T-SQL Tuesday #123: Life hacks to make your day easier

Invitation from Jess Promfret.

So here we are, the first Tuesday of February. I personally always find February to be the month where my motivation is a little low. I live in the northern hemisphere so it can be a pretty dreary winter month where it still feels like there is a long way to spring (I will say this January I moved from Ohio back to England and the distinct lack of piles of snow is helping this cause somewhat). This makes my topic even more relevant as we need a little extra help to be productive and get through the month.

My topic is looking for your favourite ‘life hack’, something you use to make your day easier. This could be anything from a keyboard shortcut in SSMS that runs ‘sp_whoisactive’, to a technique you use to get and stay organised.  It doesn’t have to be directly related to a technology, just whatever you use to make your life easier.

Now, I’m personally a huge proponent of using keyboard shortcuts to get things done faster. In the last year or so I’ve started using Visual Studio Code as my editor of choice and the number of little ‘life hacks’ I’ve found has grown incredibly. I’m going to share a couple that I use often to get your ideas flowing.

Multiline Select – Ctrl + Alt+ Direction Key

This is something I love for formatting queries, among other things. I know you can use T-SQL to generate some queries from the metadata but if you have a list of tables you want to truncate, for example, you can easily accomplish this. Select the start of each line by using Ctrl + Alt + down direction key, add the TRUNCATE TABLE text and then press end to get to the end of each line, no matter the length, to add the semicolon.

The other use I have for this hack is to generate names and descriptions of Active Directory groups for tickets to have them created.  At my previous job we created read and admin groups for databases that users could then request access to. Multiline select made this really easy to generate the required information.

You can use multiline select at the beginning of the row. Start by selecting the first word and copying it (Ctrl+C), then you can type to format your group name. For example, I put SqlDb- before the database name and then -Read afterwards.  Pressing enter at the end of the group name will create a second line for all three groups where you can add the description. Notice I can now use paste (Ctrl+V) to add the database name that we copied from each line.

This ability to change multiple lines at once is really powerful and once you get the hang of what you can do with it you’ll find so many opportunities.

Change all occurrences – Ctrl + F2

A similar hack to my first, VS Code also lets you change multiple occurrences of characters. I say characters because you can select whole words, parts of words, or even punctuation. This is really handy, for example, for formatting a comma separated list on one row into a list with each value on a separate row.

Carrying on from my previous example, now that we have formatted the group names and description. I can select the word ‘Read’ and replace all with ‘Admin’. Just like that I have all I need to get the group request off to the help desk for creation.

Command Palette –  F1 or Ctrl+Shift+P

VS Code also has a really great Command Palette that offers a lot more for you to explore. A few of my favourites are:
– Sort Lines Ascending/Descending – Select some lines in VS Code and easily alphabetise them.
– Git: Undo Last Commit – Rescue that last commit back from your source control. Useful if you realised a second too late you committed to the wrong branch.
– File: Compare Active File With – This clearly highlights differences between two files.

Over to you

I hope my VS Code life hacks have got your ideas flowing, so now it’s over to you.

T-SQL Tuesday #122 – Imposter Syndrome

Invitation from Jon Shaulis

As we enter the new year, I’m sure many of us are setting goals, resolutions, or perhaps beginning new challenges. Change can often be terrifying, but that’s how we grow. With this in mind, the topic I’d like us to write about this month is “Imposter Syndrome”.

Imposter syndrome isn’t a topic I’ve seen addressed before via T-SQL Tuesday and this is an issue I’ve commonly seen in the IT industry.

Imposter Syndrome – The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.

https://www.lexico.com/definition/impostor_syndrome

I can assure you that if you have felt this way before, you are not alone. People in the community who I would consider experts have stated they felt (and sometimes still feel) imposter syndrome. These are people with more experience than years I’ve existed on this planet and they still feel this way. Coincidentally, this triggers my own imposter syndrome when I think about that.

T-SQL Tuesday Topic

I want to read your stories about when you’ve experienced, seen, or overcome imposter syndrome! Was there a job that you felt you were ill-prepared for? Did you make a mistake or did someone say something that made you question if you were a true data professional? Maybe there was a particular task you ran into that made you question your experience? Did you resolve your tasks and succeed in your job? How did you overcome that feeling of being an imposter and solve your challenges? Maybe you haven’t experienced it yourself but you saw someone who was feeling imposter syndrome, were you able to help them?

You can be technical or non-technical with this post, the goal is to share experiences to help those also experiencing imposter syndrome. Maybe you are still feeling it, sometimes walking through your challenges can help you brainstorm solutions.