Category: Community

It’s MemeMonday : What SQLFamily means to you.

Everyone has a family. Only the lucky few (comparitively) have a #sqlfamily. It’s a great way to think of the people we interact with. Some a cool, some are annoying, but all of them bring their own thoughts and experiences.

I’ve not been actively taking part of the SQL community for long, only the past 6 months or so. Before that i was mainly involved with the UK developer community, and when I say involved, I mean attended events. My developer skills were nowhere near good enough to keep up with the likes of Jon Skeet, or many of the other great community-developers.

I’m hoping to become a more active member of the SQL community in the UK, as I go through the SQL MCM certification. I’ve already made a few friends in there, and am starting to feel confident enough to do presentations on SQL Server topics. Even started to do presentations on it internally at work. Maybe that makes me the annoying cousin who tries to hard? That’ll have to be for someone else to decide. 🙂

I’m writing this, sitting in a Starbucks at London Heathrow, on the way to the SQL Rally Nordic event in Stockholm, where I’ll be able to meet some more #SQLFamily members. Mostly the cool uncles & aunts. it’s shaping up to be a great event.

What does SQLFamily mean to me? I love you guys, and appreciate the openness and way everyone is so willing to share their knowledge. Thank you!


imageThese are the sessions I’m planning on ‘virtually’ attending at the 24 Hours of PASS event today and tomorrow (7th-8th Sept 2011). I’m planning on adding to this post to give thoughts after the sessions.

Session 02 – Start time 13:00 GMT on Sept 7
SAN Basics for DBAs
Presenter: Brent Ozar

Session 03 – Start time 14:00 GMT on Sept 7
Diving Into Extended Events
Presenter: Jonathan Kehayias

Session 05 – Start time 16:00 GMT on Sept 7
Why PowerShell?
Presenter: Aaron Nelson

Session 10 – Start time 21:00 GMT on Sept 7
Secrets of the SQLOS – Leveraging Microsoft SQL Server Internal Operating System for Improved Scalability and Performance
Presenter: Maciej Pilecki

Session 11 – Start time 22:00 GMT on Sept 7
Hardware 301: Diving Deeper into Database Hardware
Presenter: Glenn Berry

Would have liked to see Grant Fritchey presenting Execution plans, but that’d be finishing at 1am in the UK, and that’s too late..

Session 13 – Start time 12:00 GMT on Sept 8
Zero to Cube – Fast Track to SSAS Development
Presenter: Adam Jorgensen

Session 15 – Start time 14:00 GMT on Sept 8
Disaster Recovery Is Not Just About Technology
Presenter: Edwin Sarmiento

Session 18 – Start time 17:00 GMT on Sept 8
Baseline Basics or: Who Broke the Database
Presenter: Adam Machanic

Session 22 – Start time 21:00 GMT on Sept 8
Important Trace Flags That Every DBA Should Know
Presenter: Victor Isakov

Session 23 – Start time 22:00 GMT on Sept 8
Policy-Based Management in a Nutshell
Presenter: Jorge Segarra

DDD9 – My thoughts

On Saturday, it was DDD9 ( For me, and a lot of feedback I’ve seen on Twitter, it was the best DDD yet. There were six sessions over four tracks, covering a wide range of topics and there seems to be a pretty good turn out.

First, great thanks to the DDD team for organising the event, and to the presenters.

The sessions I attended were:

Collections Deep Dive by @GaryShort
This was a really good session, and very deep (you got that from the title, right?). As session 1 it was a good start to the day. It was a debate I had with myself as to attend this session, or the Async session by @WestleyL. I went for this one, as it was something I could use straight away (since Async is still based on a CTP).

Gary covered the collections that are part of .NET 4, which, for me, was really useful, since I’ve not used the majority of them (as I primarily am working on legacy .NET 2 apps at the moment).

Real World NHibernate, Fluent NHibernate and Castle Windsor by @ChrisCanal
This was a good session too, and covered how these three projects were used in an MVC app. For me, it could’ve done with an overview slide or two, however it covered a lot of technical content well.

Functional Alchemy by @MarkRendle
This was the best session of the day for me. Mark was a great presenter, and really covered everything well. Highly summarised, it covered how to do functional programming in C#. This was interesting as it helped me to understand how I could change the code I’d written to be better, and be DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself)

Next we had lunch (Usual DDD sandwiches, crisps, fruit, Twix. 🙂 ), followed by a few grok talks.

The three grok talks (fewer to support the shorter lunch, to allow for more sessions. The sessions were on Creating data visualisation in Silverlight using Silverlight, Visio, and SharePoint 2010 with Dave McMahon (SharePoint MVP), CUDA (with @RobAshton) and a session on IronRuby. The CUDA session was good in that it covered how programming against the GPU works, though at present, it’s using another version of C (nVidia C) to program it. However, at some point, I’m sure there’ll be an API to support GPU processing in C#.

SOLID code with @NathanGloyn
This was an interesting session , as it covered the basics of Agile programming using the SOLID principles, as defined by Robert C. Martin (@UncleBob). The book (Agile Principles, Patterns and Practices in C#) that covers these principle has been on my reading list for a while, and following this session it should move up a bit.

Enforcing Code Beauty with StyleCop by @GuySmithFerrier
This session covered how StyleCop works with Visual studio, what it can be used to achieve, and how it can be modified to suit your needs. I’ve recently started to use this, through CodeRush (with @RoryBecker’s CR_StyleNinja addin). An interesting session, and covered a lot, and as always, well presented by Guy (who, of course, mentioned Internationalisation (i18n) a few times 😉 ).

Introducing PowerShell with @JimmyBoo
Something that has been on my ‘list of tools to learn better’ for a while, it seemed like a good choice. James’ session covered the basics, including what you can do, GUI’s you can use, and how you can use the features of PowerShell to pipe the outputs of one function to the input of another. An interesting session, but it could’ve done with being a little more technical, or having some code to cover creating a PowerShell function (though, that’d then not be an Introduction…) Good session though.

All in all a great day, and covered a lot of topics. As I said, the best session for me was the @MarkRendle Functional alchemy session, closely followed by @GaryShort

What’s Next?
Next up for me is SQLbits 8 in April, and hopefully, followed by DDDSW3 in June. I don’t imagine I’ll be attending DDDScot this year due to other commitments.

Personal Kanban

Since attending the #DDD8 Community Event at Microsoft in Reading, on 30th January, I’ve started using Kanban more. I was delighted to see that there is a plugin for Fogbugz, which I’m using to track tasks. This integration has made it possible for me to easily see what I’m working on, and the number of tasks that are waiting for me to complete.

I’ve also started looking at AgileZen, which is another Kanban system, and allows me to track tasks in a similar manner. I’m using this to track personal tasks (such as Exam revision(70-431 – Sql Server implementation) , and prep for the DevEvening session I’m taking part in!).

DDD8 – My thoughts..

Yesterday was DDD8, and was a highly enjoyable event.

There were a number of sessions which I attended, though for me, the most enjoyable was @blowdart‘s, mainly because it was an interesting subject, and had numerous interruptions (it was Barry’s last presentation before he’s indoctrinated to the mothership in Seattle).


The first session I attended was Richard Hopton‘s ‘Test Driven Development to save time, money and your sanity’. It covered the basics of TDD, including using MSTest, which I’ve never used (I went straight to nUnit following a presentation by someone at Devevening). Was a good session, and it’s always good seeing different peoples take on TDD. Blog link.

Next I went to Liam Wesley‘s ‘Commercial Software Development’ session. This one discussed how his experiences of 20+ years of software development have given him insights into how not to go bust. Really interesting session, and covered alot of things that we could use for our company.  Blog link

The next session up was Jon Skeet‘s session on C#4. This covered alot of new features that’ll be in .Net 4. A very interesting session, that was streamed online, so I imagine, it’ll be as a video on the net at some point (hopefully!)

Lunch was next, and during that I got a book signed by blowdart, followed by the Grok talks, which were really interesting (though loudspeaker problems, and lack of space, despite being in a bigger location (B4 Atrium) ). Grok talks I saw were on Coderush Express (Very interesting and need to sort out my Coderush licence before the trial expires…) and a very interesting one on Personal Kanban by Chris Browne which I’m certainly going to look at.

The next session was on Entity Framework, with Simon Sabin. This was a good talk, and for me, helped clarify a few things on queries, and what EF can do, but didn’t go into as much detail as I’d have liked, however, did get me interested enough to have a look at it last night….. Blog link.

The final session was Barry’s Developers guide to encryption. It was an interesting session, and I’m sure I’ve seen it before (though not sure how, given it was a new session ) , but it was an interesting session, and it’s a topic that has managed to keep my interest over the years. There were numerous interruptions during the talk which only helped everyone’s enjoyment.

A great DDD8, and well done to the DDD Team!


Very excited this week, because there’s lots of fun developer stuff going on.

On Thursday, there’s DevEvening, and that’s going to be covering Git (heard of, but never used), PowerShell (used a while ago) and SharePoint 2010. Am quite keen on seeing what SharePoint 2010 has to offer, as I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing fun stuff with it at some point soon. Not to mention, I’ll be upgrading my SharePoint Certifications to it too.

I’m also going to be doing a short presentation at next months DevEvening, and talking about Telerik’s OpenAccess ORM, as part of the ORM Showdown.

Then, this coming Saturday, it’s DDD8! That’s really exciting. It’s been a long time since there was a Dev Event to attend (on this scale, DevEvening is most months… 😉 ), and it looks to have a load of interesting sessions, so I’ll need to see what I fancy attending. Probably the Entity Framework one, C#4 and @blowdart’s encryption one.

In a few months time, we’ve got DDD Scotland too, though whether I’ll get to that remains to be seen (we’ll have a 2 month old at that point…)

If you’re at any of these, then see you there!