Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Looping through SQL objects with SSIS

A lady named Barbara wrote this week to say that she'd enjoyed my SSIS Foreach Loop article, but she wondered how one might go about using the Foreach Loop container if the collection was made up of SQL tables instead of files. The procedure is quite similar; the difference lies in using the very useful Foreach ADO.NET Schema Rowset Enumerator to enumerate tables for a given schema.

I figured that the answer to her question, or one possible variant at least, was worth posting on the site, so here it is (PDF, 483KB).

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wheel out the dancing elephants

After much weeping and gnashing of teeth during the preparation of it, I'm very pleased and proud to announce that the 360Data website has received a much-needed update and is now online: maybe you're looking at it right now. It's hopefully a bit more sharp-and-to-the-point than the previous version, and certainly looks great. (I take no credit for this aspect; all plaudits go to Mr. David Quinn and the crack team at Avenir Design - I can't recommend them highly enough).

It's got quite a lot in common with the old site, design-wise, but is intended to feel friendlier and more personal. It's also intended to highlight past & present work to give the visitor a better idea of the sort of projects I can take on, as well as the all-important customer recommendations. Outside of that, we cut down on the amount of text on the site. Everyone's busy, right? All the old articles and documents are there still, but are less spread out.

Let me know what you think; I'd be delighted to get your feedback.

P.S. - Here's what the old site looked like.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Forty-four thousand satisfied customers

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for that described how SQL Server Integration Services could be (mis)used to query a SQL database, format the query results as HTML, and automatically e-mail them on to interested parties. It was more of a demonstration of what were then relatively poorly documented features of SSIS than a serious attempt to recreate a reporting solution, but it touched an unexpected chord and got a huge response on the site. It's been a featured article three times, been included in the publication "Best of SQLServerCentral Volume 6", and has a maximum five-star rating from no fewer than 44,550 readers as I write this.

All this blowing my own trumpet is well and good, but up to now this piece was only visible to registered visitors of Today, however, in a shameless attempt to drive some traffic to my refurbished and improved website, I've posted it as a PDF on my own site for the enjoyment and enlightenment of one and all. It's a bit dated by now, and I can certainly think of easier and more efficient ways of achieving the same ends than by using SSIS, SQL XML queries and XSL transformations, but if that's your idea of fun then please take a look.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back to the drawing board

Basecamp is an exceptional online collaboration tool that I've been using for some years now to communicate with clients and co-workers. It's clean, simple and does exactly what you want and no more. The good people behind this most excellent product have launched a new mobile version this week for use on smartphones, tablets and the likes. It's written in HTML5 and it's quite astonishing.

I've been a little bit underwhelmed by HTML5 up to now. There are lots of pretty demos out there, for sure, but I didn't really see anything transformative until I called up the new Basecamp mobile site. The thing about it is, it's a website that doesn't behave like a website. It has all the features, look and feel, and convenience of a conventional mobile app, but it's all implemented in the browser and is compatible with all (HTML5-compliant) devices. It's light-years ahead of the effects you can realise with AJAX and the likes.

This, to me, feels huge. Not Basecamp itself, worthy as it is, but the potential it displays. It means we developers can create applications on the web that mirror or better the user experiences we offer on desktop applications, and we don't have to rewrite them for Android, or iOS, or desktop browsers. We're not beholden to the likes of Apple's piratical 30% cut of everything, and we can reach the widest possible group of users without compromising our interfaces and user experiences.

Time to get studying.

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