Feb 202019
 

With SQLBits coming up quickly (it’s next week!) I wanted to take a few moments to write about what very quickly has become my favorite conference. It’s an awesome experience and I am so grateful that I am able to attend, volunteer, and present there for a second year.

It’s Not PASS Summit

I love PASS Summit – no surprises there. I’ve written many posts about it, why you should attend, and how to prepare for it over the years. But I think it’s really important to point out that SQLBits is not PASS Summit, nor is it organized by PASS in any capacity. It’s a completely separate event, arranged by a tremendous group of dedicated organizers, and it also happens to be Europe’s largest SQL Server conference for data professionals.

SQLBits has a completely different feel than PASS Summit; to me it seems there is a stronger sense of community there. Which I realize is a tall order when PASS Summit is known and marketed as ‘a conference for the community, by the community’. But in some ways, PASS Summit feels “corporate”. And that corporate feeling makes sense, given that Summit is put on by a professional event organizing company. Bits, on the other hand, is put on completely by the community, in the form of a small army of volunteers. And in my opinion, the difference is palpable.

Another aspect that may play a big role in this is the physical layout of the conference. PASS Summit’s venue, the Washington State Convention Center, is enormous, and the conference itself is spread out across multiple different floors spanning two buildings. There’s plenty of places to hide and get lost there. SQLBits, on the other hand, is much more compact. Envision a large, open, exhibition space with rooms for sessions lining the perimeter. The central area is wide open – and not only are all the sponsors located there, but this is the space that everyone mills around in-between sessions. In my opinion the layout alone helps you meet more people, because there’s there’s really no way to avoid them.

SQLBits 2018 as seen from above

The Food

Food at SQLBits is also totally different than any conference I’ve been to. There’s no enormous industrial-sized dining hall hundreds of yards away from sessions and speakers. Instead, the food is placed in the center common area, with the idea that you can grab a bite to eat and mingle. It’s incredibly easy to connect with old friends, make new ones, and speak with sponsors, all while enjoying some great food. Seriously, it’s really good stuff. (And I’m a picky eater, so if I like it you know it has to be good!) There’s zero reasons to leave the event to eat at SQLBits.

The Party

Each SQLBits has a theme, and the organizers do a great job of integrating that theme throughout the conference. And if you didn’t know, there’s a costume party on Friday night that’s kind of a big deal. They really go all-out for this – it’s by far the best conference party I’ve ever been to. This year’s theme is “speakeasy”, so I’m expecting lots of 1920’s gangster attire. I can’t wait!

Volunteer!

If SQLBits sounds like something you would like to experience for yourself, there are a few ways to do that. You of course are welcome to register as an attendee, or to answer the next call for speakers and submit abstracts. Another great way to help this conference work like a finely-tuned machine is to be one of the volunteers I mentioned earlier. It’s an amazing way to meet people and help a wonderful community-run event be the best that it can be.

SQLBits 2018 Volunteers

It’s going to be an amazing week, and I can’t wait to connect with old friends and make new ones in Manchester. I hope to see you there!

Feb 122019
 
Azure Data Studio

Azure Data Studio continues to grow on me. I previously wrote about getting my favorite keyboard shortcuts to work, which made me very happy, but now for a feature I love even more – saving result sets to Excel!

Yes, I know, spreadsheets can be evil. They can even be places where good datasets go to die, but it’s important to remember that they’re a necessary evil. Sometimes you just need a result set in a spreadsheet, whether you want it to be in one or not.

In SQL Server Management Studio, there’s no single-step way to save a result set to Excel. Most commonly I will just copy/paste a result set into a spreadsheet, but depending on the size of the result set and the types of data involved, that doesn’t always play nicely.

But Azure Data Studio does it WAY better, trust me. If you want that result set in a spreadsheet, just save it as one and poof – you have an Excel file!

Try It Yourself!

In Azure Data Studio, query the dataset of your choosing. I’m using my Chicago Parking Tickets database. Once you have your results, look at the icons on the right side of the window.

(click to enlarge)

The second icon from the top will save the entire result set to Excel. Click it, pick a filename and folder to save it to and you’re good to go.

But wait – there’s more!

You can also save a subset of the results directly to Excel. Select the rows, columns, or block of interest (you can click and drag to select within the results!) and then right-click. You’ll get a dialog where you can choose to save the selection:

Whichever method you choose, Azure Data Studio makes it very simple to save results directly to a spreadsheet. Happy querying!

Feb 052019
 

I’m very honored to have one of my PASS Summit sessions chosen for the PASS Data Expert Series, taking place this Thursday, February 7th!

This is an awesome opportunity to see some of the top-rated sessions from this year’s PASS Summit. Included is my session on SQL Server Management Studio, which ended up being the second-best attended session of the entire conference. I will be available to answer any questions that come up during the presentation.

Sound awesome? Register today! I hope to see you there!

Jan 282019
 

We have just under two months to go until SQL Saturday Chicago 2019!

This year we received 148 abstracts from 63 different speakers, and we are very pleased to announce our schedule. Thank you to all who submitted!

I hope to see you on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at Benedictine University in Lisle for what will be a wonderful day of free training, networking, and career development. (Lunch is available for $15.)

We have once again broken our previous record for registration (set last year), and are now at capacity. But fear not! There are still ways you can attend:

Join our waiting list, as spots may open up. As the date nears, people often find they are unable to attend and then cancel their registration. As this occurs, people will be moved off the waiting list in the order that they joined. REGISTER HERE for our waiting list.

Register for a pre-conference session and be guaranteed a spot. We are offering 5 full-day pre-conference sessions on Friday, March 22.
These in-depth workshops are being conducted by experts in their respective fields. Pre-conference registration includes lunch. Additionally, pre-conference attendees can bypass the SQL Saturday waiting list and are guaranteed a spot. You can find out more information and register for pre-conference sessions at the links below:

I hope to see you here in March!

Jan 232019
 

I am very proud and happy to be a Friend of Redgate for a sixth year!

If you’re not familiar with the Friends of Redgate program, we work with the Redgate development and product teams to provide feedback on existing products, new tools, and feature enhancements. You can also find us doing things like speaking at events, writing articles on Redgate tools, and participating on the Redgate forums. Last year, I even got to present at SQL in the City Summit in Chicago as a result of being in this program.

Redgate is a wonderful organization to be associated with. Not only do they make great tools and publish some very helpful books, but they’re also extremely community-oriented. They sponsor many functions such as user group meetings and SQL Saturdays, and also put on their own events, such as SQL in the City Streamed and SQL in the City Summit.

Thank you so much, Redgate. I’m looking forward to another awesome year!