Posted in Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, T-SQL

T-SQL Tuesday #133 – What else have I’ve learned presenting

It’s T-SQL Tuesday! The last one of 2020 in fact so I’m glad I’m able to pull things together to contribute.

Lisa Griffin Bohm (t|b) is hosting this month. Her challenge for us is this:

This month, I’d like those of you who have presented, or written a presentation, to share something technical THAT DID NOT RELATE to the topic of the presentation, that you’ve learned in writing or giving the presentation.

This is a great topic, so thanks for hosting this month, Lisa!

I always try to do a little bit of extra research just to make sure that I am always giving correct information. And you always find some fun things when you do. Like figuring out how to set up change data capture (CDC) or finding the documentation that says you can do a check constraint on a table and not just on columns. These are both things that I haven’t had to work with in my day job. But even knowing a little about the basics helps. When a project came up where CDC was an option, I already knew some of the basics and where to find additional info so I could help contribute to the conversation to see if this would be a path that would work for us.

But the biggest technical thing that I’ve learned is how to use SQL Notebooks. I had seen a bunch of people use them for presentations and I thought they were pretty cool. The last time that I presented my Back to the Basics: T-SQL 101 session for Data Platform Discovery Days, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to test them out. I painstakingly turned each script into its own notebook. (The most latest release would have made my job much easier since you can now just hit a button and have that done for you.) But it made a difference in terms of being able set up clear documentation that people can follow along with later or knowing when my demo ended because I could see the bottom of the code cell. Plus, when someone had a question about different results, I could easily scroll up and show both results side by side without having to rerun each query.

It was this presentation that spurred another session I’ve been giving lately, A Practical Starter’s Guide to SQL Notebooks. My second slide holds the real title and purpose of this session:

I really want to learn how to use SQL Notebooks but I don’t have time to figure it out at work either.

So let’s figure out how to do this stuff together.

To be honest, this is probably the reason for a lot of different blog posts and presentations; the good news is that it doesn’t make them any less valid or true. As I’ve been doing this, I discover more things that I don’t know about SQL Notebooks because everyone has such great questions. There is always more to learn.

And through this session, I started paying attention to my personal Git project. I had started the project with the hopes that I could use it as a code repository for my blog projects. But I turned it into a place to upload my sessions. This meant trying to set up my repo properly and figure out what exactly I wanted to upload and how. After the frustration, the accidental deletion of the few things I had uploaded, a lot of swear words, and a rant-filled cranky blog post, I’m fairly happy with how my Github is set up. I still have a lot to learn and am definitely more comfortable using Git. But I’m also using Azure Data Studio to do this. In fact, I built checking in code into my SQL Notebooks presentation.

I’ve been finding that lately when I have an idea for a session or a blog post, it’s because I want to learn more about something that I’m using at work or want to use. It’s a great way for me to explore something and learn about something in a way that’s meaningful to me. And if I can understand it, maybe I can pass that on to someone else in a way that’s meaningful to them.

I’m looking forward to finding out what everyone else has learned. And thanks again for hosting, Lisa!


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