This book is very much a product of my imagination, grounded in the realities and possibilities of the PL/SQL language. Vague technical fantasies can be translated into packages only with a freedom of time and spirit. Many people helped in many ways to provide me with this freedom.
Bill Hinman, President and CEO of SSC, has supported me fully and encouraged me strenuously from the day I joined his consulting company. I am especially grateful for the weeks of straight writing time I was able to enjoy in the final stages of writing this book. Barrie Hinman, CFO of SSC, has been invaluable in managing the many details of our growing organization and my scattered activities. Hugo Toledo, author of Oracle Networking , made many things possible for me over the past year, from helping me with the installation of Oracle Server 7.3 for Windows NT to directing me to the executable which made it possible to print my training materials in "pure black and white." Hugo is my "answer man" and he'll never understand how deeply he is appreciated.
My technical reviewers played a critical role in turning my many hundreds of pages of somewhat raw text into a useful book (I hope). Brian Shelden of Symantec has been an enthusiastic booster and, much more importantly, tester of my concepts and code. Thomas Dunbar of WebCys again provided many excellent criticisms of my text and approach, forcing me to clarify concepts and justify techniques. Bert Scalzo showed an early and steady willingness to point out my mistakes which makes him a very valuable asset in my technical life. John Beresniewicz of Wynnsoft appeared late on the scene, but jumped in with both hands typing. His ideas and experience have enriched both the text and my understanding of my own code. Chuck Sisk of SSC was ready to take on whatever I asked of him even if that changed every week.
Finally, there is David Thompson of SSC. David is a meticulous, principled, and very smart Oracle developer. Both in my first book and in this text, he went beyond critiquing my work to providing well thought-out additions to the text. David built the PLVddd package, initially in a version independent of PL/Vision. He then converted it to use the PL/Vision packages, a process that served as an excellent test of the usefulness and usability of my software.
Many of my reviewers took time during their summer vacations to read my text, and for that I am deeply grateful.
I thank Kasu Sista and Ken Wiegle of Links Technology, Inc., for their generosity in providing a development machine on which I could test PL/Vision code for Release 2.3 of PL/SQL at a critical stage in this book.
I thank Petra Smulders of the European Oracle User Group, Lex de Haan of Oracle EMEA Education, and Ineke Werkman of Oracle Netherlands for their parts in my two wonderful trips to the Netherlands in 1996, where I trained Oracle developers and enjoyed Amsterdam.
I thank Peter Vasterd of Oracle Corporation for keeping a wide line of communication open with me, answering my sometimes, well, brainless questions, helping me get around technical and bureaucratic obstacles, and specifically making sure that I was able to build and test my software on an Oracle Server 7.3 database.
I thank Tom White and Steve Hilker of RevealNet for their enthusiastic support of my work and their help in making PL/Vision a living and breathing product.
I thank the various editors who have published my articles over the last year: Tony Ziemba of Oracle Developer (portions of this book appeared originally as articles in that publication), Jerry Coffee of Oracle Informant , Kathleen O'Connor of Oracle Technical Journal , Rich Niemiec of Select Magazine , and the folks at the Oracle Integrator . Writing these articles helped me focus my thinking and coding in ways that clarified the contents of this book.
I thank Ernie Martinez and Mark A. Ebel of COM.sortium LLC in Orlando for their help in sorting out my difficulties with UTL_FILE on my Windows NT Oracle 7.3 Server.
I thank Fred King, most able, industrious, and downright amiable computer serviceperson, who went beyond the call of duty to cannibalize a "spare" Toshiba Portege in order to retrieve the text of this book from my dead laptop and keep me writing.
I thank the good people at O'Reilly & Associates for another fine publishing experience. I thank Debby Russell, my editor, for another outstanding effort at transforming lots of interesting ideas and too much text into a text of manageable size and cohesiveness. I do not really understand how she manages to juggle all of her editing and book development responsibilities so effectively. I do know, however, that this book stands as yet another testimony to her skill and dedication. Thanks as well to David Futato, the production manager for the book; Kismet McDonough-Chan, the copyeditor; Mike Sierra, who converted the Microsoft Word files to FrameMaker; Edie Freedman, who designed the cover; Nancy Priest and Mary Jane Walsh, who designed the interior layout; Chris Reilley, who prepared the diagrams; Eden Reiner, who handled the advertising material; and Seth Maislin, who prepared the index.
I thank my wife, Veva Silva Feuerstein, for taking on a bigger-than-usual share (more than big enough to begin with) of "the family thing" and "the house thing" as I buried myself in my computers. I am lucky to have her and I hope she feels the same way about me.
I thank my son, Eli Silva Feuerstein, for never giving up on asking me to play with him, even as I was buried in inches of paper doing final edits. The games of horse and one-on-one in our tiny backyard basketball court definitely improved the text you read in this book.
I thank my son, Chris Silva, for helping us get away from our pets now and then, and for being such a fine big brother to Eli.
I thank my Uncle Dave Gventer for making clear to me early in life that just because most people believe one thing, that doesn't make it true. He opened my eyes to a different way of looking at the world.
Finally, I thank my mother and father, Joan Lee and Sheldon Feuerstein, for their support and love.
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