Since April 2010, the PL/SQL Challenge has offered daily, weekly and monthly quizzes on Oracle PL/SQL, SQL, deductive logic and Oracle Application Express. Oracle technologists have submitted over 740,000 answers to these quizzes. Hundreds have raved about how much they have learned, how much fun it is to compete (or not, as you choose!)....

This website is one of my proudest achievements, but I sure would love to have more of my developer and DBA friends around the world using the site.

So I am excited to announce a new weekly quiz on Database Design, which will start on 5 October.

Relational databases form the backbone of thousands, if not millions, of applications around the globe. A key part of building these applications is designing and implementing the data structures they use. Proper table design can mean the difference between a scalable, high performing database that is a joy to query and an unscalable mess that makes your brain melt.

Given the importance of databases, understanding good data modelling techniques and physical implementation methods are essential skills for architects, database administrators and developers creating database applications.

Building on the SQL and PL/SQL quizzes already available at the PL/SQL Challenge, the weekly Database Design Quiz kicks off on 5 October to help you build these skills. The quiz will cover many areas of database design, from logical design all the way to physical database design, including topics such as:

  • Normalization - ensuring you have high quality data
  • Referential integrity - saving you the time and effort of writing your own constraints
  • Indexing - enabling you to write fast and efficient queries

Whether you're an experienced data modeller or completely new to relational databases, the weekly Database Design Quiz offers you the opportunity to both learn new approaches and show off your expertise. It will teach techniques that you can use to improve the quality for your work and impress future employers with your achievements.

The person who has made this quiz possible is Chris Saxon, a long-time player on the PL/SQL Challenge. Chris is a database technologist with 10 years experience designing and building Oracle database applications. He currently works as the Data Architect for the airline Flybe, a role which sees him creating the data structures for the flybe.com database and the company's enterprise data warehouse. He also runs the blog www.sqlfail.com, a project to explain database concepts and other topics of interest using just SQL and PL/SQL. While not thinking about data, his spare time is filled chasing after his daughter Isabelle, born in January this year.

I have, by the way, seen pictures of Isabelle. She is beautiful!

But Chris is so devoted to his craft and so interested in helping others that he is going to give up precious time with his daughter to create and manage the quizzes.

So play the quiz! Every week! Starting 5 October (this Saturday).

If you have not yet visited the PL/SQL Challenge, it's easy to register and entirely free. Check it out!