Wednesday, July 25, 2007

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


Anonymous said...

you are the most hard core db developer i can say, that i know (or perhaps one of three that i happen to know). May i know you are working for what company?


Denis said...

I work for Dow Jones

Anonymous said...

I see.., no wonder :)

w3stfa11 said...

Great, I'm following your progress. I could learn a few things from you.