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Jamie Thomson

This is the blog of Jamie Thomson, a data mangler in London working for Dunnhumby

Reflections on SQLBits XI

Its been a couple of weeks since SQLBits XI happened in Nottingham and I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts for posterity.

First the venue. I think its fair to say that the overall consensus was that the East Midlands Conference Centre was the best SQLBits venue these has been so far – I’ve been to more than half of them and based on my experience I would agree with that sentiment. The hotel especially was top quality – I was pleased with my room and the breakfasts were way better than the Travelodge standards I’ve become accustomed to at such events. Perhaps the great weather over the weekend helped lift the spirits but I’d say the bar has been set high, I hope future SQLBits conferences are at similar standard venues.

You may have noticed that many of my blog posts over the past year have been related to SSDT and my SQLBits sessions this time around followed that trend. I delivered a session on the Friday, jointly with Craig Ottley-Thistlethwaite, entitled “Real World SDDT” and also delivered my first ever day-long pre-conference seminar on the Thursday entitled “SSDT Database Projects from the ground up”. Delivering a pre-con was slightly petrifying and I spent a large part of the three months previous preparing for it; I hope it was worth it. I had 30 attendees which I was delighted with (especially given this was my first pre-con) and we established that the furthest anyone travelled was from Romania, though I’ll assume it wasn’t just so he could come to my pre-con Smile. I had some pleasant feedback via Twitter afterwards from some of the attendees and I’m crossing my fingers that the official feedback is in a similar vein.

The session I did with Craig went fairly well I thought. I did the first 30minutes where I covered the basics of SSDT deployment from a high level before Craig ratcheted the complexity up a few notches by demoing some interaction between SSDT, MSBuild & Git – really great stuff for those who like to get into the nuts and bolts of this stuff. I was delighted that Craig was willing to do the session with me (in fact it was his idea) as this was his debut public speaking gig and I’m hoping its given him the desire to do more in the future.

On the Saturday my wife’s uncle, John Milne, came to the conference. John has been working in customer service for years but of late has decided that he wants a change of career and to that end has been studying an Open University course in IT. He told me he had particularly enjoyed the database-focused modules of his course and hence I suggested he come to the free Saturday of SQLBits to try and get a flavour of what the industry is all about and perhaps learn about some real-world experiences to add to his academic travails. By the end of the day John told me he’s had a fantastic time, learned a lot, and was hooked. Mission accomplished I’d say. John lives in Leeds so I introduced him to Chris Testa-O’Neill who helps to run the Leeds user group and John should be going along to some user group events in the near future – if you happen to meet him there please welcome him into the fold!

All that remains for me to say is a massive thank you to the SQLBits committee who do such an amazing job, all voluntarily, in putting this all together. Thank you Simon Sabin, James Rowland-Jones, Chris Webb, Darren Green, Allan Mitchell, Tim Kent, Chris Testa-O’Neill & Martin Bell. I also want to thank all of the volunteer SQLBits helpers that worked tirelessly on the weekend to make sure the whole thing ran smoothly.

Bring on SQLBits XII!


Published Friday, May 17, 2013 12:03 AM by jamiet
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Allan Mitchell said:

Thanks Jamie.  It's good to know our effort is worth it.

May 17, 2013 2:18 AM

Arthur Olcot said:

Although i have only been to two SQLBits, I too agree that the venue and hotel was top notch.. I loved the hotel room, breakfast and grounds. So cheap in comparison as well. only complaint was that the hotel bar was a bit slow to get served at. The venue itself was great. loads of space, tables and a seemingly endless supply of refreshments during the day. I know that SQLBits likes to move around the country, but to be honest, I'd be more than happy to go back to Nottingham!.. Already looking forward to XII!! Really enjoyed yours and craigs session on SSDT.. Thank you!...

May 17, 2013 3:18 PM

KKline said:

I have to add that I had great fun teasing you in the SQL Trivia bowl on Saturday.  ;^)

May 29, 2013 12:39 PM

jamiet said:

grrr, one day Kline, one day ....I shall exact my revenge :)

May 29, 2013 3:31 PM

Simon Peacock said:

Hello Jamie.  I managed to catch your "Real World SSDT" session on the Friday at SQL Bits and it was very helpful as we were looking at upgrading to SSDT.  We're in the process of doing it now but I've got one question.  Do you have a preference over using MSBuild.exe or sqlpackage.exe to build and publish projects?  We've got build definitions in TFS that deploy both our DB and .Net code and run a load of unit tests.  We've managed to set one up using MSBuild and one using sqlpackage and there doesn't seem to be much difference in the publish time.  Do you know of any features available in one of them that make it a better choice than the other?  

June 4, 2013 7:06 AM

jamiet said:

Hi Simon,

I don't really have a preference, no. I haven't actively used the msbuild option myself but I did look into it when I was preparing my SQLBits material and I have to say it did look quite appealing - especially if you're using msbuild already.

I'm afraid I'm not going to say much here that will sway you either way - I don't know of any advantage that one has over the other.

One other quick comment. You said above "Do you have a preference over using MSBuild.exe or sqlpackage.exe to build and publish projects" be aware that sqlpackage.exe cannot be used to build SSDT project, only to publish the dacpacs that get output from an SSDT project build.



June 4, 2013 7:55 AM

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