Oracle UA

From Books to Articles

Or… how the cloud changes everything.

1-Minute (or Less) Summary

Oracle documentation is published, primarily, as books in electronic formats (HTML and PDF) in the Oracle Help Center. In the not too distant past, those books were printed, and not available in electronic formats. If moving from print to electronic was a recent change, what’s happening now?

Oracle’s Autonomous Database on Dedicated Infrastructure documents are now available in article format.

The Whole Story

The commonly misattributed quote, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” is particularly appropriate for this story. Lots and lots of companies, not just software or technology companies, publish documentation and do so in book format. Most software companies, Oracle included, make those documents available electronically. And yet, with search engines (e.g., DuckDuckGo and Google), it becomes very clear that the critical fact is that books do not matter.

So what matters? What matters, based on the facts available to us is that you go to your favorite search engine, enter a search term or phrase, and expect to find the answer within a few clicks. You aren’t looking for an entire book on being an Oracle DBA, an Oracle developer, or how to write Java code from the ground-up. You are looking for a specific answer to your specific request.

Presenting you with documentation, and other user assistance content, that is segregated into books or other arbitrary containers is irrelevant to the way that you are looking for your answer. These is the cold, hard fact, and no fancy cover, no cool landing page, and no spiffy video or graphic is going to change this.

So, the Oracle Database User Assistance team listened. In fact, we’ve been listening for a good long while. And, Oracle’s Autonomous Database on Dedicated Infrastructure documents are now available in article format.

What are articles? They intend to be content snippets that get you just the answer you need. In other words, there should be a high probability that the article contains the answer you need, and just the answer that you need. No more paging up or down, no more wondering if the extra content you see is relevant to you or not, and no more wondering if you have the right book, if two different book contain similar but different answers.

Are articles perfect? Heck no! Nothing is. There is always the challenge that no two queries are exactly the same. No two users have exactly the same base of knowledge. Heck, even as you search for an answer, your own base of knowledge is changing as you search and learn more. So, articles aren’t perfect. But, they fit a whole lot better with the way that the cloud enables us to work.

Oracle’s Autonomous Database on Dedicated Infrastructure articles are just the start. This product was selected as Oracle’s MVP, allowing us to put into place tooling and processes that can be improved and applied to other products. Expect to see a regular stream of other product being converted to article format.

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.

Write A Comment