle for those employees that are 'gurus' like you?. Sinceresly, i will be proud to work in the same company as you.

Merry Christmas from an Oracle 'Pádawan' :).

Fri Dec 30, 04:22:00 AM EST  

Blogger William Robertson said....

Wow, I envy you getting in on it all so early. I think I saw my first ever web page in 1995. From what I remember, it finished loading around 1997.

Fri Dec 30, 07:07:00 AM EST  

Blogger Marc Soth said....

1995 changed also a lot in my life. In 1995 I started as C++ programmer in a small company and my boss came one day in the office and told me that there's a tiny adress database which was written in Access 2.0 and so I was involved in the database area. I used to programm clipper and I always tried to do things dynamically and I never find out how I could do this, but with Access it was possible. In 1996 I also wrote my first home page and it's still available today ;-)

In 1996 I started as a SQL Server programmer and designer. A few weeks after I started I asked my boss who is the DBA of the SQL Server. I had a problem and the error message told me I should contact the SQL Server administrator - now I was also the DBA.

In 1998 I changed the company and the country and started as a UNIX administrator. When I started in my company I thought I could get a programmer job, but UNIX isn't too bad. A new OS is always nice.

And in 2000 I got the chance to became a ORACLE dba and I needed a few months to understand the "strange" ORACLE design. How can a database work without any locks on a select, without any lists of locks. At the beginning I thought they've just missed to give me this peace of information because it's clear, that you would need such technics to run a database. When I figured it out, that ORACLE is completely different I was really astonished. I understand know a conversation which I had several years ago.
There were also a lot of strange things to do, e.g. rebuild indexes. I've never understood why ORACLE should programm so poorly such a important structure. A structure which has never changed for years. ORACLE should be able to fix up the bugs in such a structure. Then I found via google asktom and I could see, that it is nonsense to rebuild indexes etc. BTW, thanks a lot Tom, you've saved me for become crazy.

In 2005 I realized that I spend too much time with standard jobs and had too less time for learning. I couldn't get 5 or 6 weeks per year for learning ORACLE stuff and then I decided to become a freelancer.

Time will tell if I'll have more time for learning next year...

Fri Dec 30, 07:12:00 AM EST  

Blogger Gleisson Henrique said....

Damn web, I can only dream of the Forms world had you stayed on it. We definitely would have books on Forms with same quality and execelent approach as
your books and AskTom would be all about Forms. But I guess it turned out better that way for all of us. Thanks for the 10 years of work Tom.

Fri Dec 30, 07:43:00 AM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....


if there were no web/internet community, there would be no asktom, books, whatever either. The problem I had with forms was not so much forms itself (I found it to be extremely powerful actually) - it was the deployment issue and the connectedness of it. Imagine the size of the machine you'd need to support any sizable community using a stateful, connected application.

I know the web is just a rip off of CICS in a way - but it works for me ;)

Fri Dec 30, 08:58:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Pete Finnigan said....

Hi Tom,

You were really in the know early on with the web. This is impressive to be there when there were only a handful of websites in existence. I was intrigued by your quote of 1990/1991 as i remembered that Berners-Lee effectively invented the web around the end of 1990. I was aware that the for-runners to HTML, there were a few if i remember were around some time before. Of course there are people who think that the internet and the web are the same thing..:-). I was interested to see some history of HTML so i found a link you might be interested in, titled The Early History of HTML that includes a (working)link to the earliest working HTML document.

Have a great new year Tom,



Fri Dec 30, 09:42:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Totally unrelated to the discussion here, but I "stumbled upon", and of course, gave it a "I like it" thumbs up. Keep up the good work, Tom. You are awesome...
Happy New Year!

Fri Dec 30, 02:28:00 PM EST  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

And yet, some things never change.


Fri Dec 30, 02:58:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

> Berners-Lee effectively invented the
> web around the end of 1990.

The graphical web browser perhaps, but the WWW didn't look too much different from Gopher at that point. Anyone who had used Gopher and seen a Star or Macintosh wasn't surprised.


Fri Dec 30, 04:22:00 PM EST  

Blogger Howard J. Rogers said....

Regarding Tim Berners-Lee:

Fri Dec 30, 05:57:00 PM EST  

Blogger Robert said....

1995 - when I got my first own PC

Sat Dec 31, 01:20:00 AM EST  

Blogger Aman Sharma said....

wish you a great and so much 2006 sir.Happy new year to you.
with best wishes and regards
Aman Sharma.

Sun Jan 01, 05:06:00 AM EST  

Blogger Noons said....

"I know the web is just a rip off of CICS in a way - but it works for me ;)"

Hehehe! I'm one of the few people still around who can say: "nope, multi-tier web technologies are the rip off of CICS!"

But I got your point. Very true: the longer I stay in IT, the more it all looks as a rehash of the tried and true of 30 years ago...

Thanks for sharing so much in the past 10 years, it's been a great ride and your books and asktom have been invaluable.

HNY and here's hoping all of us will be here again (or wherever else technology takes us) in 2016!

Tue Jan 03, 01:15:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Is it the same Ty Eckard from the Charlotte, NC area? Oracle Financials implementation at Family Dollar in 1998?

Tue Jan 03, 04:29:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Slava said....

I started using Oracle in 1995, version 7.0 for Windows NT 3.x on Dec Intel server. Brings some good memories back :)

Tue Jan 03, 04:36:00 PM EST  

Anonymous vin said....

Hi Tom

Aria was such a fantastic application. You could work up the org hierarchy and find reporting structures very quickly. I always wondered why Oracle did not integrate this with the Oracle HRMS module. A majority of clients were struggling to create org charts from the HRMS data and had to resort to discoverer or third party programs/consultants to achieve this.

I am disappointed that Oracle has decided to retire this and not included this in their future HRMS module strategy. This is one program which would have helped medium and large organisations with a geographical spread .

Anyway I am glad to know that you were involved with this concept from the start. Well done! and thanks for such a good application.

Tue Jan 03, 05:12:00 PM EST  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Is it the same Ty Eckard

Indeed, he ends up in NC after a while, yes. Used to be in Bethesda, Maryland.

Tue Jan 03, 05:19:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Ty and I (and a small army of PWC consultants) spent many long days in Charlote on that FD implementation. Excellent to hear other good comments about him.

Wed Jan 04, 11:04:00 AM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Very Good article , this article make some interesting points.
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Mon Jun 23, 02:37:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Ash said....

Hi tom,

Where did the name "Aria" come from? Can you share why did you choose it at the time?

This page was a very interesting read even after so many years of you posting it.

a curious newbie

Sun Nov 10, 07:48:00 PM EST  


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