Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Code Library - an introdution

In my progression from novice programmer to seasoned DBA, I have had cause to touch just about every part of the SQL Server arsenal. 
I haven't generally worked for large multi-national corporations with IT budgets to match, so I've had to meet most database challenges with the out-of-the-box SQL Server tools provided by Microsoft.  This has often meant getting down and dirty in the system tables to find creative(and free) ways of meeting business and IT requirements.
I've had a lot of help from 'the community' along the way, and it's good to know that some of the DB (and infrastructure)  systems I've helped build are still operational 10 years later.

I owe part of my ongoing success to the early realisation that I have a personal characteristic that is both a strength and a weakness - I hate doing things twice.  This leads me to ask a large number of detailed questions when presented with a challenge (this is where the weakness part comes in - sometimes I can ask too many questions) so that I can produce a solution that not only delivers what is required, but which is both scalable and modular enough to deliver to next weeks and next months revised requirements.

This characteristic, combined with a DBAs natural reluctance to throw anything away, has led me to keep an extensive library of code samples.  Some are self-contained and generic enough to use as-is, but some may require some re-engineering to be of use, or may just serve as an indicator of what can be achieved.

Up to this point, this code library has been usable only by those with whom I have direct contact.  I've now decided it is long past time to publish for the use of everyone.

As stated in my initial blog post 'Hello World', my diligence in recording the source of each idea has not always been good, but then when I started the collection, blogs didn't exist, and personal web sites were few and far between.  Therefore, most of the code included has no author attribution (aside from those parts that originated with me).  Apologies to the original authors - no plagiarism was intended.

While the Google Blogger offering is excellent, I'm sure there are limits to how many additional pages of information I can add, and the page layout functions are more limited than I would like too (although initially the content will be fairly straightforward).  I have therefore invested in a more mainstream web site, again hosted by Google.  The Code Library tab will contain the master list of all code samples, but the links all redirect to the web site.  Alternatively, you can go direct to www.chilledsql.com

Have fun.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hello World

After many years of lurking on this new-fangled inter-web thingy, I've finally been shamed into doing what I've always promised to do by my wife, who has delighted in showing me just how easy it is to start up a blog.

I've been a SQL Server DBA now for 16 years (14 in the commercial world and 2 in the RAF), preceded by 2 years developing a Turbo Pascal performance calculator for the Harrier (AV8B) aircraft which ran under DOS6.  Prior to that, I was fairly active in the hobby computing world (Sinclair ZX80, C64, Amiga).  I was even involved in the computer club in school 34 years ago - using a Research Machines 380Z mini computer with teletype input and cassette and paper tape storage (a fact that I'm still sure helped me to get a job with its manufacturer 20 years later).  Computers are really my second career, with Avionics/Electronics being my first.

Over the years, I've attended many courses and US-based conferences and met lots of very interesting and helpful people, many of whom are still very active in the SQL Server community.  I have learned all I know from the community and it's now time to hopefully pay it forward.

As I have progressed through my career, I've been diligent in keeping track of most of the lessons learned, usually by retaining generic examples of techniques used, but also by augmenting these with tricks and tips picked up from the community.  Unfortunately, this diligence didn't often extend to keeping track of the ultimate source of some of the material.  When I started collecting this information, the concept of blogs didn't exist.

I still intend to collate and list as much as I can over the coming months, and will credit the author where possible.  In no way do I intend to claim credit for the work of others and I will quite happily list credit if someone can identify their code.

Please bear with me, as progress will undoubtedly be slow to start with.
I'm intending to start with smaller parts of my code library, but once I get into the flow, I'd hope to cover some of the projects I've worked on, concentrating more on the methodology and design patterns utilised or discovered along the way

However, if anyone has any requests on what subjects to cover first, just let me know at chillydba@chilledsql.com