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14 Habits of Great SQL Developers

Ike Ellis
Ike Ellis
Ike EllisConsultant/Trainer - Power BI, SSRS, SSAS at Crafting Bytes

SQL Server Developers range from terrible to great. Learn about the habits of the great ones!

14 Habits of Great SQL Developers

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Ike Ellis, MVP, Crafting Bytes
14 Habits of Great
SQL Developers
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• Things great SQL developers have in common
• Great for all developers, not just SQL developers
• In order to benefit you, not benefit me.
• #1, #2, #3 are by far the most important
• This isn’t a performance lesson
• This isn’t a SQL internals lesson
• This isn’t a SQL language best practices lesson
• This is a discussion on the personal habits and characteristics and thought
patterns of great SQL developers.

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14 Habits of Great SQL Developers

  • 1. Ike Ellis, MVP, Crafting Bytes 14 Habits of Great SQL Developers Things you can do to increase your value to everyone
  • 2. Please silence cell phones Please silence cell phones 2
  • 3. Free online webinar events Free 1-day local training events Local user groups around the world Online special interest user groups Business analytics training Free Online Resources PASS Blog White Papers Session Recordings Newsletter www.pass.org Explore everything PASS has to offer PASS Connector BA Insights Get involved
  • 4. Session evaluations Download the GuideBook App and search: PASS Summit 2017 Follow the QR code link displayed on session signage throughout the conference venue and in the program guide Your feedback is important and valuable. Go to passSummit.com Submit by 5pm Friday, November 10th to win prizes. 3 Ways to Access:
  • 5. Ike Ellis Partner, Crafting Bytes Microsoft MVP Since 2011 Frequent PASS Summit Speaker And speak often at SQL Saturdays + maker of youtube videos – Ike’s tips! Author of Developing Azure Solutions Now in 2nd Edition /ikeellis @ike_ellis ellisike
  • 6. • Things great SQL developers have in common • Great for all developers, not just SQL developers • In order to benefit you, not benefit me. • #1, #2, #3 are by far the most important • This isn’t a performance lesson • This isn’t a SQL internals lesson • This isn’t a SQL language best practices lesson • This is a discussion on the personal habits and characteristics and thought patterns of great SQL developers.
  • 7. Habit #1: Use Source Control • Provides history • Allows for checkin comments • Provides rollback point • Provides point for software deployment • Effectively shares code with team • Shows management the work being done • Shows tests being written • Ties code into work items which preserves coding intent • Job isn’t done until checkin • Checkin early, often, and when in doubt, checkin again • Merge as early as possible. Merge often.
  • 8. Habit #2: Test, test, and test again
  • 9. Habit #2: Testing benefits • Preserves intent • Forces single purpose stored procedures because they are testable • Folds into source control and runs before any build • Helps avoid mistakes from re-entering the source code months or years down the line • Initial and second most important building block that allows all sorts of power like continuous integration, continuous deployment, • Surface mistakes quickly and in development, not in production
  • 10. Habit #2: Testing Best Practices • Use mocking frameworks, begin tran, action, rollback tran, mock data • Never use production data • Love all testing frameworks • tSQLt • Visual Studio • NUnit • SpecFlow – BDD testing • Cucumber/Gerkin • ApprovalTests • At minimum, test that the sprocs, views, and functions actually run with the right arguments
  • 12. Habit #3: Always Be Shipping • Automate, automate, automate • Fold tests into deployment process • Learn a scripting language • PowerShell • Azure CLI • Grant Fritchey says! • Never change an object in production directly • Always go through the deployment pipeline
  • 13. Habit #4: Question, Re-Evaluate, Act • Question your own preconceived notions • Question your own biases • Question the purpose of new technology • Question your own derived answers • Evaluate effect on previous decisions • Change your mind and behavior
  • 15. Habit #5: • Understand The Real Job • Not to write code, but deliver value • Can it all be done in Excel? InfoPath? Power Apps? • It’s more fun to delete code. • Deliver as fast as you can.
  • 16. Habit #6: Software development, at its most fun, is a team sport • Code reviews • Share all information • Teach technology • Teach habits and practices • Teach domain knowledge • Teach code frameworks and architecture • Disseminate information at every available opportunity • Mob Programming
  • 17. Habit #6: Software development, at its most fun, is a team sport
  • 18. Habit #6: Software development, at its most fun, is a team sport
  • 19. Habit #6: Software development, at its most fun, is a team sport • Focus on a single task • Complete it • Test it • Verify functionality and impact on other systems • Check in • Deploy if possible • Work on next item • Avoid silos
  • 20. Habit #7: Fight dependencies
  • 21. Habit #7: Fight dependencies • Normalizing and denormalizing and changing the data model is essential to a good application • Necessary for performance • Necessary to represent changes in the business • Necessary to remove dead features • Necessary to make data exploration and analysis much easier • Necessary to speed application development • T-SQL code is the ultimate dependency • Should be isolated so schema can change • Schema can stay vibrant and relevant
  • 22. Habit #7: Fight dependencies • Avoid change lock • Happens because of dependencies • Lack of testing • Complicated code • Loss of intent
  • 23. Habit #7: Fight dependencies • Views • Stored Procedures • Functions • ORMs • Web APIs ~ REST, SOAP, etc • Come through the front door. Give them an API • Can cause the use of triggers. • EDA – ODS, DW, DM • Never allow direct access to your tables for anything • Adds initial time to development, but keeps the application changeable and flexible
  • 24. Habit #7: Fight dependencies • One application ~ one database • Or at least one software development team, one database • Fight three part names • Database.dbo.tablename • Or even worse, four part names • Servername.database.dbo.tablename • But if you’re going to use four part names • Use DNS Alias (CNAME) • Use Views/Stored Procedures • Keep the coding contract firm and clear • Preferable to use Web API/C#/JS
  • 25. Habit #8: Code for resiliency/code for cloud • Error handling • Flag • Fix • Fail • Connection retry • Short transactions • Deliberate rollback tran • Table update order document
  • 26. Habit #9: Love your tools • Know every option • Know keystrokes and shortcuts • Know code navigation • Know these tools: • SQL Prompt • Visual Studio • SSMS • Profiler • Extended Events • MS Excel
  • 27. Habit #10: Love your language • SQL is a command language • Think like the optimizer • Learn new features: • CONCAT • TRY_CAST • Window Functions • Memory Optimized Tables and Procedures • Columnstore • DROP IF EXISTS • R • Python • JSON
  • 28. Habit #11: High-performance is not created by accident • But it can be created at the last responsible moment • Key to performance is to watch dependencies • Think always about concurrency • Small things are changeable and scalable • Think cloud-scale+
  • 30. Habit #12: Leave it better than you found it • Long stored procedures are the bane of the great developer • Not testable • Hard to change • Bad for performance • Prone to bugs • Prone to have developers avoid understanding it • Hard to navigate • Motorcycle vs Semi-truck
  • 31. Habit #12: Leave it better than you found it • Update and repair ~ weed the garden – constantly • Bad developers work to get the item off their plate so they can do something else • Great developers work so that the item is more enjoyable to work on when they’re asked again
  • 33. Habit #13: Respond with a sense of urgency • Treat it as their most valuable commodity • Things that erode user trust: • Repeated mistakes • Half-done code • Bugs surfacing at run-time • Missed deadlines • Bad listening skills • Not reading the entire email • Things that gain user trust • Doing what you said you do when you said you’d do it • Digging deeper to understand and empathize • Doing their work with them, not for them
  • 34. Habit #14: Time as the most valuable commodity • Record victories in excel, google doc, or better yet: Toggl • Think about time doing plumbing and maintenance • Merging, branching • In meetings • Moving code to production • Maintenance tasks • Repeated tasks • Take ownership of their habits and their time • Make things happen, not happen to them
  • 35. PRIZES TO GIVE AWAY! • Next week I’ll ship 10 posters to winners • Just give me your business card and pick which poster you want. I’ll send it to you.
  • 36. Thank You Learn more from Ike Ellis ike@craftingbytes.com@ike_ellis
  • 37. ALL DONE! Ike Ellis @ike_ellis Crafting Bytes We’re hiring a Data Experts! Microsoft MVP Chairperson of the San Diego TIG Book co-author – Developing Azure Solutions Upcoming course on Azure Data Lake www.craftingbytes.com www.ikeellis.com