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Denis Gobo

Becoming A Better Programmer In 6 Months: The First 10 days

Here is an update of what I accomplished in the first 10 days


Read the book lifehacker

Read the book Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services

Read 126 pages of Extending SSIS 2005 with Script

Installed PostgreSQL, Python, Eclipse and Django.


Now you may ask yourself how I could have read all these things in 10 days. This is because I have to convert a whole bunch of packages from DTS to SSIS. So I did read a lot at work about SSIS. As you can see I sneaked the Extending SSIS 2005 with Script book in there which was not on my original list. I actually did all the example in that book. SSIS is pretty cool, the only thing which was frustrating (at first) was that you cannot modify a connection string with script like in DTS. However you can use Package Configurations to do that. This is important if you have to import a daily Excel file with a different filename every day. So as your first step in your package you just update the configuration table. Here is a small example

DECLARE @i char(8)


UPDATE dbo.[SSIS_Configurations] SET ConfiguredValue = 'E:\SSISExcel\ida' + @i + '.csv'

WHERE ConfigurationFilter ='CSV' AND PackagePath ='\Package.Connections[FlatFileCSV].Properties[ConnectionString]'


I will write a blogpost with more details and screenshots within the next couple of days.


I though the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services book was pretty good. I saw some mixed reviews on Amazon but I do not agree with that at all. The book is well organized, easy to read and the examples are easy to follow. I recommend this book to anyone who has to learn SSIS.


Another book I read is lifehacker, this books shows hacks that you can use to improve your technical life. One of the hacks that I have implemented is the JunkDraw hack. You create a folder called JunkDraw, this is where you save all your downloaded content. Then there is the VB Script which is scheduled to run once a day and deletes all the files which are older than 2 weeks from this folder. So if you downloaded something and you did not move it from the folder it will be gone. How many files/apps/trial/beta apps have you downloaded, moved to a folder and never looked at again? Exactly this will prevent that kind of clutter.


I mentioned that I would like to learn a new language, so I went a little overboard because in addition to a  
new language I have also chosen a new database and a framework. The language is Python which was created by Guido van Rossum. Python is a scripting language and pretty popular among the FLOSS guys/girls. This of course will prepare me to play around with IronPython and the DLR once that is finalized. The DB I picked is PostgreSQL, I have chosen PostgreSQL instead of MySQL because I just can’t install a DB where you can enter invalid days. Another reason is that PostgreSQL is recommended with the framework that I picked. I picked Django over TurboGears and Ruby on Rails because I have heard some good things about it, one of them being performance. So last Sunday 5AM I installed PostgreSQL, Django, Python, Eclipse and the Eclipse Python plugin Pydev on a windows box and got the initial setup to work.


I will keep you posted on my progress once every 10 days but so far it is going good ;-)

Here is the link to the original Become a Better Developer... in 6 months article

Published Wednesday, July 25, 2007 3:26 PM by Denis Gobo



Adam Machanic said:

Actually, you CAN modify a connection string with script.  Lara Rubbelke showed me how last year.  Set up a connection manager that you want to modify, then set up a script task and you can use code like:

   Public Sub Main()

       Dim sqlInst As String = CStr(Dts.Variables("SQLInstance").Value).Trim

       Dim db As String = CStr(Dts.Variables("DatabaseName").Value).Trim

       Dts.Connections("Source").ConnectionString = "Data Source=" + sqlInst + _

               ";Provider=SQLNCLI.1;Integrated Security=SSPI;Initial Catalog=" + db

       Dts.TaskResult = Dts.Results.Success

   End Sub

... where SQLInstance is a variable containing your instance name, DatabaseName is a variable containing your database name, and Source is the connection manager you're working with.

July 25, 2007 3:20 PM

Denis Gobo said:

Thanks, I will try that out tomorrow, have to go home now or I will go over my 7 hour union day  ;-)

July 25, 2007 3:23 PM

Adam Machanic said:

BTW, Python is so out ... Ruby is where it's at <g>

July 25, 2007 3:23 PM

Jamie Thomson said:


You should check out using expressions to dynamically change your connection strings. Very nifty indeed.

That's not to say configurations are not necassary - just depends on your scenario.

There shouldn't ever be a need to change your connection strings using script (not that i can think of anyway).


July 25, 2007 6:06 PM

Denis Gobo said:

Adam, the script works

Dts.Connections("FlatFileCSV").ConnectionString = "E:\SSISExcel\ida20070725.csv"

Of course I will make that a variable, this was just a test


July 26, 2007 8:49 AM

Denis Gobo said:

>>BTW, Python is so out ... Ruby is where it's at <g>

Adam I don't know if you are on Facebook or not but Facebook has a .NET Dynamic Languages Group

Here is the URL:  

Some members you might know/heard of

Miguel De Icaza

Scott Hanselman

John Lam


July 26, 2007 8:50 AM

Adam Machanic said:

I thought Facebook was only for college students ... Apparently I need to take a look at what it actually is :)

July 26, 2007 8:57 AM

Denis Gobo said:

Here is an update of what I accomplished in the first 20 days Read the book lifehacker Read the book

August 6, 2007 11:14 AM
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About Denis Gobo

I was born in Croatia in 1970, when I was one I moved to Amsterdam (and yes Ajax is THE team in Holland) and finally in 1993 I came to the US. I have lived in New York City for a bunch of years and currently live in Princeton, New Jersey with my wife and 3 kids. I work for Dow Jones as a Database architect in the indexes department, one drawback: since our data goes back all the way to May 1896 I cannot use smalldates ;-( I have been working with SQL server since version 6.5 and compared to all the other bloggers here I am a n00b. Some of you might know me from or even from some of the newsgroups where I go by the name Denis the SQL Menace If you are a Tek-Tips user then you might know me by the name SQLDenis, I am one of the guys answering SQL Questions in the SQL Programming forum.

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