Life in a nutshell: Talking is Good

This title comes to you courtesy of Animal Logic, one of the best bands ever.

And I quote:

Talking is good
Talking makes you think
Talking is better than a strong drink
What comes out if you let it
You’ll never know till you said it
Talking is good, so good

I understand that C’s Dad and a couple of other people get concerned about my state of mind if I’m not posting here. While this is fairly astute of them, let me just say that, this time, there’s nothing wrong. A couple of months ago, I agreed to give a presentation to the San Francisco SQL Users Group called SQL Server Reporting Services in a Development Context, which I did this past Wednesday. 

Between the time I decided to give the talk and the time the talk actually occurred, however, I went through the fairly major job change that I wrote about last month, and this change caused me to rethink — not the subject of the talk — but its purpose and structure.  As a result, I did more-than-usual advance prep and agonized somewhat more than usual (which is usually already too much). 

I’m happy to say it went really well, and I’ll link to my slides at the bottom of this post. 

Mark Ginnebaugh, the group leader and president of DesignMind, will also be posting them in a central depot with my permission.  Please be in touch with Mark if you want more information about the great work this group does and how to get involved.  I always enjoy attending there.

Now that that prep effort is over, I hope to be more regular around here.  I am starting to settle into my new job and I have weekend time and (short-ish) evenings to do research of the type I love.

The future is now

I want to say that I’m working with a fascinating bunch of people.  I miss my  EC|Wise  team a lot, but at SRCS  I am supporting a hugely dedicated crew in  important work.  I feel great about this, and it’s different every day.

I recently re-read an old post on the Creating Passionate Users blog about why what you teach is more important than what you sell, and how much better people feel about doing things if they are good at doing them.  The post makes the point in a development context and it was targeted at how you interact with your users — so it’s well worth your professional time under any circumstances — but if it’s true about teaching users, it’s doubly true about teaching kids.

Teachers are awesome and their job is really hard. And my co-workers, who support them in IT, do a great service, cheerfully, as well. They often refer to the students as “our children”, even when the tykes in question are actually ravening hordes of high school seniors who tower over us.

Anyway… what was I saying?

Talk to me

Oh, yeah.  I’m jazzed about teaching and learning in general, and in particular I enjoy teaching and learning here and other places on-line.

I got a lot of positive feedback at the session, as well as in the latest bunch of emails from you all. So…

In the next couple of weeks I hope to be revisiting group totals 2008-style; is this technique even necessary any more? We didn’t have time to discuss this in the session. Whether it is or not, Joe Carey writes to say that he’s having trouble updating the SOAP calls I used on the client end of that walkthrough in recent SSRS versions, so I’ll re-work it (or something similar) in 2008 R2.  We’ll probably all learn something.

I’ll also finally finish updating XMLRSDocs thoroughly for 2008, because I got such a nice response to this in the session and it really shouldn’t be that big a deal.

Before I close out this post, I promised Jane Rokita mid-way through the session that I would explain a comment about HTML Placeholders at the end, and never got around to it.  I have mentioned them offhandedly here, as well, to discuss a different way of handling embedded HTML in a textbox, but the technique I was demonstrating (a list of links inside a single textbox) is best suited to one-to-many scenarios.  There, it makes sense to embed a list or table inside another data region.

Sometimes using the dataregion containership model of the RDL would be overkill.  The RDL has a better way to handle this requirement when all you want is a little rich formatting.  And, without further ado, for Jane and anybody else who hasn’t noticed it already, here’s what you do: 

… OK?

More next time. 

Now, here’re those slides: SFSQLServerUG-Sept82010-LSN.pptx (5.09 mb).


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