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RTFM365

December 1, 2010 News-ish, sql server, sqlserverpedia-syndication, SSC 27 Comments

Physicians have primum non nocere – a Latin phrase that means “First, do no harm”. (Thank you, WikiPedia.)  I think for techies, our principal precept is primum RTFM.  (Here’s more Wikipedia, if you missed the joke.)

I don’t know as much about SQL Server as I should, or as I would like. I have at my disposal uncounted blogs, books, articles, magazines, seminars, webinars, deep-dive courses, conferences, MVPs, forums (fori?), and #SQLHelp on Twitter. This wealth of information is a great blessing, but it carries with it the curse of the information age: What to read, and when, and why, and for how long?  I have neglected the basics…I have not primum RTFM.  Brothers and sisters, it is time that I start.

For the next year, I will read from SQL Server Books Online – the FM, in this case – a little every day, and blog about it weekly.  Is this project sexy? No.  Exciting? Not so much. 

Useful? Educational? Interesting? You bet your Shasta.

Here is an excerpt from an email with Don Gill (Twitter, blog), the primary POC for BOL content. Don spoke about this in our interview at PASS Summit 2010, so I’m going to presume he’s good with the reprint. (All emphases are mine.)

…the most recent release of BOL was approximately 8.5 million localizable words (eg, non-boilerplate, precanned), was translated to 12 core languages with portions translated to a total of 23 languages world-wide. In addition to BOL itself, SQL content ships in partnership with Office, Windows, Visual Studio, the .NET SDK and several standalone applications (eg, Reporting Services, Data-Mining Plugins, Dashboards, etc). As a frame of reference for visualizing the size of BOL, the King James version of the Bible only has 775K words (though it is undoubtedly translated to more languages than BOL). Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (translated to English) has only 560K words. Simply put, we write, augment and maintain “War and Peace” from beginning to end, more than 15 times in a given two to three year period.

8.5 million words…the mind boggles.

There’s no way I’ll get through all of BOL in a year. There’s very little chance I’ll hit every major area of BOL. But I intend to learn quite a lot, just by reading TFM. 

Come on boys and girls, sing along, okay? Download SQL Server Books Online from Technet, and follow along with this blog series via the RTFM365 tag.

Happy, informative days,
Jen McCown
http://www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen

Currently there are "27 comments" on this Article:

  1. Todd says:

    Which books online version will you be using 2008 or 2008R2? ( I can see the linky goes to 2008 but I was wondering… )

    Good Idea and Good Reminder by the way!

  2. Jen McCown says:

    Todd,

    I reserve the right to skip around, but it’ll (nearly always) be 2008 and above. I’ll note the version I’m reading with each summary blog.

    I fully expect sometimes I’ll jump into R2 and Denali. The joy of this project (like most of my projects) is flexibility within the basic premise.

    Rule: Read from BOL daily, blog weekly.

    All else follows as it pleases me, and my gentle readers. :)

    Thx!

  3. HIGH FIVE! “Primum RTFM.” That’s awesome. I want a poster with that on it. Cafe Press?

  4. I am so inspired by this post! Can I steal the idea? Of course I will focus on the BI content…

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jen & Sean McCown, Jen & Sean McCown. Jen & Sean McCown said: RT @ryanjadams "Blog: RTFM365: .. http://bit.ly/ghqbDH <<RTFM that's GOLD I say!" < Wow, thanks man! [...]

  6. Keith Mescha says:

    Great idea just used RTFM yesterday, but in your links I really, really like JFGI. Been using that as well minus the F part but think it’s time to add it.

    Look forward to following along.

  7. [...] move on to something else. When reading a BOL like Jen McCown is planning to do as described in her blog my eyes to to go blurry after about 2 minutes. That’s just not my style. Everyone has there [...]

  8. Piotr Rodak says:

    That sounds like quite an interesting idea Jen, I will be looking forward to your posts.
    :)

  9. [...] of mini-gadget (and suchlike) review for the holidays. I also wrote my project kickoff blog post, RTFM365, wherein I detail my love of BOL and my committment to being called “Pinal” for an [...]

  10. Jen McCown says:

    Why, thanks Piotr! See you there….er, here. -Jen

  11. [...] I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly.  See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

  12. Don Gill says:

    That’s a pretty big undertaking. I don’t think that I know of anyone who has actually read through all of BOL (agnostic of version).

    I would be really interested in hearing your feedback. Best of luck!

  13. Jen McCown says:

    Ah, read carefully Don…I said I’d read BOL for a year, not that I could get through all 8.5 million words of it! I’ll keep you posted, but check back here from time to time, too…
    -J

  14. Don Gill says:

    Lolz! Fair enough.

  15. [...] few days ago I read post of Jen McCown (blog) about her idea of blogging about random articles from Books Online. I think [...]

  16. Piotr Rodak says:

    Hey Jen, I tagged my post RTFM365 too if you don’t mind…
    :)

  17. [...] now), I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly. See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

  18. [...] now), I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly. See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

  19. [...] now), I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly. See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

  20. [...] now), I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly. See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

  21. [...] now), I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly. See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

  22. [...] now), I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly. See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

  23. [...] now), I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly. See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 [...]

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