A technical blog about my projects, challenges, and discoveries in the world of data warehousing using SQL Server, Power BI Desktop, DevExpress, and more.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Richmond Code Camp

I should have posted a message about the Richmond Code Camp weeks ago, since it actually happened October 3rd, but time just has gotten away from me all month. This was my first Code Camp experience, but certainly not my last. In case you haven't been to one, I should explain that Code Camp is a completely free day of lectures from programmers and other developers, mostly local personalities, but sometimes notable figures from the larger programming world. The most interesting lecture I attended was a presenter from Microsoft itself. More on him and his talk later.

There were so many good things going, and I learned something interesting in nearly every session. Here is a list of my take-aways from the event:
  • jQuery has nothing to do with SQL. I thought I was going to learn a bit about how to query a database source from a web page, but that was not it at all. JQuery is a cool add-on for JavaScript, but it has nothing particular to do with querying databases.
  • SharePoint is much more powerful (and much more complex) than I gave it credit for. I went to two sessions on SharePoint, and I am very impressed with its capabilities. However, I am also quite certain that I am far away from ever tapping its full potential.
  • I picked up the word "trivial" as a descriptor for solutions that do not require much effort to implement -- and the very important "non-trivial" descriptor for solutions that do.
  • I saw Microsoft Azure for the first time, the cloud-computing solution for developers that is currently in development itself but will be rolling out in production next year. It is quite exciting, especially with the cloud-computing possibilities for my own company's applications.
  • I saw Microsoft's Project Gemini for the first time, a new enhancement for Excel that will do for database querying what PivotTables did for spreadsheets. The presenter was one of the developers from Microsoft itself. He shows Excel pulling in millions (!) of rows of data and then analyzing it PivotTable fashion almost instantly. He showed how Gemini can correlate ad hoc data with query data. He showed how SQL Server Reporting Services reports can serve as a data source so that users can re-package their own reports based off of the underlying query that feeds the SSRS report. He blew me away. I can't wait for this feature in the next version of Excel. And I am curious as to whether Excel Server might be a useful tool for some of our customers. It is just so exciting what Gemini is going to bring in terms of user-level Business Intelligence options.
I can't wait for the next Code Camp to come along. I'll definitely be there.

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