Monday, June 24, 2019

News Flash: Old dog learns new tricks (or tries to)

Lately, I have been trying to up my game a bit and one of the things I am doing is using some of the latest tools and bits of things.

(Partly, this is because I have been working with some old technology lately and I am feeling "dated". Ask me about Fox Pro, if you dare.)

After many years of not seeing value in updating, I am moving to PowerShell 6. (Version 6.2, specifically.) Frankly, more things work than I expected. I haven't seen any performance regressions and things have gone smoothly. I think I spent more time incorporating the PowerShell version into my Prompt function than anything else that I had to do because of the upgrade.

I am running the absolutely-latest build of SSMS. I skipped some SSMS builds when the removed the diagramming functionality. Now that it has been put back into the product, I am on the update train again.

Aside: The diagramming feature isn't awesome but it is easy to use, requires no installation, doesn't cost anything and is more than adequate for 95% of the things I need such a tool for. I know that it isn't a real "enterprisey" ERD tool, but I don't need one. In fact, if they took out all of the "modify the tables in the database" features, I would like it more. The main thing is that, sometimes, you just want to look at a diagram of a subset of the tables in a database.

Windows 10 1903 Update
After not getting any update action for weeks after it was released, I bit the bullet and forced this latest Windows release onto my main laptop. (Carpe Diem, right?) It's been fine so far. The blurred-out login display was a little jarring at first. Multi-monitor has always been the shakiest feature of my laptop, but it has not been any worse after updating.

After several years of "beta", DbaTools has had it's first release that is judged as production-ready. I've updated and I'm slowly looking through my code for issues. I've been using this as a production tool for years. I'm excited for this release because it validates all of the work that has been done on the tool and the names of functions should stop jumping around so much.

I spent a lot of time watching things on YouTube (or the SQL PASS site) in order to learn new things and see how other people approach the problems that I probably have. Lately, I have been focusing on the PowerShell + DevOps Global Summit 2019 videos.

Just For Fun
I am trying out the new "Windows Terminal", which is in preview and available in the Windows Store. I found this through a post on Hanselman's site. It found my Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and gave me bash, it found my new and old PowerShell installations and my old, trusty cmd shell (which I still sometimes use for chocolatey). I haven't put it into heavy use yet, but nearly everything seems OK so far. (The settings menu pick doesn't seem to be working properly for me.)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

DbaTools version 1.0 has been released

(Actually, they are up to version 1.0.2 already.)

I've been using DbaTools for a number of years. I have come to rely on it more and more. Now, I find it at least as deeply entwined in my PowerShell code as the SqlServer module is.

All right-thinking people use DbaTools. And you should, too.

More seriously, DbaTools is one of the few PowerShell modules I absolutely rely on, on a daily basis. I use DbaTools so frequently that I can't easily categorize it all. In short, I can:

  • Check servers, instances, databases, disks, security and many other things for issues on a daily basis
  • Check business rules on a daily basis
  • Restore databases to test environments on an ad-hoc basis. I have this working so smoothly that I forget that I have Ola Hallengren's backup scripts actually running the database backups. 
  • Load data into databases
  • Extract data from databases
I've never actually used DbaTools for it's original purpose, which was migrating databases and instances onto new computers. It can still do that, but it has added so much more goodness over the years that you should install it anyway. There really is something for everyone in DbaTools.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

If you want to see a cool ten-minute, "lightning" demo of how you can use PowerShell and Excel together to analyze data or produce nice reports, watch this YouTube video, from 7:47 to 18:22. This is presented by Doug Finke, the author of the Import-Excel PowerShell module.