Friday Apr 11, 2008

Talk on Java and Database Connectivity at NIT, Jamshedpur

Recently I made a trip to National Institute Of Technology (NIT) at Jamshedpur to conduct a workshop on "Java and database connectivityā€¯ for students from colleges participating in the tech-festival. Here is the slides for the talk:

Some notes from the trip down my memory lane ..

The flight was gliding down and I could see the aerial view of Kolkata. It was a bright sunny day, 11:30 Am, Sunday March 30, 2008. From more than thousand meters up there, the buildings appeared like tiny dots. I was after all getting the big picture of things which, now a days, is increasingly expected out of me. But now, it was all just there, all of that big city for me to see. I just needed to relax and live that moment. Forget the past, and forget the future, just see the nature's glory and allow yourself to be amazed, I thought to myself.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Kolkata airport looked decent. It looked definitely much bigger than the present Bangalore airport (not the yet-to-open new one), and many other airports in India. I had couple of hours to be consumed by idleness.

It was an hour long flight from Kolkata to Jamshedpur. From the top, the city looked built well planned. Traces of many industries and manufacturing units there all over the city. There was this river almost turned to be like sewage water running through the city, I was wondering if it were a clean river in the past.

Nishanth, our Sun campus ambassador in NIT Jamshedpur, came to airport to receive me along with his classmates Vijendar and Azad Ravi. It was a good feeling to meet them right at the airport. We drove into the heart of the city of Jamshedpur on Azad Ravi's car. The roads close to the airport region were in excellent condition mainly due to Tata's maintenance. Some parts of the city is still maintained by Tata. Much of Jamshedpur's establishment and fame is due to Tata's Steel plant and we could also see lots of small scale industries in the city which thrive on supplying parts and components to the plant.

We located a nice hotel with WIFI connectivity and I settled down for the day. I needed some rest for the next day's main event. we were concerned by the fact that the teachers were on strike on certain demands and they didn't like the students participating in the tech festival!

In spite of all that drama, it turned out next day that the talk was well attended. We got the biggest auditorium they had. Around 100 students attended the talk. Nishanth later told me that if it had not been for the teachers' strike, the hall would have been full with around 400 students.

The topic was "Java and Database Connectivity". It was a workshop scheduled for 3 hours between 3pm to 6pm. There was lot of enthusiasm among students. I knew students were excited and looking forward for the talk from such a well known and reputed company Sun microsystems. So I knew I had to keep them engaged, keep the session interactive and alive given it was going to be a long session.

I used the opportunity to introduce them to highlevel database models such as Hierarchical, Network, Relational and Object-Relational. Then I got into the details of JDBC starting with 4 types of JDBC drivers and so on. I encouraged them to ask questions as the talk progressed without waiting until the end. There were lots of questions, so I knew they were not sleeping. They seemed to be enjoying the session thouroghly and so did I. After the talk, I showed them a demo of JavaDB and simple JDBC program. I used Netbeans IDE. So it was a good thing for them to see JavaDB and Netbeans both in action. I also encouraged them to explore the whole world of opensource and also other databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. The reason for me to choose JavaDB for the demo was-- it was easily available and the easiest to setup and kickstart learning.

Then we had a written quiz of around 35 objective type questions. The students were given 30 minutes to answer them. Most questions should have simple after attending the session but some of them were quite tricky. At the end, I went over the questions, asked the audience for the answer for each question and explained the answers especially for the ones which were not so obvious.

After the talk, I got to chat with many students. Being from reputed institute, they looked sincere and enthusiastic. A second year student, who had just finished their DBMS course on their 4th semester, thanked me for the talk and he said it was excellent and he never knew there is so much to databases. The feedback I got from other students were similar. I felt I have helped stimulate some interests among atleast some of those students in opensource databases and sun technologies. That's was just what I was hoping for at the moment.

On the way back, I took the flight next morning to Kolkata and hired a taxi and went around. It was my first trip inside Kolkata and I was glad to see that the main city was fairly clean with broad roads inspite of many remarks I have heard about the city being dirty and so on. I went around the suburbs as well, which was congested but no better or no worse than many other cities I have seen in India. I saw ganga riverside, Victoria hall, howra bridge, Chowringee Road (main shopping market area) and most of city's main roads.

When I boarded the Indian Airlines flight at 8:00pm to Bangalore, the air hostess welcomed me with a smile and I could not resist a smile in return. After all, it was a great trip.




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