One benefit of a two year beta program was not only a quality product but sample databases and code that were refined and accurate. Yes, we had to wait a long time for Yukon in 2005, but it was worth it! OK, we all know about the AdventureWorks Bicycle Company but I quickly forgot the Pubs and Northwind databases as lightweight memories. Instead of 23 rows in a table we had some tables with over 100,000 rows. Wow! Books Online also had countless code examples that actually worked. And they conveyed the concepts very well. Someone had the time to do a few QA cycles in those days.
As an instructor, I remember that I could delve into Books Online, copy a piece of code and demonstrate a concept straight away with confidence. An example was Data Partitioning. A sample table would be partitioned using a Partition Function and a Partition Scheme. The code would also add the required File Groups first to act as Partitions. The Sliding Window scenario that showed how to archive off the latest partition while making room for a new one had sample code and diagrams to convey the concept of archiving using Merge, Split and Switch meta-data changes alone. Someone really worked hard to make sure the code was accurate.
I have developed many technical courses including lab work and understand how hard it is to get things accurate and stable. Of course, it’s not far removed from Application Development and multiple QA cycles. Try to cut the QA short and ultimately you pay for it. One development manager I worked with did not believe in QA at all. He believed that QA made the developers lazy who would therefore hand untested code to the QA team. In my experience, developers actually have pride in their code and do not want QA throwing it back with lots of red-ink. But if a decision is made to cut QA it is almost always a mistake.
In SQL Server 2005, somebody spent a long time developing the Enterprise sample for the Business Intelligence Solution based on AdventureWorks. This is usually stored under the C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Samples\AdventureWorks Analysis Services Project. The 2005 version is delivered with 2008. I know they spent a lot of time on it because there are amazing features in it like horizontal partitioning, perspectives, translations to French and Spanish, realistic data mining, meaningful KPIs and Actions that include a hyperlink from a City name attribute value to a Map on the internet. In the Cube structure diagram, someone even had time to straighten out the relationship lines! Whew!
OK, you’re thinking “somebody had a lot of time on their hands!” but you can tell that someone had the time AND passion to create one of the best samples I have seen in any product. Here’s to having the time to do a great job.
Author: Brian Egler