Hat Tip to Philipp Salvisberg

BIT (Before Internet Time) it was probably true that we had a very small circle of friends or acquaintances.

These people, whether family, friends and colleagues, were people we had actually (physically) met. As part of meeting people, one comes to some sort of estimation as to quality of their friendship, their character and reliability.

AIT (After Internet Time) most of us can say we are connected to a lot more people than before, but we have only ever “met” most of them online.

How do we measure these relationships? By friend count on Facebook? Or by the number of connected colleagues on LinkedIn?

Yes, you have seen their profiles on LinkedIn, possibly following their blogging, or product forum work, but you don’t know the tenor of the person.

All those profile reads on LinkedIn that never produce any leads: do they really know us? A CV might tell us about work and technical experience, but it doesn’t say anything about what people really want to know: can I work with them? will they deliver for me? what will he do to help me help him?

Unfortunately, we cannot get a measure of them by traditional means: spending time in a bar after work, playing sport, having a refreshing ale, or just, if you like, shooting the breeze.

In the end, Internet friendships are very transactional: I want something, will you deliver?

But we can’t help notice the way that transaction is carried out.

It is also true that, while we have books and a search engine, it is often the case that we need a guide; a mentor; someone who has the right knowledge and ways to impart it.

Which brings me to Philipp Salvisberg.

As many of you know I have been involved in GeoRaptor for SQL Developer (Oracle) for a long time. My recent article on GeoRaptor and the new crop of spatial extensions to database SQL tools highlights that involvement. As that article indicated, after many attempts, I had pretty well decided to give up on ever being able to port GeoRaptor to SQL Developer 19+.

I really hoped that it was not dead, but I’d come to the conclusion that perhaps it should be.

Not Dead Yet!

Philipp had provided some help to some university student team last year who were trying to resurrect GeoRaptor; that help was very helpful advice but he was never hands on (it was the students’ project after all).

After my writing of that article, Philipp contacted me with a number of suggestions. But more than making suggestions, he pro-actively made a posting on Oracle’s community forums about the grid context menu. Not letting that be the end of his involvement, he then had a few thoughts and came up with a workable solution which he did not just communicate to me, but actually went ahead and constructed a simple extension that implemented the missing hook; the hook that had defeated others over the past 5 years.

The level of his domain knowledge was clearly evident in an email he sent me describing how the API had changed from the 1,2 and 3 versions of SQL Developer, to the SQL Developer 4+ versions. The testament to the clarity of the email was evident though the simple extension a testament to his skill.

He didn’t stop with advice and a simple working extension. When I migrated the GeoRaptor code to github (private for now), he asked for access which I granted. He then used that access to add the hook to the code base, and then set up the project to use Maven and to build a new extension.

All things I could not have done myself.

Now I have a platform on which I hope to build a new version of GeoRaptor.

And I must give public credit to Philipp for this: he “went the extra mile”, and it is greatly appreciated.

I know nothing of Philipp’s education; where he lives; who he works for. But I do know that Philipp is the sort of person that, were it possible, I would shout him more than one of his favourite tipple.

He humanizes the Internet; I only wish there were more people like him around.

I heartily endorse and recommend Philipp to anyone who might consider having him provide them with consulting or full-time work.