Everything and nothing

Hello again.  I know it’s been a while.

Two days after I last wrote, Ruby T. Kitten went missing.  I was on a business trip at the time, and when I came back, I just didn’t have the heart to write about anything for a while.

When I came “back to it”, the prospect was less and less inviting, somehow, as I battled wave after wave of spam comments and received more requests for having phony links removed from my site than requests for help from legitimate developers.

We even had our site hacked, briefly last year.

I’m closing all comments on TechSpoken today.

First, I house-cleaned a little and deleted more than 1000 fraudulent comments, a back-breaking task I’ve had to do regularly in the past year or so.  If you had a legitimate comment here and I accidentally removed it at the same time, I do apologize.  (OTOH, I’m sure I still left many spam comments in place.  I used my best judgement, which is very far from perfect, that’s all I can say.)

You are still welcome to email me with questions, and if there is a valuable insight I can provide to the developer community, based on your question, I’ll post it here.

Case in point:

Dave wrote to ask about how to provide information to a report — in his case, local time offset — from the client browser without expecting the user to type it in.  I’ve explained to Dave how to pass a parameter to a report, using standard SSRS URL Access, and provided him with some easy javascript code that will do the trick for him.

If you’re interested, drop me a line, and I’ll elucidate in a blog post. 

Just keep in mind that this isn’t something that Report Manager can, or should, handle for you.  It’s a sample UI, not the be-all and end-all of the SSRS product.  I’ve already written here about nixing the Report Manager and really this is the best approach in many scenarios.

I’ve written a lot here already

You’d be surprised how many times I answer somebody’s SSRS query by pointing to something I’ve already written in the past, sometimes with a little extra explanation.  That’s where my YAPS blog post category came from.

If and when I continue to post here, there will be some additional changes

For one thing, now that I’m back to corporate, there are a bunch of things I have agreed not to write about, since there are some intellectual property issues involved, and (more important) there is a potential competitive advantage in practically anything I happen to know.

For another thing, I would be unlikely to have new insights into SSRS, since my job is once more XML- and Integration- centric, and not very concerned with SSRS reports. 

I might want to write a lot more about SSIS, actually, NDA permitting.  Anybody out there interested?  Ask me a direct SSIS question, so that the problem and the illustrations don’t come from my own work, and I will continue to have the same kinds of innovative solutions for you that have appeared here on TechSpoken in the past.

I’m feeling rather curmudgeonly lately anyway.

Don’t take this as a reflection on my job, which I happen to love, or the people with whom I work there, because they’re not the source of the following comments.  This is just an observation about the developer community as I perceive it  in the brave new world:

Databases are not something to poke at with a stick

I’m basically a database-centric developer, let’s face it.  In fact, I’ll go as far as to say I have a deep feeling about beauty inherent in relational schemas and sql syntax, although I enjoy NoSQL dbs as well.

It’s an almost physical pain for me to watch a .NET or perl or java team put a huge amount of effort into optimizing their code and making it as elegant in design as they possibly can… and then persist the results in sql databases that are poorly structured and not optimized at all, and accessed in agonizing RBAR syntax.

 I don’t understand why the integration of the disciplines hasn’t come further.  In fact, it seems to be much less far along than it used to be.

FoxPro Nostalgia?

There seem to be a lot of people (clothing designers, architects, TV shows) with nostalgia for a “simpler” past. A time and place where AIDS didn’t exist, global warming hadn’t become an obvious part of our future, people had expectations of a rising standard of living for their children without a huge struggle.

So I guess, as an older person, I’m just showing the same kind of feeling here. 

I miss a time where the database was a live thing under my fingers, and part and parcel of every coding decision I made.  I miss a developer community that would have fallen on the sword rather than waste a byte on disk or a cycle in the processor, and the fact that the database was not exempted from this care.

I guess I wonder what you think about it…

If you want to argue the point, or if you have convincing evidence that things are in fact better than they used to be, I’ll be delighted.  Don’t be a stranger; write me an email.

I gotta admit, though: I don’t wonder enough to re-open comments.