This past week, I made the goal of automating the deployment of our first SSRS report at work. I created the report and after adding the report to source control, my Object Explorer looked like the image below.
I added my solution to source control and synced the project up to Github. However, when my colleague tried to clone the repo and open the Report Project, they saw an image like the one below.
However, this method of interacting with SSRS reports is not what we are used to seeing. I tried several internet searches, but I was unable to find why the Reports folder was missing from the solution. I finally started clicking around happened to find an icon that displayed Solutions and Folders.
Clicking on the Solutions and Foldersicon returned the Reports folder in the Solution Explorer window.
If you find yourself looking at an SSRS Report in Visual Studio, but you don’t see the Shared Data Sources, Shared Data Sets, or Reports folders try to selecting Solutions and Folders. You might be using looking at the project
I’ve always loved solving problems. As a kid, I would get books of Logic Puzzles to solve. My favorite video game was Minesweeper. In the beginning of my career, I would get stuck on a problem one night and wake up in the morning with a possible solution. Things seemed to be easy. I had been warned by friends that this wouldn’t always be the case, but I still wasn’t ready for when everything changed.
A couple of years ago, I started presenting on the concept of tSQLt (https://tsqlt.org/) for database unit testing. It can from a place of need. My team needed a way to test their code, and I wanted to help them. I was also starting to embrace automation for all things database. I decided that the best way to buy-in for unit testing was to automate the process. The next step was to figure out how.
That started me on a multi-year journey to solve this riddle. What I ignored at the time was that not only was I trying to solve this riddle, but I also had all sorts of things changing in my life at the same time. I had some health issues pop-up and some of them caused a deep level of self-doubt in my ability to think through problems. I also spent the better part of a year writing a book. Unfortunately, that led me to only focus on how much time had passed without a solution.
As I started 2020, I was growing increasingly frustrated that I could not solve this problem. I had even presented on tSQLt at PASS Summit and most likely heard the answer from Sebastian Meine (w|t) during the Q&A portion of my session. But it still wasn’t clicking for me. As the frustration grew, the imposter syndrome started to spike. Reaching out on Twitter, I got some advice from SQLGrrl (t|b) reminding me to work on solving one small step at a time.
Within two weeks of implementing this advice, I had the solution I needed. I still remained frustrated at how long it took me to solve the problem. I ended up sharing my frustration with myself to another IT professional and was reassured that this is fairly common. Being on the other side of this situation, I wanted to share with others that there’s hope if you’re in the same situation. And I hope I find this article myself if I end up in the same situation again.
It’s that time again for T-SQL Tuesday! This month’s host is Glenn Berry (b|t). He’s organized a Folding@Home (FAH) team for SQL Family to help with biomedical research. We, as a world, are in the midst of a SARS-CoV-2 (also referred to as COVID-19) pandemic. For many of us, this pandemic has changed many aspects of our day to day life. Glenn’s invite asks us what we are doing as a response to COVID-19.
These are interesting times indeed, and many of us are trying to do what we can to help. I’m really thankful for those that are able to help during this time. My sister-in-law has been busy sewing masks for her family and community. A friend of mine printed a face shield for a nurse I know. In addition to Glenn Berry using FAH, Tim Radney (b|t) has also been 3D printing ear savers for healthcare workers. This is all amazing work!
I wish I could say I had been as altruistic or as helpful. I’ve been focusing on ensuring that the loved ones in my house are relatively unaffected by quarantine life. There’s been a number of changes in our house. The largest of changes is that I have been working from home for the past five weeks. While we did start on a project to add on to our house, that project is still underway.
Working from home full-time is a change in and of itself, but to do so while also having a construction underway in the house has been an additional challenge. There have also been two high school students that have been at home going to school. Our house is not large, and we’re doing the best to make do. I’ll be honest, I wish I could say I was doing more to help those outside of my immediate house but that wouldn’t be accurate.
My focus has been on keeping us comfortable while not taking others for granted. We have our face masks from my sister-in-law. And a friend of ours 3D printed a face shield for a nurse we know. The nurse is a good friend and has been performing COVID-19 testing as one of the drive-thru locations in our area. For those at home that are working to keep your family and loved ones fed and cared for, you are doing enough. I know I am trying to do enough. These are not usual times, and if we can accept that then we can accept our own best efforts.
It’s the second Tuesday of the month, and that means it’s time for T-SQL Tuesday. This month Jess Pomfret (b|t) asked us what we use as life hacks to make our lives easier. There are many different ways that I look to streamline my day-to-day tasks. Some of the methods I use include automating repetitive tasks or learning how to break up complex tasks into smaller components. However, over the past year I undertook a significant project outside of my day job. This project was something I decided to do after hours.
The objective of this opportunity was to write a book. When I initially started writing the book I began by typing everything I wanted to say. I quickly discovered that I was thinking of what I wanted to say faster than I could get the words written on the computer. I also remembered that over the past couple of years I have spent quite a bit of time speaking at SQL Saturdays and PASS Summit. When I’m speaking I often let the flow of what I’m trying to say come naturally. I decided to try that method while writing the book.
Once I purchased the dictation software and a wireless headset, I was able to more easily express the information that I wanted to share. I will say I have found that dictating still works differently than speaking. I often think more thoroughly through what I want to say and pause more frequently than I would if I were presenting in front of a group. I have found dictating what I want to write does reduce my frustration with trying to get the words out of my head and into text.
I’m still developing a method as to how I would like to dictate text for blog posts. One of the reasons I consider this a life pack for my purposes is dictating my blog posts helps me get in the right mindset where I am focused on the task at hand. If you’ve tried to get into technical writing or writing a blog post, I would recommend looking at alternative methods to accomplish that goal.
This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Jon Shaulis (b|t). The topic for month asks us to consider have we experienced imposter syndrome and if so, how did we work through those feelings. This imposter syndrome can be problematic. I’ve found this level of self-doubt is miserable. In that past I have struggled with imposter syndrome to the point that it has affected my confidence in my ability to do a good job.
Thankfully, #SqlFamily has been there for me. I’m not entirely certain if I would have given up without that support, but I do know I am thankful every day for those individuals that have helped me along the way. Rob Volk (b|t) first referred me to a presentation by a woman in IT. Unfortunately, I am unable to remember her name, but the name of the presentation was something like “Why I suck”.
While I’d love to say that presentation solved all of my problems, it didn’t right away. What it did teach me is that it was impossible for me to know everything, to have all the answers. The lesson was that there is too much information for any of us to know all of it. Because we are surrounded by the knowledge of what we know and don’t know, we are incapable of accurately determining how much knowledge we actually have as compared to the whole.
Either way, that was a beginning. The lesson didn’t sink in until I worked for Rie Irish (b|t) a while ago. I was on a team that believed in me and encouraged me. Even when I doubted myself. Each new challenge, I may have doubted myself. But each time I completed that task, I chipped away at all of the fear and self-doubt.
Over time I got to the point where I learned I could believe in myself. In general, the rest of my self-doubt mattered less and less. I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful. If you have questions or you are struggling with imposter syndrome reach out to me or to your data professional peers. You may find we have a very differeny opinion of your skills that you have yourself.
Garry Bargsley (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community. Garry Bargsley kicks the year off right asking the following questions:
Kicking off the T-SQL Tuesday season for 2019, I would like to ask, what does “Automate All the Things” mean to you?
So technically there are two tasks for this month:
What do you want to automate or what automation are you proud of completing
What is your go-to technology for automation?
“Automate All the Things” is a methodology, a change in perspective. I recently had a friend ask me which came first consistency or automation. It’s a valid point. I believe automation is the what is accomplished as a result of consistency. That consistency is built by defining processes and having discipline to keep those processes. Consistency not only makes it easier to standardize processes (and train new employees), but it also means that I’m less likely to make mistakes.
One of my first automation projects was to implement continuous integration for database deployments. However, I did not realize how automation was going to fundamentally change how I see software development. When picking my tools I considered what tools were already used for our application deployment. I ended up using Visual Studio, SSDT, TeamCity, Octopus Deploy, and PowerShell to create, build, and deploy database projects.
Once realized the power of automation, I couldn’t get enough. My next goal is to get more familiar with PowerShell and dbatools to not only automate creating a distributed Availability Group but also building and configuring the VMs necessary to create my home lab.
Malathi Mahadevan (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community.
Malathi has asked us to:
Pick one thing you want to learn that is not SQL Server. Write down ways and means to learn it and add it as another skill to your resume. If you are already learning it or know it – explain how you got there and how it has helped you. Your experience may help many others looking for guidance on this.
Earlier this year, I decided I wanted to create a home lab. I originally planned to build a domain controller and other virtual machines for the home lab. Then I realized that SQL Server on containers may be able to help me solve several issues regarding licensing and resources. At that time, I realized I could also use containers to create full build pipeline including TeamCity and Octopus Deploy.
At first I tried to start in sequential order and create a TeamCity container. I had previously used TeamCity on my desktop, so I figured it would be easy. I quickly realized I had no idea what to do to even get the TeamCity image running.
I was reminded that years ago I decided I wanted to be a Database Administrator. At the time I learned that I had no idea how to learn. I had to figure out how I learned. I ultimately came to realize that my primary learning method is auditory.
I also began to realize that I see all knowledge as interconnected building blocks. Some building blocks already have a foundation or points where I can join them with knowledge I already have. In other cases, I have no or little previous knowledge. In these cases, it takes me significantly longer to learn that topic.
Using this information, I started watching videos on pass.org. My next step was to install Docker for Windows. Once that was done, I started spinning up some images for SQL Server. Now that I’ve gotten comfortable with containers, I’m starting to look into using Kubernetes and potentially building an Availability Group on containers.