Sunday, November 9, 2014

PASS Summit 2014 #summit14 #sqlfamily

I'm back home after an amazing week in Seattle for PASS Summit 2014. Love visiting Seattle, especially when there are lots of #SQLFamily there to enjoy it with!

I got into Seattle on Sunday afternoon via train from Portland. Was the first Amtrak train that I have ever been on and was a nice relaxing ride from Seattle to Portland. I guess I thought that I would see more of the coast on the train, didn't realize that it was going more inland, still some great scenary.

The week itself went by really fast with PASS meetings on Tuesday and the conference itself starting on Wednesday. My presentation on SSDT, "What Version of SSDT do I Need?" was on Wednesday afternoon, so it was good that I got that over with early in the week. I presented this session in the first set of Lightning Talk sessions with Brent Ozar, Luke Jian, Mark Vaillancourt, Tim Radney and Craig Purnell. Was great to share the spotlight with all of these speakers in a full room and we got through all of our presentations with time for questions at the end! Tim, Craig and I were all in the same Lightning Talk session at PASS Summit 2013 as well.

Below is the updated version of my slides, with a change to the table of SSDT versions, correcting a small oversight on my part.


With the presentation out of the way I was able to enjoy the other sessions and parties throughout the week and see as many of my #SQLFamily as possible. Overall the week went very well and I'm already looking forward to PASS Summit 2015 back in Seattle on October 27 - 30!

Thanks again to everyone that attended my session and I'm looking forward to an even better 2015!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

SQLSaturday Oregon & PASS Summit 2014 #sqlsat337 #Summit2014

Next week I'll be leaving for SQLSaturday #337 Oregon and PASS Summit 2014 where I will be speaking at both!

SQLSaturday #337 Oregon will be my first trip to Portland, so I'm looking forward to seeing a new city and speaking to the Oregon SQL Server community. My session will be "Date and Time Dimensions for Every Day and Time in No Time" at 1:15pm in Room 204 (keep your eye on the schedule page or Guidebook just in case it changes). I love giving this Date Dimension talk as it is something that every Data Warehouse needs and everyone hates setting them up, so I help with a single script and some advice. If you are going to be in the Portland area on Saturday, November 1st, please make sure you register and I'll see you next Saturday!

After SQLSaturday #337 I'll take the Amtrak from Portland to Seattle on Sunday for my favorite conference, PASS Summit 2014! PASS Summit is a yearly SQL Server conference that has thousands of SQL Server professionals and speakers from across the world. For the second PASS Summit in a row I'll be presenting a session. After attending this amazing conference yearly since 2007 I have become very involved in the SQL Server community and love that I now get to be part of speakers/volunteers that make this event great. I'll be presenting "What Version of SSDT do I Need?" at 3pm on Wednesday, November 5th in Room 606. I'll also be volunteering at the PASS Community Zone, so make sure to stop by and say hi!

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Portland and Seattle in a week and hanging out with my #SQLFamily at both events!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

SQLSaturday #300 and Other Posts

I'll hopefully be flying out of Denver first thing Friday morning for SQLSaturday #300 in Kansas City, assuming we don't get too much snow (currently only forecasting .2", so not too worried). Love visiting with all of my KC #SQLFamily each year and happy that I can get out there early Friday to do the BBQ Crawl! I'll be presenting my "Capture Change and Apply It with Change Data Capture and SSIS" (I really need to shorten that title) talk at 2:15pm on Saturday.

I was happy to contribute my first blog post to the RevGen Partners brand new UpShift blog this week, SQL Server Development Tools. Check it out if you are curious about what versions of SSDT work with what in the different versions of SQL Server.

I also had my review of Microsoft BI posted to the TrustRadius site as well today, "Why is Microsoft BI Right for Me?". I tried to present as fair of a review as I could based on my 10+ years of experience with the tools.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Denver SQL Server User Group August Meeting

It was great to present at the Denver SQL Server User Group again after a year plus on my birthday, last Thursday (8/21). I'm up in front doing the introductions and running the meetings every month, so no need to also present there all of the time too. :)

I presented a 30 minute version of the Date Dimension talk that I have done in many different forms over the last year (including a 10 minute version at PASS Summit 2013). Below is the link to download the slides and zip file with the SQL script to create a Date Dimension in seconds.



DATEDIMScripts.zip

Thanks again to everyone that attended the meeting, and looking forward to seeing you all again at the September meeting on 9/18. Also, don't forget the Denver SQLSaturday is coming up on 9/20 and we only have around 30 open registrations left before we start up the waitlist. Also there are 3 great pre-cons on 9/19 that only cost $125 for a full day of training. Go to http://denversqlsaturday.com to register for both!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mile High Tech Con - Demo/Slides #MHTechCon

Thank you to everyone that attended my "Capture Change and Apply it with Change Data Capture and SSIS" session at Mile High Tech Con on Saturday. I have uploaded the zip file that has both the demo solutions and the slides.


Thanks to Marc Beacom and all of the other volunteers at the Mile High Tech Con, was a great event and glad that there will be another technical event here in the Denver area each year!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mile High Tech Con #MHTechCon

My speaking calendar is really filling up! :)

I have been selected to speak at the Mile High Tech Con that will be held on July 24-26 at the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado! I will be presenting "Capture Change and Apply it With Change Data Capture & SSIS" on Saturday, July 26 @ 1pm. This is the first time this event has been put on in Denver and has 3 days of great content, Thursday and Friday are paid, longer sessions and Saturday is all free sessions. If you are in Denver that week, please check it out and if you use the promo code 14SK_SteveWake when you register for Thursday and/or Friday and save some money!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at this event in a few weeks!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Speaking at PASS Summit 2014! #Summit14

I am honored and thrilled to announce that I was selected for the 2nd year in a row to present a session at the PASS Summit! PASS Summit is an annual conference put on by PASS (Professional Association of SQL Server) with thousands of attendees from across the world, this year it is being held on November 4 - 7 in Seattle, WA. There will be over 200 different sessions presented by speakers from the community and Microsoft on a wide range of SQL Server topics in 5 different tracks. If you are interested in attending, please use this link to register and be sure to use the code UNSUMF59 when you register to get $150 off your registration fee (if you use it by this Friday 6/27 you will save a total of $450 off the full registration fee).

I will be doing a Lightning Talk (short 10 minute presentation) titled "What Version of SSDT do I Need?", which is a small part of the "Building a Better Workstation" presentation that I have already presented a couple of times. I'm sure that it will be a fun session as there are currently a lot of questions/issues with what versions of SSDT work with what in each version of SQL Server.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Seattle in November!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

BIG PASS and Next Week

Last Thursday evening I had the pleasure to present virtually to the BIG PASS group in Irvine, CA. BIG PASS is run by Mickey Stuewe (blog | Twitter) whom I have meet at the last 2 PASS Summits and multiple other PASS events over the years, was a great time presenting to the group and would love to do it again in the future. I presented my "Building a Better Workstation" session for the first time and to be honest it ran longer than I expected, just so much good stuff to talk about and some great questions from the audience as well. As promised, below is a link to download the slides for this presentation so that you can use all of the links provided in the slides.


Next week will be very busy for me! On Wednesday evening I will be doing presentation for the Denver .NET User Group called "Business Intelligence for the .NET Developer". Looking forward to talking to this group and talking about how my career changed from being a .NET Developer to a BI Consultant and how I think others could do the same (if they want to). If you are in the downtown Denver area on Wednesday evening around 5:30pm MT, please register and stop by!

Update: 6/19/2014 - Thanks to those that attended the Denver .NET group last night, below are the slides from that presentation:


On Thursday morning I will be doing the FREE Pragmatic Works webinar series "Training on the T's" again @ 9am MT/11am ET. I will be presenting the "Building a Better Workstation" session and try my best to get it into the 45 minute timeframe! This is a free webinar, so register here if you are available at 9am MT/11am ET on Thursday. If you can't attend at that time there will be a recording of the whole session posted at a later time and I will update this post with that link once it is available. Looking forward to doing another session for this great series!

Update 6/19/2014 - Thanks to everyone that attended my Pragmatic Works "Training on the T's" session "Building a Better Workstation" the slides are the same as in the first attachment above in this post, so feel free to download them. The video link for this should be posted in the next few days, I'll post that link here as soon as I get it.

Then on Thursday evening will be the Denver SQL Server User Group June meeting at 5:30pm MT in the Microsoft DTC office (7595 Technology Way, Suite 400, Denver, CO 80237). Andy Vold (Twitter) will be presenting "SQL 2014 In-Memory OLTP – What, Why, and How" and Chris Shaw (blog | Twitter) will be presenting "What is the Best Disaster Recovery Solution?". For more details on both of these sessions and our group, please go to denversql.org. All of our meetings are FREE and we try to make as much time for networking as possible at every meeting.

Friday I'm planning on attending my first TDWI meeting at the June Denver meeting. Should be a good meeting with Laura Reeves presenting "Data: The Real Power Behind Today’s Technology". If you are interested in attending this meeting on Friday from 1pm - 4pm MT at Innovation Pavilion (9200 E Mineral Ave, Centennial, CO 80112) make sure you register at this link for this FREE event.

Overall a very busy week for me, but that is way better than just sitting around bored! :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PowerPoint Export for SSRS Reports

Recently I put together a review of options available to export SSRS reports to PowerPoint. For those that have used SSRS for a while you know that it supports many different export formats including PDF, Excel, CSV, XML, TIFF, HTML and more recently Word and Atom data feeds. From those formats you can handle most capabilities that users are looking for, but a major hole still exists for use in PowerPoint. Since PowerPoint is part of the Microsoft Office suite you would think that Microsoft would want to cover all of the bases, especially after they added Word as an export format with SSRS 2008R2. But even as of SSRS 2014 there is still no native support to export to PowerPoint in SSRS. The below evaluation was meant to be as exhaustive as possible, but I'm sure there are some other ways that it can be done with automation or other means that I missed as it gets to the point where it just more and more steps to get it done.

After I created this documentation I did find that it is possible to use the Atom data feed to create a Power View report using that feed and then take advantage of the native PowerPoint export that is built into Power View. There is some documentation on this on TechNet, but this option requires SharePoint 2010 Enterprise with SSRS in integrated mode and Excel 2013 to put it all together. There are also some capabilities in Word/PowerPoint to embed Objects that reference the SSRS reports, but this is very similar to the LiveWeb option and I had a bunch of issues getting it work on my test system, so I chose not to mention it in the options below.

If you have found any other ways to get SSRS reports exported to PowerPoint, please post in the comments below and share it! There is a Microsoft Connect ticket that was created back in 2007 to add PowerPoint as a native export that is still active, if you want to see if we can get it added make sure to vote it up!

Summary


Aspose.Slides
LiveWeb
Custom Renderer
SSRS Word
SSRS Excel
SSRS TIFF
Easy to Install/Configure
3
3
1
4
4
4
Ease of Upgrading with SSRS
3
4
1
4
4
4
Report Changes Necessary
3
3
4*
4
4
4
Pages on Separate Slides
4
0
4*
1
0
2
Cost+
0
4
0
2
2
2
Average
2
3
2
3
3
3
Total
13
14
10
15
14
16

* Assuming renderer includes all capabilities
+ Lower rating when there is a cost ($ and/or man hours) separate from existing SSRS license


3rd Party SSRS Rendering Extensions
There are 2 possibilities that I found for this option, Aspose.Slides and LiveWeb. Aspose.Slides is a full SSRS rendering extension that works with all current versions of SSRS and adds multiple formats of PowerPoint export to ReportViewer (as shown in screenshot below):


Aspose.Slides supports all types of reports (tables, matrix, charts, graphs, etc.) that can be built in SSRS and will work with Report Builder. Some formatting of the reports will need to be taken into consideration to paginate properly in the PowerPoint exports, not that different than what has to be thought about for PDF export (make sure to setup landscape, margins, etc.). The install is very easy and for most installs does everything automatically even with multiple instances on the same computer. There is a cost associated with this as it is provided by Aspose, it is hard to tell which pricing structure will work best as is depends on the number of developers and servers they would plan to roll it out on. This page on Aspose’s site shows the pricing at a high level. This is the only option that will provide full PowerPoint export capabilities out of the box without extra steps.

LiveWeb is a freeware add-on for PowerPoint that allows you to embed a browser window in any PowerPoint slide. With this add-on a PowerPoint slide can be setup to point to a specific report on the SSRS server using the URL access built-in to SSRS to render the report inside of the slide. Because this is a browser embedded in the slide there will be no pagination as SSRS when accessed via a browser will assume that you do not want to see pagination and will make the whole report available by scrolling up and down in the browser window. This does also provide the capability to interact with the report within even the PowerPoint when it is in slide show mode, but if this is just being used to show static slides and each page is expected to be on a separate slide, this option will not work for that scenario. The install is very easy and works with all versions of PowerPoint from 2007 and forward. No changes will be required for the SSRS reports to work with this add-on.

Build Custom SSRS Rendering Extension

SSRS was built with the ability to extend/enhance all parts of the product by writing custom .NET code to do whatever the user would like if it is not something provided out of the box. While these extensions to SSRS can be very easy to write for some parts of the product, it can be extremely difficult for others. I have written a custom security extension for SSRS in the past and it only took a day or two to fully code and test. When I researched this for writing a custom rendering extension (Microsoft considers anything that shows the SSRS report in another form a renderer, even if it is only for export) the MSDN article specifically states that it is difficult and “requires you to implement hundreds of classes, interfaces, methods, and properties.” The other major issue with writing a custom rendering extension is there is no guarantee that the extension you write for SSRS 2012 will work with SSRS 2014 or any other future version as Microsoft is always changing the API for SSRS and those changes may break what previously worked fine. I saw this first hand with the security extension that I wrote originally for SSRS 2005, that had to be re-written for SSRS 2008R2. With custom rendering extensions the code has to know how to handle anything someone will put into an SSRS report, so that is what makes it that much more difficult to write. Because these extensions are written in a .NET language (C# or VB.NET) it will require a full license for Visual Studio as the BIDS (Business Intelligence Development Studio) and SSDT (SQL Server Developer Tools) do not include the capabilities to create C# or VB.NET projects. With Visual Studio 2013 it is possible to use the Express version that is free for this kind of development.

Use included export formats (PDF, Word, Excel, CSV, XML, TIFF, HTML)

It is possible to use the export formats that come with SSRS and still allow them to be shown in PowerPoint. Most of these options will require multiple steps to complete and may require manual intervention to complete successfully, but they will not cost anything extra in dollars to implement. The easiest to setup is using the Word export that is new with SSRS 2008R2, with this export you can easily copy/paste the Word version into a PowerPoint deck or even use the embedding of Word documents directly into PowerPoint (Word exports may have issues with pagination depending on the report and how it is formatted). With both the Word and Excel exports it would be possible for SSRS to be setup to automatically export the required reports to a file share on the network on a pre-defined schedule and then have the links to those files already setup in the PowerPoint decks and only require someone to open those decks and refresh them to get the latest version of the data from the reports. The other export formats supported by SSRS are not very helpful for embedding in PowerPoint. While it would seem that the TIFF (image) format would work, as it is just an image and it does generate an image per page, the issue I found in testing is that PowerPoint does not understand how to handle multiple pages in a TIFF image when importing it into a slide, so only the first page is imported. It would be possible to use another application to separate this single TIFF file by page, but that would be an extra step/process (freeware Image Magick can do this split via command line).

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pick Me! :) #NomCom #PASSVotes

I am running for one of the seats on the PASS Nomination Committee (NomCom) to help select the candidates for this year's PASS Board of Directors election later this year and to help streamline the election process. As a member of the NomCom I want to make sure that I represent each person that is part of the SQL Server/PASS community, so please take a few minutes to go to my profile page and then vote for me when you receive the email on Tuesday, June 3rd from PASS!

Over the years I have increased my involvement with PASS as a volunteer in many ways, which are highlighted below:
As I have increased my involvement with PASS as a volunteer I have enriched myself and others in ways that I would never have imagined. I was recognized by my peers last year with the PASS Outstanding Volunteer award for November 2013, which was an amazing acknowledgement from them. I saw the opportunity to run for the PASS NomCom as my next step in volunteering for the PASS community.

If you would like to see me represent each of you on the PASS Nomination Committee, please vote for me from June 3 - June 6 using the email you receive from PASS! I look forward to helping each of you have a voice in this very important process for the PASS community. If you have any specific questions for me or that you want to make sure I ask to the candidates, please reach out to me through email, Twitter or LinkedIn.