The advanced search in Oracle Database 10g Release 2 (10.2) documentation library gives you the option to format search results into a virtual book.
This is a nice little feature that formats your search results as a single combined table of contents, making it easier to scan through similar topics from different books. For example here is a virtual book about materialized views. It took about 15 seconds for the search engine to return results formatted as a virtual book, not very fast.
What about Oracle Database 11g?
It seems that the virtual book option is missing from the Oracle Database 11g Release 1 (11.1) documentation library. I could not find it on the advanced search page. If it is there and I missed it, please let me know. Until then, I figured out a simple way to transform an 11g search result into a virtual book. Just append “&vbook=1″ to the end of the search results URL. For example:
Even though the virtual book format option is not exposed on the advanced search page, it is mentioned and explained on the 11g search help page. Hmm!
You could also bookmark this page http://www.oracle.com/pls/db111/vbook and use it whenever you want to generate a virtual book for any search term.
A new search plugin
Finally, the easiest option of all is to install the Oracle DB 11.1 Virtual Book search plugin in your browser (Firefox or IE7). If you use Google Chrome, here are the instructions on how to add a new search engine.
How do you create an RSS feed for a web page that does not have one? you use Dapper. That’s what I did with the Oracle database 10gR2 search result page. I used the Dapper generated RSS feed for this page in my oradoc Ubiquity command.
A lot of the potential RSS goodness is tied up with the Web 2.0-style stuff in the 11g library. E.g. there are URLs for RSS feeds for new books, but have to find the right place(s) in the UI to link to them; for example, perhaps in the left navigation bar for each book. But the RSS feed for search results doesn’t have such dependencies, so it shouldn’t be a problem to backport.
So, a few days later, John email me the URL for the 10gR2 documentation search results RSS feed:
and for 11gR1 it is:
I have updated the oradoc Ubiquity command to use the new 10gR2 feed.
Thanks John, you rock!2 Comments | Filed in Extensions, Firefox, Oracle | Tags: Documentation, RSS, ubiquity
If you use Firefox, you’re in for a treat. If not, please download it and resume reading about Ubiquity and how you can use it to query the Oracle database documentation library and do other neat stuff using simple commands.
Cool, isn’t it? Go ahead, install Ubiquity 0.1.1 and give it a whirl.
OK, now that you have Ubiquity enabled in your Firefox browser, visit the following page:
When you are on that page, you will get a message offering you the choice of subscribing to my Ubiquity commands which are also listed on the page.
Currently, I have only one command: oradoc. It is similar to Don’s command but it has the added feature of displaying the search results in Ubiquity’s preview area.
Currently the preview is for Oracle database 11g and 10g documentation libraries. This was possible because John provided an RSS feed for DB 11g search results. I used Dapper to create the DB 10g search results feed.
I use and parse the feeds in the command code to generate the preview using jQuery’s AJAX and XML Goodness.
By the way, you can use Ubiquity’s “search” command to search with your Oracle Search Plugins, or other search plugins, installed in your browser’s search bar.
Here is a short screencast that demonstrates how to use the oradoc Ubiquity command and shows you other neat Ubiquity features: Click here to see the screencast.6 Comments | Filed in Firefox, Oracle | Tags: Documentation, ubiquity
Since the introduction of the first Oracle search plugins for Firefox, a few things have changed:
So, what does this have to do with search plugins? Read on and you will know:
Both Firefox 2 and IE 7 browsers now support the OpenSearch description format (XML) for search plugins. Which means that if you develop a search plugin for Firefox, that exact same search plugin can also be installed and used in Internet Explorer.
Using auto-discovery, a web site that offers a search plugin can advertise it so that Firefox 2 and IE 7 users can easily download and install the plugin. This is similar to the RSS auto-discovery of feeds.
In IE 7, here is how the search bar looks when you browse a website without search plugin auto-discovery:
And here is how it looks with search plugin auto-discovery enabled:
If you click on that small orange down-arrow, you will see something similar to this:
In fact, if you are using IE 7 to browse this very page, you will be able to see it in action in your browser right now. Just look at your search bar.
Note: I have noticed that IE 7 does not discover more than 3 search plugins using auto-discovery.
In Firefox 2, here is how the search bar looks when you browse a website without search plugin auto-discovery:
And here is how it looks with search plugin auto-discovery enabled:
If you click on that small blue-ish down-arrow, you will see something similar to this:
In fact, if you are using Firefox 2.0 to browse this very page (or Wikipedia for example), you will be able to see it in action in your browser. Just look at your search bar.
I have created three Oracle custom search engines powered by Google.
The second search engine is for Oracle-related forums and mailing lists. Currently this search engine searches the following sites:
Let me know if you have other Oracle-related forums you want to include in this search engine.
The third search engine is for Oracle-related websites. Currently this search engine searches the following sites:
Let me know if you have other Oracle-related sites you want to include in this search engine.
These search engines, and more, are now available to you right from your browser’s search bar.
Just click on a search plugin below to add it to the list of engines available in your browser’s search bar:
(Firefox 2 or IE 7 and above only)
Oracle Custom Search Engines:
Oracle Documentation Search Engines:
Here are four search bar keyboard shortcuts that will make using the search bar even faster:
And here is a bonus tip to change the width of the search bar in Firefox.
6 Comments | Filed in Firefox, Oracle, Plugins | Tags: Documentation, Firefox, internet-explorer, plugin, search
Using Google to find answers is a good idea, but when it comes to finding answers to technical questions, hitting the documentation first is a very smart move that may save you some humiliation later on.
When you ask “obvious” questions on forums or mailing lists, there is a good chance that the more experienced forum contributors will hit you with an answer like this one: RTFM before asking dumb questions.
Tim Hall has noticed a trend in the Oracle forums:
It feels like most posters these days donâ€™t even bother to open the manuals before asking a question. I canâ€™t count the number of times Iâ€™ve been asked a question, that is answered by the first couple of paragraphs in the manual. Itâ€™s just lazy beyond words.
OK, so Tim is predicting the downfall of Oracle forums because posters don’t bother to RTFM first.
Now, with the help of Oracle Blogs Search and Google, let’s see what other bloggers have written about this subject:
I do recommend and point people to the documentation, but I donâ€™t think I give RTFM answers… I will answer with a gentle reminder such as “well, when I typed your subject into the search field, I found these 5 articles, did you see them?”.
Telling some newbie “RTFM” is an act of pure arrogance. It just feeds the respondent’s ego without helping that questioner learn anything, except maybe not to ask for help in the forum again.
Iâ€™ve just seen a note on the news group comp.databases.server.oracle advising someone to check the online manual for a piece of code to report which objects are using how much space in the buffer cache. This is the reference and this is the code… There are two flaws with this code – it gets the wrong results, and itâ€™s inefficient.
RTFM says “you’re wasting my time and I think you are stupid”. I wouldn’t say that to anyone in one-to-one conversation, I don’t see why it is acceptable in email. (unless you are 14, male and on a video games forum obviously).
First let me say I’m not a prude, but neither do I have a mouth like a toilet. But I do find the acronym RTFM incredibly offensive.
The “F” in RTFM is the biggest clue that most of us blame the user for not reading the manual… since we can’t force our users to do anything, if we want them to RTFM, we need to make a better FM.
And finally, here is what I say:
Feel free to add your own DO or DON’T, or even ask dumb questions, I promise I won’t throw an RTFM on you15 Comments | Filed in Oracle, Tips | Tags: Documentation, Google, search
Alternatively, you can just drag and drop the bookmarklet on the Bookmarks Toolbar.
In Internet Explorer 6:
In Internet Explorer 7:
I have successfully tested the bookmarklets in Internet Explorer 7 (RC1). The installation is similar to IE6. However, for the bookmarklets to work properly you may need to disable IE7′s built in pop up blocker and tweak the default security settings, otherwise you will have to explicitly allow the bookmarklet script to run everytime you use it.
The bookmarklets below can be used in two ways:
If you select (highlight) text on the web page you are browsing and then click on the bookmarklet on your toolbar, the corresponding search for the selected text will be performed and the result displayed in a new window (or tab).
If you do not select (highlight) any text on the web page you are browsing and click on the bookmarklet on your toolbar, you will be asked to type in your search terms and then the corresponding search for the entered text will be performed and the result displayed in a new window (or tab).
I have created these bookmarklets and used them to research a topic I want to blog about or a work related problem I want to solve. I hope you will find them useful as well.2 Comments | Filed in Firefox, Oracle | Tags: bookmark, del.icio.us, Documentation, Firefox, internet-explorer, search
I have noticed that the Oracle database 10g documentation library is excluded from the global documentation search result. By global documentation search I mean the following pages:
For example, here is the search result for “select” using the first page, and here is the search result using the second page. The result in both searches does not include any results for Oracle database 10g Release 1 or 2. It does however include results for the Oracle database Express Edition 10g Release 2. Does anyone know the reason for that?
Update: August 14, 2006 – This seems to have been fixed. The Oracle database 10g documentation library is now included in the search results.Comments Off | Filed in Oracle | Tags: Documentation
Yesterday, Justin announced that a new way for searching the documentation has just gone live.
For example, to see the new Oracle Docs search in action, here is the search result for “merge”.
Check it out at search.oracle.com.
To make searching easier:
What is the first thing you do when a new version of an Oracle database (or any software) is released? You immediately look for the “what’s new” document, right?
I believe that the “What’s new” document is very important because it informs you of new (or modified) features that is supposed to make your life easier and your applications more powerful.
Take advantage of “what’s new”. After all, you’re paying for these new features (I assume), so use them or lose them.
To that end, here is a list of “what’s new” links. They will take you straight to the corresponding section of the Oracle documentation:
What’s new in Oracle Database version:
What’s new in SQL in Oracle Database version:
What’s new in PL/SQL in Oracle Database version:
Here is a list of useful “What’s new” articles:
Oracle Internet Explorer users, now it is your turn. With the release of the latest Google toolbar for IE, now it is possible to add custom buttons to the toolbar that will let you visit and search your favorite websites and keep up with interesting feeds. So, I went ahead and created two custom buttons, one for searching Oracle documentation, another for reading Oracle blogs: Continue reading…2 Comments | Filed in Oracle, Technology | Tags: aggregator, blog, Documentation, Google, toolbar