On Saturday I (unexpectedly) presented at Dallas’ first Business Intelligence-focused SQL Saturday at the Microsoft campus in Irving. I wasn’t on the planning committee for this one, but I had the inside scoop: This event was only NTSSUG’s second, and came just six months after our inaugural SQL Saturday. It was intended to be very low hassle and no frills; there were a few sponsors, adequate refreshments, no new speaker shirts, and some swag.
On the downside, I think the “minimalist” feel and the BI focus served to narrow down our audience, especially on the speakers side. We had over 200 attendees, very near the venue’s capacity, so it was a success. But we had a high number of speaker cancellations. Both Tim Mitchell and Sean (NTSSUG board members) ended up presenting three sessions apiece, and I was tapped at the last minute (about 40 hours before the event) to fill a gap in the lineup.
So, my session. I’m going to say it went relatively well, considering (a) the short time in which I had to prepare, and (b) the fact that I usually stick to teaching T-SQL topics. Despite a couple of tornado drills during my session time, we had a reasonably good time going through the material. The session was a ground-level SSRS introduction, and I feel I really fell short when it came to answering the questions at the end. Everyone was kind, though, and I’m not crying into my beer about it. Oh, and for those of you who attended, a couple of notes:
- Thanks for coming. No, really…and thanks for coming back after the tornado drill.
- Expressions in SSRS 05 and 08 are written in MS Visual Basic. See: Using Expressions (Report Builder 3.0 and SSRS)
- For good SSRS blogs, see Jes Borland (blog, Twitter) and Stacia Misner (blog, Twitter)
- I HIGHLY recommend Microsoft Press’ “SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Step by Step“, also by Stacia Misner.
Bottom line: While small and somewhat difficult for planners (high dropout rate), the event was valuable for attendees and worth the effort.
One more word: I got THE kindest comment on the last blog, from Chris Nelson:
I think the material that was presented at this SQL Saturday was better than the one in May due to the focus on BI. I was able to absorb tons of info on SSIS from Sean and Tim that three books haven’t managed to convey. …
Guess I’ll need to start Twittering and Blogging now, changes in my company are making me into an accidental DBA in addition to the other 3 hats I wear. Thank God for the folks at the NTSSUG!
Thanks, Chris. We always like to know what we do makes a difference.