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

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 10 Things I Learned at SQL PASS on 10/10/2011

I have the priviledge of being here in Seattle for the SQL PASS Summit conference all week, including two days of "pre-convention" all-day training topics. Today was the first day of the conference, and I wanted to continue a tradition of summarizing the top ten things I learned today at PASS. These are in roughly chronoligical order.
  1. It is good to get back on a treadmill and work out, even though a four-month break means that I could only go 2.6 miles in 45 minutes instead of 3.1 miles in about 40 minutes.
  2. The scuttlebutt I heard last year is true: the Paramount Hotel is indeed a great place to stay for PASS, as it is reasonably priced and only a block or so from the convention center. And most of the walk there is under covered awnings. If you are familiar with Seattle weather in October, you know this is no small fact.
  3. Talking to and singing to my almost-three-month-old daugher Destiny over the phone is a pale substitute for doing those things with her in my arms, but even through the phone her baby talk can melt my heart.
  4. Apparently SQL PASS Summit attendees receive a new backpack every year.
  5. The Guidebook app for Android phones (and probably iPhones too) is a great tool for an event such as this conference, and it is definitely something we should consider using for the International Shelby Conference next year.
  6. In SQL Server Reporting Services, if you use a "cast" function (such as CDate or CStr) on a textbox value to give it a specific data type, it opens up a large set of VB.net methods that can make working with that value much easier. This is especially true for datetime values.
  7. I really need to become comfortable with creating and using stored procedures over plain Jane SQL queries and views. They offer distinct benefits, which appear to be worth the trouble of being unable to create them easily with ShelbyQUERY.
  8. In Reporting Services it is possible to create code blocks that do more involved VB.net functions than can be summarized into a single one-line of code in an expression. I knew this had to be the case, but today I learned how to make that happen.
  9. Using a "post back" concept in the Action property of a Reporting Services report element creates the ability to have interactive "buttons" that change the parameters of the report content; for instance, it is possible to add "slicer" style buttons to a chart or matrix report design.
  10. A walk from the hotel to Starbucks to get a refreshing shaken iced tea lemonade takes just enough time to wait out a false fire alarm at the hotel and return to see the firefighters climb into the fire engine and head out.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy reading your top ten comments from PASS. It is like getting a little report on how each day has gone. I like the Guidebook app idea a lot and have already passed that on. #10 made me laugh and #3 reminded me of my traveling days and how much I missed my small daughter when I was on the road for days at a time. Keep it up!!