Monthly Archives: September 2012

What I Learned At SQL Saturday #169

The past weekend I was fortunate to again attend SQL Saturday down in Denver, Colorado.

I know I say this about every SQL Saturday I attend, but the event was just awesome. For those that don’t know what a SQL Saturday is here’s a snippet from their website:

PASS SQLSaturday’s are free 1-day training events for SQL Server professionals that focus on local speakers, providing a variety of high-quality technical sessions, and making it all happen through the efforts of volunteers.

As usual there always seems to be an underlying theme when I go. Here’s my take-aways.

Everyone Screws Up

Oddly enough this year the key thing I learned was everyone screws up. Speakers, DBA’s, Developers, etc.

While there wasn’t a screw up in any of the talks (that I was aware of) the idea is that everyone makes mistakes in I.T. no matter how much of a big shot they are. Be it dropping production databases by mistake, deploying the wrong code, etc.

The great thing about screw ups is you learn from them (boy do you learn from some of them). In one of the talks I attended the speaker talked about when they first started being a DBA and how they accidentally pulled too many drives on this shiny new thing called RAID. They ended up being fired even though the manager was party to the action. The manager even went so far as saying they “regretted hiring them”. Fast forward to present day, the speaker is planning on sending them a copy of their new SQL Server book.

The point with this is it’s not how you screwed up so much as how you handle the fix. Dwelling on the screw up helps no one, especially in the heat of the fix, it’s counter-productive. There’s time enough after the fact to meet and discuss how it can be handled next time. So many managers mishandle this in my opinion and end up losing out in the long run.

What’s Old Is New Again

Another thing I learned this year is technology is indeed going full circle. Another example is Windows Server 2012 Server Core. I found it hard not to draw comparisons to Linux (however different) and how that was probably a big model for PowerShell and creating a headless Windows Server. About time I say, but I will admit I have partaken somewhat of the Linux/Unix Kool-Aid.

Other Stuff

Other things I learned were tips for interviewing, new features in T-SQL for 2012, and the methodology of approaching something like how backups work and how to tune them.

Thanks Guys/Gals

I can’t say this enough if there is SQL Saturday in your area sign up! Even if you aren’t a DBA full time I promise you will get something out of it. I’d like to thank the speakers for their time and research, the sponsors for making the event possible, and the organizers for their effort in making this another success.

Thanks Again For An Awesome Event! J

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So You Want To Learn JavaScript?

JavaScript is definitely the “hot” old language with a new spin. With Microsoft betting on JavaScript with Windows 8 and their WinRT platform architecture now it probably a good time to start learning it.

So where do you begin?

A couple key starters are books. Two highly recommended books are:

JavaScript BooksJavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan – a must have for your bookshelf
JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford – short and to the point. Excellent read.

I would caution that quite a few books out there (5,182 results for “JavaScript” on Amazon) are actually bad. I’ve seen quite a few that don’t have best practices in mind and don’t key in on critical performance issues or security. So be careful when choose other titles. It helps to read the reviews.

So, to begin your journey I would say read (at least) most if not all of the JavaScript: The Definitive Guide. I find reading it all the way through and then revisiting it by actually coding along is helpful for me.
Your way of learning may be different of course.

Pointers:

  1. JQuery. Remember the first Predator movie? Remember when that guy with the big gun first saw the Predator and then basically mowed down the entire jungle? Don’t mow down the jungle with JQuery unless you need to. JQuery is a great tool and it can solve some hard problems pretty quickly. However I encourage you to crawl before you can walk by actually learning JavaScript itself first. Many problems or tasks you might want to use JQuery for can easily be accomplished with Vanilla JavaScript (VanillaJS) garnering much better performance.
  2. Learn how to manipulate the DOM with getElementById and other “selectors”. This is half of everything you will do with JavaScript so learn them well.
  3. Learn how to make it object oriented for performance and readability. You’ll thank yourself later when you have to revisit old code.
  4. Keep it organized. Don’t be afraid to pull it out of the page and put it in its own file. This is a cleaner way of doing things and makes it easier to revisit (like #3).
  5. Put your script tags on the bottom of the page. JavaScript will hog the browser download and parsing stream and will block regular content (images, css, html) from rendering until it’s done. By putting the script tags at the bottom of your page you allow the page to render quicker for your users.

If you have other words of advice for newbies please post your comments.

Happy JavaScripting!

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