Golden nuggets - SQL Saturday Exeter 2014

I returned yesterday from attending SQL Saturday 269 in Exeter. As always the SQL community has pulled together to provide a fantastic day of free training for the attendees.

I always consider an event like this a success if I achieve two things:

  1. I come away with a “Golden Nugget” of learning
  2. I meet some new people

This year I achieved both of those, and I had a great time seeing people I know from previous SQL events.

Golden Nugget

My “Golden Nugget” from SQL Saturday this year was BIML. I had heard of BIML, but I had never really looked into what it actually is and what it is capable of doing. I attended two sessions which discussed BIML:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Automating your BI framework – Stacia Misner (@StaciaMisner)

Automate your SSIS with BIML – Andre Kamman (@AndreKamman)

Both of these sessions combined to give a great functional and technical overview of what BIML can and should be used for and how to get started using it.

To be honest, I wish I had seen these sessions a year ago as they would have saved me a lot of time with at big BI project that I worked on that had a lot of SSIS packages that could have been created using BIML.

That is one of the best things about attend an event like SQL Saturday – you come away with new ideas for approaching challenges that you come across in your daily job.

Bonus Nugget

This year, the last session I attended was a “Bonus nugget”, that is something that was really interesting but much harder to find an immediate use for in my daily job.

An Introduction to R – Stephanie Locke (@SteffLocke)

This session introduced the R language for analysing data and building charts, graphs, reports, documents and a cup of tea! It was a session that sparked ideas, it was also a lot of fun for the last session of the day.

Make the Effort

So again, thanks to all involved in organising, presenting and helping at SQL Saturday Exeter and at all other community events that allow us all to meet and share knowledge.

For those who have never attended a community event, I strongly encourage you to make the time and effort to attend as you learn so much and meet so many interesting people.

SQL Saturdays happen pretty much every week around the world -

SQL User Groups in the UK happen on a regular basis -

SQL Relay is happening in October 2014 around the UK -

SQL Bits is happening in July -

SQL Pass, the place to look for global user groups and conferences -

And then there are other user groups that may be of interest:

SharePoint User Group -

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