Oracle UA

What Oracle Resources are Available?

A copious supply of assistance… Yes, I really used copious

1-Minute (or less) Summary

As primary resources, these three (3) Oracle websites are great places to find the assistance you need.

  1. Oracle Help Center
  2. Oracle LiveLabs
  3. Oracle Live SQL

The Whole Story

In some ways, having a title of User Assistance Developer simply means that you are a writer. As a writer, I am morally obligated to use the word copious whenever I possibly can. I hope that by the time you finish reading about all the Oracle User Assistance resources that you will agree that I have properly used the word, and you will be better able to make use of the copious supply of assistance.

In fact, I believe that there is such an abundance of resources that it will take more than just a single blog post to discuss them all properly. If I attempted to put it all in a single post, you’d probably roll your eyes in a TL;DR stupor.

The Big 3 of Oracle User Assistance

If you want to learn about anything Oracle-related, here are three URLs that you should use, in order of priority.

  1. Oracle Help Center
  2. Oracle LiveLabs
  3. Oracle Live SQL

Oracle Help Center

A screenshot of the Oracle Help Center as it existed on June 23, 2021

This is the single best place to start, and the best search engine for Oracle User Assistance topics. But why? As a general rule, software changes rapidly, from security updates to the addition of new features or the deprecation of older features. Oracle software products are no exception to this rule. In fact, with the significant number of Oracle products, the number of changes is beyond any reasonable expectation that one person could possibly keep track of them all.

What this means is that a significant number of non-Oracle website can and do provide information that is dated, and in some cases wrong. Is this their fault? No. Most of these sites intend, and try hard, to deliver good and accurate information. But with limited, or in most cases no, budget for staff, updates, or knowledge acquisition, they have limited applicability (more on where to best use them later in this post).

The Oracle Help Center is the landing page and search engine to the Oracle documentation that forms the official record of the things that Oracle products can and cannot do. Why is this critical? If you do something that Oracle documents, precisely as Oracle documents it, and something goes wrong, Oracle will be in the position to help. If you do something recommended by a non-Oracle website, it is possible that you could damage your data in such a way that Oracle cannot help. For enterprise-class software, like Oracle, this is not a risk that you want to take lightly, if ever.

Oracle LiveLabs

A screenshot of the Oracle LiveLabs site as it existed on June 23, 2021

There are lots of really good sites for learning. I discuss some of my general favorites at the end of this post. But, there is no better place to learn about Oracle than from Oracle, and the best free source of Oracle learning from Oracle is Oracle LiveLabs.

Why this site? Did I mention that it is free!? Did I mention that is is provided by Oracle? If that isn’t enough, there are all sorts of labs. Most of them run on Oracle’s Always Free offerings on the Oracle Cloud. Did I mention that this cloud offering is free!? Many of the labs also allow you to run the labs on on-premise or dedicated cloud environments. It is hard not to find something that won’t significantly increase your skills and understanding of Oracle’s products on this site.

Oracle Live SQL

A screenshot of the Oracle Live SQL site as it existed on June 23, 2021

While SQL isn’t everything, it is a lot of things, especially when it comes to Oracle things. If you can answer YES to any of the following, Oracle Live SQL is for you:

  • Have you never heard of SQL?
  • Do you wonder if SQL is pronounced sequel or ess-queue-ell?
  • Do you want to quickly test a SQL statement against an Oracle schema?
  • Do you want to quickly and easily create and share Oracle SQL statements?
  • Do you want to be able to create collections of Oracle SQL statements as scripts that can be shared?
  • Do you want to learn and test data access through programming languages, like Java?
  • Are you curious how anyone decides to purposefully combine the letters, S, Q, and L?

SQL is the default method for accessing structure data, and even a lot of unstructured data is accessed via SQL or SQL-like statements. Oracle Live SQL is a great way to test and learn more about Oracle SQL in an easy-to-use environment.

What Else Do You Need?

Earlier in this post, I made two promises. One, I would explain the advantages and drawbacks of non-Oracle sites for Oracle knowledge. And two, I would give you some additional sites that I think are really good for learning about Oracle.

Advantages of Non-Oracle Sites:

  • The site can write things that an official Oracle site, or even the site of an Oracle employee (like this one), couldn’t write, including critiques, security holes, and future product announcements. Those things are controlled on Oracle sites, because Oracle has to abide by governmental regulations. Non-Oracle sites are not subject to such restrictions.
  • The site can get content online faster than Oracle, because they might show smaller examples rather than complete life cycles.
  • The site can publish in different formats than Oracle might publish, for example they might produce a video where Oracle produces a text-based content.

Disadvantages of Non-Oracle Sites:

  • The content might be inaccurate, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to easily determine its accuracy.
  • The content might not be actively managed, and while accurate, it is for a very dated version.
  • The site might have other motives than to just provide you with Oracle information.
  • The site might not be trustworthy, and any download you make from it might should be suspect.
  • Using recommendations from the site might expose your Oracle products to support and/or security risks.

The bottom-line is that you should proceed with caution. If you are referencing a non-Oracle site from a current Oracle employee or a current Oracle Ace (or similar active partner), you can generally proceed with caution. No non-Oracle site is going to exceed the accuracy of Oracle content, but it might summarize or present that content in a method or sequence that is better suited to your specific request.

Other Oracle Learning Sites:

Oracle University is the premier source for paid training. This is not something that everyone can afford, but if you can there is no better source of Oracle-related learning.

But, did I tease you just to get you to some paid Oracle learning site? No. Not really. Sure, you know about Oracle University now. But, you should actively follow Oracle University’s blog. From time to time, Oracle University’s blog posts about free offerings, including certifications, that are offered for a limited time. You want to actively read the blog, and act quickly when the offerings are available.

The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle. I am an Oracle Consulting User Assistance Developer in the Oracle Database Development team.