May 122016
 

For the past few years I’ve had the annual goal of attending a SQL Saturday in a location that’s totally new to me. For 2016, that new place is Maine. The closest I’ve ever gotten to there is Boston, so I’m really looking forward to this trip and honored to be among the presenters at SQL Saturday Maine 2016!

I’ll be giving my talk entitled “Introduction to SQL Server Encryption”, the same one I delivered in Madison earlier this year and went quite well. If your organization is investigating deploying any of SQL Server’s encryption features, this is the session for you! Please bring your questions and I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

If you still haven’t signed up for SQL Saturday in Portland, Maine, there’s still spots available as of when this post went live. The organizing team has built an amazing schedule, and it’s sure to be a great day of education and networking!

May 102016
 

I’ve loved using Redgate’s tools ever since I discovered what they were, and now that I’m a Friend of Redgate it’s even more fun because I get to give feedback to their developers and hear all about what’s coming out in new releases! Recently, Redgate announced SQL Prompt 7.2, with a bunch of new features and improvements. My personal favorite of all these is execution warnings.

Databases (and computers in general) have this pesky habit of always doing exactly what we tell them to do, instead of doing what we really meant to tell them to do. Have you ever been burned by running a query without the WHERE clause? Perhaps you ended up updating or deleting ALL the rows in a table instead of just a few? A common way to reduce the risk of this is to run those commands inside a transaction, and if you see an abnormally high number of rows affected, it’s simple to rollback. This works great, until you’re in a hurry and forget to run BEGIN TRAN, greatly upping the chances of disaster. Now in SQL Prompt 7.2 you have an added layer of protection – the tool is watching your queries and can warn you! Check it out in action:

If I try to update my table of important data and don’t specify a WHERE clause, I’ll see the following:

The same happens for deletes:

And I think it’s great that I have the option of checking the box and not showing that warning again, but I definitely won’t be doing that.

A lot of times it’s the little things that really make a difference, and I think these warnings are a simple and unobtrusive way to make sure you really meant to run what you typed.

Mar 222016
 

This post took me a little longer to put together than it should have, but seeing as how I now have a two week old son at home, time is a little harder to come by these days! My T-SQL Tuesday topic ended up attracting 4 excellent responses, which I’m very happy to recap.

The first post was from Rob Farley (@rob_farley). Rob has some great insights into text search, but not full-text search. (That’s perfectly fine, I left the topic open on purpose and never intended for it to be limited to full-text search.) He tells us all about how collation can affect text searches and can greatly influence your results. Collation matters, folks! If you don’t believe me, try Rob’s example and you’ll see that he’s not joking. Rob finishes up talking about how indexes and collation can affect columns included in the GROUP BY clause, and includes a great tidbit on how collation can necessitate transformation of text when calculating hash values.

Next was Kenneth Fisher (@sqlstudent144). He walks us through the query in the header of his blog, which does a bit of text manipulation to create a hidden subtitle. I’ll admit I’ve never tried running that query myself, but the results sure are nifty. Good work, Sir!

Anders Pedersen (@arrowdriverolled his own full-text search back in the days before SQL Server supported it. Sounds simple and effective, and if it worked for the business, that’s all that matters, right?

Last, but certainly not least, is Jon Morisi. Jon tells us about his experiences with full-text search in terms of migration, and how recent developments in Azure sound most interesting to him. He is hopeful for the future.

So that’s T-SQL Tuesday for this month. Thanks to Rob, Kenneth, Anders, and Jon for posting, and to everyone else for reading our work. Thank you to Adam Machanic for dreaming up the idea for this a mere 76 months ago. If you’d like a complete listing of all 76 (and counting!) T-SQL Tuesday topics, Steve Jones has been kind enough to compile one.

See you next month!

Mar 112016
 

Recently, PASS Immediate Past President Tom LaRock posted on the PASS blog about changes to the process by which members of the PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom) are chosen.

Previously, NomCom membership has been an elected position, which has necessitated another election each year prior to the PASS Board of Directors election. I very much agree that this generates “additional noise” in the PASS election cycle, and could also contribute to lower voter turnout during the Board of Directors election. There apparently is also a perception that the NomCom is seen as “a private club”. I can’t say I’ve ever felt that way myself, but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

As a result, Tom has proposed the following changes:

  • Replacing the NomCom election with appointments by the Board of Directors; anyone can apply for consideration
  • New guidelines for the composition of the NomCom
  • Term limits: No NomCom member can serve more than three consecutive years

Personally, I agree with these changes. The NomCom serves an important purpose, but I’m not sure it warrants its own election. I think these changes will help PASS in the future, especially if voter turnout increases for the board election.

For more details, check out the blog post. Tom says these proposed changes are up for a board vote at the March 10 meeting, and there will be a town hall meeting on March 17 to discuss these changes as well as the upcoming 2016 elections.

UPDATE (16 March 2016): The proposed changes have been approved. Those wishing to be considered for the 2016 NomCom can submit letters of interest until Wednesday, 23 March 2016.

 

Feb 292016
 

I’m so happy to once again be hosting T-SQL Tuesday. If you’re not familiar, T-SQL Tuesday is a blogging party hosted by a different person each month. It’s a creation of Adam Machanic, and it’s been going on for over 6 years now! Basically the host selects a topic, defines the rules, and then everyone else blogs about it. Once everyone’s done, I’ll summarize each of the submitted posts here on my site.

The Topic

This month, I’d like to talk about text, particularly searching and processing it. Many systems contain large amounts of text in one way or another. Often, that text ends up being stored in a database, and SQL Server has offered Full-Text Search for quite a while now to handle such usage cases. But that’s only a small part of the story.

If you’re using SQL Server Full-Text Search, I’d love to hear from you. But I’d also love to hear from anyone using any other kind of text searching or processing methods. Maybe your organization previously used SQL Server Full-Text Search but you’ve since moved to a different application. Maybe you have a tale of success or woe from a previous job. Maybe you don’t let any of your text search operations touch a relational database with a 10-foot pole. Whatever your story is, I hope you’ll please consider sharing it with us all on Tuesday, March 8.

The Rules

There’s only a few rules for T-SQL Tuesday:

  • Your post must be published between 00:00 GMT Tuesday March 8 2016 and 00:00 GMT Wednesday March 9 2016.
  • Your post must contain the T-SQL Tuesday logo (see above) at the top and the image must link back to this blog post.
  • Trackbacks should work, but if they don’t, please put a link to your post in the comments section so I (and everyone else) can see your contribution!

There’s also a few optional you can do that might help:

  • Include “T-SQL Tuesday #76” in your blog post’s title.
  • Tweet about your post using the #tsql2sday hashtag
  • Contact Adam Machanic and tell him you’d like to host a T-SQL Tuesday from your blog.

And that’s all there is to it! I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone writes about!