March 24, 2011
Back in the (blogging) Saddle
This blog is all about learning, and recording things that I have learned. The thing I learned most recently is that I have been remiss in recording what I have learned. Mostly through the lack of time that has been my bane for months, but also because of the high level of interest I have had in what I have been learning, and for a SQL Server DBA, it’s a strange thing – it’s .NET!
Let me work backwards through time. I will be a bit brief, because, once again, lack of time is creeping up on me (it’s nearly midnight as I write this, and I need to be up in the morning.) This past weekend, I attended, and spoke at, SQL Saturday #70. I have been to quite a few of these events in the last couple of years, and they always recharge my batteries, so to speak.
I won’t go into session by session detail about the event, but I will say it was one of the more well run SQL Saturday’s I have been to, with an as usual for SQL Saturday stellar lineup of speakers (aside from your humble author, of course) people like Andy Leonard, Julie Smith, Jessica Moss, and those are just the BI track folks. I spoke at some length with several people at the Speaker dinner and the actual event. One man, Brian K McDonald, said to me, if you’re going to get anywhere in this business, you have to blog, blog often, and blog more. Along with the general battery charge mentioned, that was the impetus for me to dust off my WordPress password and get back out here :)
Like I said, briefly and going backwards in time, the .NET learning I have been subjecting myself to is the result of a huge project given to me at my place of work. While I am the DBA there, I am also sort of a jack of all trades, dabbling in mechanical Quality issues, training, SQL Server, and Office programming. We have Office 2003 there, still, and, if you’ve ever done any programming with that version, maybe you know what a bear it is.
The project is to take our paper work instructions, and create a paperless work instruction delivery system. So far, I have written a VB.NET program do deconstruct our Word 2003 instructions into their constituent main body text and what Office calls Shapes (all the Textboxes, Callouts, Pictures, etc.) get them into a memory stream of XML, and then get that resultant XML into a SQL Server database. Then I wrote another program that takes a part number and station ID, and displays the correct page(s) of work instruction for that station. It’s not done yet, right now I display everything except the callout lines, and I hope to have that going tomorrow. After I get that, I will wrap it all up into a WCF Service and Client set of programs so that I can have the service running on our server and get Thin Clients at each workstation to display the instructions.
Brief, as I said, but I hope you get a sense of how big this thing has been, how much of my time it has taken. All of this is to, in my own way, apologize for not being around much these last couple of months. I know some of you asked, after the first few weeks, why I wasn’t blogging, and I know I was letting some folks down. I am sorry. I have several blog posts lined up describing in more detail what I have learned in my .NET adventure, and how it relates to SQL Server, how I have built the database and what stored procedures and whatnot I am writing for it, both for my own documentation and, hopefully, your interest.
Thanks, and I hope to see you around here more, as I plan on being around here more!