SQL Saturday

Presenting before the summer ’17

I’ll be really busy presenting before this summer. With four sessions (including three completely new) to deliver in less than 30 days, I’ll have less times for my open-source projects.

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The first session will be at Charleroi (Hainaut, Belgium) on the 2nd of June for the Journée Agile 2017. This is a bit special for me, I never talked so close to my hometown and it will be my first time in Wallonia since 10 years. No one is a prophet in his own country, even if it is a small one! It will also be different because the main topic of the conference is not SQL Server or databases but agility. A concept that I use since 10 years, I’m really not a newcomer. Agility and BI are two concepts with little traction, let’s break the walls! I’ll speak (in French) about testing automation for BI solutions, this is the session that I’m presenting across Europe but I’ll adapt it a bit to the attendance and stress the agility topic (and a bit less time on the demos). If you’re interested by the agile topic (and if you’re not, you should really care about this … the world has changed, hurry up!), a few seats are still available.

The next stop will be at SQL Saturday Rheinland (Sankt Augustin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany – University between Bonn and Köln). The session will be about the M Language (the language used for Power Query/Power BI to get and transform data) and how much it’s fun to code with a functional language. It’ll be the first time that I’ll present this session as-is but I already included large parts of this session in some blog posts or show-cases. Not a lot of stress to be ready on time. About M, the main topic of this session, I’m really impressed by the power of this language and I’ll try to share a bit of my knowledge and help you to make the first steps in the right direction. Don’t be confused, it’s not a session about Power Query/Get & Transform, I won’t use the UI … I’ll show you the code and how to resolve more advanced cases that you won’t be able to implement with just the user interface.

SQLSaturday #605 - Rheinland 2017

Then, at the end of the month, I’ll be presenting at the 24 Hours of Pass (French edition – 2017). This year, I accepted to present two sessions (Webcasts in French). Can you really say “no” twice to Isabelle and Jean-Pierre? The first session is about going high in normal forms for data warehouses. Don’t panic, I won’t be boring explaining in theory what’s a normal form. I just want to explain why Data Vault, Anchor Modeling (and Tibre Modeling, my own “methodology” to model time-based relations in a data warehouse) are really powerful approaches for some specific cases. I’ll also show you why SQL Server is suited to host and serve this kind of model. I’m really excited about this session, it’ll be a worldwide première and I hope to have the opportunity to present it again later, let’s cross-fingers.

The second session at the 24 HOP French Edition is about Graph processing with SQL Server 2017 (aka SQL Graph). That’s now several years that I’m following Neo4j and I appreciate how simple it’s to resolve some use-cases with Cypher and this engine. I still need to develop large parts of my session but the plan is surely not to make an in-depth comparison of the two engines. I’m expecting to explain why a Graph processing is better suited for some specific cases and show the difference in terms of expressiveness and performance with a standard SQL approach.

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Speaking engagements at the end of summer

During the last months, I’ve received a few public or private messages from people asking me to speak at more events. Good news for them, they will have a couple of opportunities to listen to me at the end of this summer.

The 29th of August, I’ll be at the Oslo SQL Saturday. The topic will cover a good introduction to NBi, the open-sourced testing framework that I’m developing.

This event has a lot of sessions about BI and I’m really interested to assist at some of them. The DBA/development track is also interesting with some deep dives … and all sessions are in English. It will be difficult to make a choice.

The 5th of September, I’ll be at Paris for another SQL Saturday. I’ll be speaking (in french) about SSDT-DB (SQL Server Data Tools). The idea of the session is to demonstrate to skeptical (potential) users that SSDT is effectively covering “complex” use-cases. When I’m informally discussing about SSDT, I often receive a remark such as “yes, but it’s not working for my case because …” and most of the time my answer is “SSDT supports this by …”. The session will have a lot of demo where I’ll explain how to solve these “complex” cases. I’ll also show you some hidden benefits of using SSDT.

The list of sessions is extremely interesting and it will be difficult to make a choice. Hopefully, a couple of sessions are proposed at Oslo and Paris. I’ll have two opportunities to assist to them.

Back from SQL Saturday #323 at Paris

Last week-end, I was at the SQL Saturday #323 in Paris to present a session about tests automation for BI solutions with the framework NBi.

The venue (Montparnasse Tower) was really a great place to host a SQL Saturday event and the organizers did a really good job. I got to attend sessions on topics I usually don’t work on (DQS, HDInsight) and learned new things that way. It was a long day, but a great day! What I enjoyed the most was meeting everyone in person and getting to know new people. Special thanks to Florian Eiden (b|t), the man who spotted me and my project traipsing on the web but also Charles-Henri Sauget (b|t), Romain Castères (b|t), Patrice Harel (b) and other members of the GUSS’s Board. Also wanted to thanks Oliver Engels (t) and Tillmann Eitelberg (t) for the interesting discussions and encouragement about the project NBi.

The source code of the different demos performed during the session is available here. The slide deck (in french) has been uploaded on SlideShare. I’ll translate it in English soon.

I also get an interesting question from Romuald Coutaud during the session about the way the query was effectively executed on SQL Server depending on its origin (NBi or SSRS). To be honest, I hadn’t fully understood the question at the first glance, it’s probably why I’ve given a vague answer. I’ve checked my final assumption during my journey back to Belgium and can confirm that there is no difference between the query emitted by NBi and the query emitted by SSRS. NBi and SSRS are both using the .Net Sql Client provider and this provider is executing a sp_executesql stored procedure with the statement and parameters provided as arguments. Based on this, both query plans should be identical.