Jeff Smith Blog

Random Thoughts & Cartesian Products with Microsoft SQL Server

Becoming a Better Developer, plus a SQL Crime Drama!

Sorry for the delay, Denis; thinking of ways to improve our developer skills is a great idea, thank you for including me.  Here are my thoughts on the next 6 months. 

More design, less code.  I'm going to try to focus a little more on user interfaces, graphics, layouts, and so on.  I tend to write boring, plain vanilla corporate-style applications that frankly aren't much fun. Sure, they work great (usually!) and the layout is clean and easy to use (hopefully!), but my goodness – it is boring.  I plan on focusing a little more on the aesthetic design of my applications and web pages in the next 6 months; not so much that it detracts from the usability of my applications, or that it bloats them, but so that I can consciously improve upon this aspect of my work.

Learn Flash.  This kind of goes hand in hand with my previous point.  I do lots of web development, but so far I have stayed away from Flash.  Now, I think it's time to at least learn it.  I am not a fan of flash-heavy sites, but when used well I can see the benefits.  Also, lots of websites and pages and components that I am incorporating into our environment developed by outside companies are using Flash. So, if I can, my plan is to at least get familiar with it.  Also, I plan on investigating just what Silverlight is all about.  Looks interesting.

Learn other non-Microsoft technologies.  In college I didn't learn a thing about any Microsoft product.  It was all UNIX and JAVA and things like that. Since graduating many years ago, I have not worked professionally with much else, other than javascript and things like that.  I'd like to really spend a little more time developing in some other languages, just to see what is out there and to help keep things in perspective.  I love the .NET and Visual Studio and SQL Server, but part of me wonders:  Do I really have enough knowledge of other products out there to form an unbiased opinion?

Delve more into VS/SQL 2008.  These new releases seem to come out so fast, it's hard to keep up.  I'm barely getting used to .NET 2.0 and SQL 2005!  As others have mentioned, it's never too early to get a head start on technologies that have recently been released or that are coming soon.

Brush up on Design Patterns.  I've read about most of them online and used quite a few of them, but I still don't have a full grasp on all of them and where and when they can be useful.

Write more SQLTeam articles!  (Graz forced me to put this in)

and finally:

Be more creative and help others.  I plan to finish up my screenplay for the pilot of "Chip and Dip": A gritty crime drama about a tough cop that doesn't play by the rules (Arthur Diptowsky, or "Dip") and his super intelligent computer (with a powerful microchip. Get it? "Chip"!) who solve crimes using SQL.  A classic "buddy" concept. Look for it coming this fall on NBC!  Will this make me a better programmer? No … but it will help educate the world on the power of SQL, and that will make everyone a better programmer in 6 months.  Beat that, guys! Makes you all seem a little selfish just focusing on improving your own development skills, doesn't it?

A preview:

Dip:  Chip, we have to find the serial killer!  There must a pattern. Who else has been murdered in this city the last 6 months?
Chip:  Syntax error on 'Who'.
Dip: Damn you, Chip!  We don't have time for this!
Chip: Syntax error on 'Damn'
Dip:  You are a pain in my ass, you know that!? UPDATE Chip SET Annoying=True !
Chip:  That is not funny.  And also there is not a table named 'Chip' in the catalog.
Dip:  Argghh!! …. SELECT Name FROM Victims WHERE Type='Murder' AND City = …

Entertaining and educational!

Legacy Comments

Denis the SQL Menace
re: Becoming a Better Developer in 6 Months
>>Learn other non-Microsoft technologies.

Yep, I picked Django, PostegreSQL and Python myself

I also posted my progress for the first 10 days
Good luck


Chen Shapira
re: Becoming a Better Developer, plus a SQL Crime Drama!
Great idea indeed. The list is inspiring, and what's more, I just discovered that my favorite SQL Server blogger is actually a web developer.