Microsoft, SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – June 2012 Action

It’s the time for the July meetup and the June post is just coming out. Delay on my part was because of a hectic schedule. Nevertheless, better late than never, so thought of typing it now at least.

The June meetup was held on 20th June 2012 and the events lined up for the evening were,

Sanjeewa along with a demo of the installation gave some salient insights which are ignored during the process of installation. Actually, not ignored as such but rather taken for granted and how any one would blindly opt to proceed with the default settings of the wizard without digging deep. He made some recommendations for installation and mentioned the basic Software and Hardware requirements. Overall it was an informative session as I only had witnessed another installing it and actually had no knowledge of the how things worked out during installation.

Prithiviraj in his session made a comparison between Seek and Scan, where Scan would be a better option in a particular instance though Seek seemed to be the hot favourite. Finally Gogula began his session on explaining the new structure for certifications, the use of it and how one could groom their career path. This session answered a continuously bugging question in my mind which was, “Why should I go for a certification when I have a degree?” Basically, what I understood as the purpose of it is that if you’re a person who knows where you’re heading, certifications are a good way to build the road ahead of you and besides you also have an additional advantage with the “Certified” tag behind your name when you’re applying for jobs 🙂

According to where I stand, the importance of the topics discussed at the meeting were ordered in a descending order for me. Where the first session was the least important (but if I get to install in the future, it’ll definitely come handy 😉 ) and the last session was the most important (as an undergraduate who’ll be finishing the degree pretty soon and looking out for opportunities).

The July meetup is planned for today and I’m sure there will be something for everyone to get from it.



Microsoft, SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – May 2012 Action

After a month’s break SS SLUG came into action, but with a low attendance this time, probably because its the season of convocations and many of the regular attendees were missing or lack of communication about the meeting. Nevertheless, this month’s meeting was pretty concise and compact, likewise the post comes out short and early.

The meeting kicked off with two sessions that were lined up for the evening.

  • Windowing Functions in SQL Server by Dinesh Karunarathne
  • Breaking an SQL Myth in 300 Seconds – Table Variables with less data does not go to tempdb by Dinesh Asanka (MVP, SQL Server)

Dinesh K. explained that Window Function, is primarily a function that affects a particular set of rows and there are three types of Window Functions.

  1. Ranking Functions
  2. Aggregate Functions
  3. Analytic Functions

He did an in-depth explanation of each type along with a small demonstration. With regard to the third section, he went on to explain the new improvements in SQL Server 2012. A side comment was made that, this function thought it seems very useful, doesn’t come that handy with big data sets.

Next in line was Dinesh A., with a new segment, where he had to bust an SQL myth within 300 seconds. The myth for the evening was, “Table Variables with less data does not go to tempdb“. He proved a point with a demonstration on Temp Tables Vs Table Variables Vs CTE.

Overall view, this time meeting compared to the previous meetings was played at a lower key. So let’s see if June will raise the bar higher…

SQL Server, SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – March 2012 Action

A bit late on the post, but the March meeting memories are fresh as the dawn. It’s quite interesting to see the latest change of, effort and thought, incorporated to bring something new at every meeting. So this month’s blazing new category introduced was the “Lightning Talks“. Following was the roller coaster ride, planned for the evening.

  • Anything – SQL Lightning Talks
  • SQL Server 2012 – What’s New by Dinesh Asanka (MVP)
  • Tips on boosting your career

Ever heard of lightning not striking the same place twice? Well if you were present at the SS SLUG meeting, you would’ve seen it strike not once, not twice, but five times consecutively, at the same place and no casualties reported. The strikers were given a 2 minutes each to share their knowledge on anything related to SQL. The first striker was, Gogula Aryalingam (MVP) on the topic, My Data Mart is Better than Your Data Warehouse. The presentation was compact, concise and hit the nail. Following him was Shiham Samsudeen on Try… Catch…T-SQL Style. A simple topic, explained with easy to understand code snippets. Next was about Data Compression by Sudesh Wijayathilaka. It was a topic that would’ve been ideal for an individual session as it covered a vast area. But he tried his best to put out the basics related to the topic. Supun Thrikawala spoke of Table Variables, The good and the bad. He presented a comparison between Temp variables vs Table variables. The final striker for the lightning session was Avantha Siriwardana who spoke on SQL Server Standards. He explained on why the protocols were presented and why people should consider using them. The change was interesting and there could have been more interesting tit bits covered in the lightning talks by some more speakers.

Dinesh Asanka (MVP) took over the stage, to introduce the new features available with the new release of SQL Server 2012. Though the intention was to give a mere theoretical heads up on the new goodies, but the hype created by the attendees required a few demos and gave birth to the idea of explaining those features in individual sessions.

The next session was personally, the cream of the crop for me. It was something I was looking forward to as a university undergraduate and which I actually found quite handy. And yes, it was also more than just tips. The four maestros of SS SLUG, in no particular order, Preethiviraj Kulasingham, Dinesh Asanka, Dinesh Priyankara and Gogula Aryalingam shed some light to those of interest. It kicked off with stories directly from their bags, in order to show that, what matters is the start and the dedication you are willing to put, even if you were to start from ground zero. There was a brief up on certifications offered by Microsoft for those who are interested in building a career along the SQL route. Preethiviraj Kulasingham, mentioned four areas of focus if you really wanted to venture in this path.

The third one is at its pinnacle while the latter is an emerging field. Likewise, there were some advice on Do’s and Don’ts and what was expected from an interviewer’s perspective of both experienced and fresh graduates. What grabbed my attention was, how passionate each of them sounded with regard to the knowledge and skills required. Generally, the gamble of dollars comes to mind as you start off with career guidance tips, but this was different. It didn’t occur to anyone till the very end. For once, the emphasis was on knowledge, skill and passion.

April meeting, let’s see what they’ve rolled up in their sleeves.

Microsoft, Windows

Windows 8 Consumer Preview : Starter, Main Course and Dessert

Almost a week since Windows 8 Consumer Preview was out and I got my hands on it today. Heads up on the post, for the Windows fans: it ain’t gonna be “Microsoft Friendly” and for the rest of the crowd: nor is it gonna be “Anti-Microsft”. And no, it’s not on the fence either 😉

Starter, Installation Process.

The entire process took a fine 40 minute ride. I installed Windows 8 in my virtual machine. What I expected was a normal wizard that would let me select the options and keep on clicking Next and Tada! it would boot the new OS. And I wish life was that easy or rather Windows 8 was that easy. As the process begun, this is where I got stuck,

Product Key

If anyone is wondering, why I spent a long time with the installation, this is one reason. Because I had to seek Google’s help for this. I don’t understand the importance of this step for a Consumer Preview version and if it is important, it should have been mentioned in the official site (providing the key). Next, time minting process was creating an entire New Windows Live ID to be used as the login credentials. There was no option to use the existing IDs. Hopefully, it will be accommodated in the final release.

Lifting the veil off, this is what I got.

Windows 8 Home ScreenMain CourseCritical Analysis. Things that I like are, I completely love the metro style and the entire look of it. The categorization of the tiles and easy access to different apps comes very handy. Concise, it is an improvement of a mobile OS made available to tablets and desktops. But is it really User Friendly, when it comes to desktops? That’s an evident concern. When we are talking of business on the go with mobile phones and tablets, then Windows 8 is most definitely one of the best options available. But when you scale it down to the desktop usage of it, unless you’ve been bitten by the tech bug, a conventional user might be taken back.

For instance, though I like the look and feel of it, initially I was wondering around with the basic functions pertaining to a program. Like, how can I close this window? Where do I click when the buttons are overlapping? How can I see the programs that are open? With regard to Internet Explorer, how do I go Back? (And yes, I tried it out without checking out the Demo Video) For a second it even struck me, whether they were planning to promote keyboard shortcuts. And when these functions cannot be executed fast, that could burn time as well as few blood cells. Looking at the Consumer Preview version, Windows 8 needs a lot of things to be fixed/changed, bearing in mind the users who will be solely depending on their desktops. Because unlike the touch devices, getting your way around and executing your normal tasks can be bit cumbersome. But if you are using both the tab and the desktop, this would not be a problem as you would have a knowledge of how things work and it’s just a matter of moving from touch to non-touch.

Going further down, what’s the difference in the core functionality of Windows 8? It is said that there’s enhanced performance and improved boot time (approximately 8 seconds). Performance, so far seems good but couldn’t see a significant difference compared to Windows 7. Boot time, yes it’s reduced. On one hand I’m glad that Microsoft had brought a significant enhancement with regard to the kernel and I wish they experimented more and introduced more changes other than just adorning the same old features without considering a change to the kernel.

DessertMy Conclusion. From a personal viewpoint, would I choose Windows 8 for my mobile or tablet? Yes, one because it is tailor made for it and two, it is indeed good. Would I choose Windows 8 for my desktop? YES! With a bit of a mumbling for few days, I would most definitely conquer it!

Programming, SQL Server, SS SLUG

What’s the big deal about SQL Server 2012??

SQL ServerMicrosoft SQL Server 2012 RC0 enables a cloud-ready information platform that will help organizations unlock breakthrough insights across the organization“.

Unless you were living under a rock, you must be aware of the ongoing revolution in the SQL Server world about the much anticipated release of SQL Server 2012 formerly known as SQL Server Denali. The SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate was released last week.

And if your thinking that this is gonna turn out to be another blog post on the performance of the release, you better think twice. I’m not an expert in the development of the release nor do I have a clue of what the hype is all about, but I would like to bring out what I think from an eye of an IT student by connecting the dots and and pieces of what I’ve heard and read.

Just like all software products bring in new versions by improving the flaws of the previous versions and coming up with new adornments to the existing product, the newer version of SQL Server also, successfully maintains the good old tradition. Well, according to the Release Candidate 0 announcement, what can the users enjoy??

  • Greater Availability
  • Blazing fast performance
  • Rapid data exploration
  • Credible, consistent data
  • Optimized productivity

So the buzz is all about these new/ improvised aspects of the product. If you take the track records, you can see the contribution of many tech brains to achieve its current status. But a sure thing is, SQL Server 2012, is not THE Flawless product and we could expect something better than this in the future as well. It’s just another Key milestone of the SQL Server Development!

Programming, SS SLUG

SS SLUG Kaleidoscope – October 2011 Action

The October SQL Server Sri Lanka User Group meet up consisted of 3 main sessions this time.  Deviating from the conventional SS SLUG meetups, this time the team incorporated a new twist to the agenda to make the evening more interesting. Their first sign of victory was the numbers they brought in for the day.  It was the first time in the history of the SS SLUG a large number of audience gathered.

The agenda for the day was,

The performance graph of the day was similar to a cosine curve.

The first session managed to hit the mark. Dinesh A. spoke of UDFs (User Defined Functions) and also he touched on certain limitations of stored procedures that could be overcome with UDFs as well as instead of writing long lines of queries with stored procedures, how the same thing can be done using few lines of UDFs.

Progressing to the second session, Dinesh P. spoke of the upcoming enhancements made to the BI suite planned by Microsoft and if you’re doing any development for BI, how it would help you to know where you stand compared to the current progress of Microsoft. This session did not raise itself up to as the first session because there was a very small percentage of the crowd who really knew what BI was. Though Dinesh P. managed to give a bird’s eye view into BI before he began his session, as he continued the interest level on the topic dropped a bit low. He spoke of Traditional BI and the emerging trend of Self Service BI. I personally clueless about BI was looking forward for this session, because the topic on the agenda sounded pretty interesting and I assumed that it would give an overview to BI and cover some interesting areas. It was a bit of a disappointment.

Trying to gain momentum, Preethiviraj got into the field with his topic. Another session I was looking forward to. Preethiviraj spoke about what Very Large Databases were, maintaining them and some of the dos and don’ts. Since the first session started behind schedule, Preethiviraj was being hurried to finish his session sooner than the time slot allotted to him. It was a drawback that he had to cut down on his session, because all those who wanted to learn could see that he planned to deliver so much more but couldn’t because they were already behind schedule.

So hoping that next time’s SS SLUG meet up will try to improve on the shortcomings of October’s meetup and try to keep up the enthusiasm and the drive to learn in all the sessions they plan for the day.