I'm giving a pre-con seminar at SQLBits 7 on September 30 this year in York (the Old one, in Yorkshire – similar to the New one, but with different songs). Let me quickly explain a few things about it – to help you persuade your boss to let you attend (and when you've done the persuading, go here and pick the "Full Conference" option).
It's on the topic of Advanced T-SQL, but from a very practical perspective. I'm not going to be going into the uses of ranking functions or recursive CTEs as I have done with courses I've written in the past. Instead, I'll be spending time looking at a bunch of things that I find most people don't know about their queries, and show how various things can impact those queries' execution plans. So it's not so much Advanced features, but deeper aspects of the T-SQL you already know.
For example, I'll look at a query that Denny Cherry and I discussed a while back, and consider how various things could be addressed using aspects of T-SQL such as sorting by aggregated fields with GROUP BY. By considering the impact of something like this, seeing where it can be used safely and where it can't be used safely, hopefully you will be able to make better decisions about your T-SQL code and the methods you choose to solve problems.
Why do I want to speak on this topic? After all, it can be a lot of fun to talk about ranking functions or recursive CTEs – that's functionality that a lot of people don't really leverage, and it can help solve a lot of problems. But the things that I'm going to cover will help your overall understanding of T-SQL, and give you practical ways to improve a lot of the queries that you've written in the past. I will show you how to make your queries simpler, but better.
I remember one of the first times I explained some of these things to someone. They said "Wow, you're making me want to go back and reconsider every query I've ever written." That's the kind of feedback that I'm hoping to get from the attendees.
Some of the points I'll make will overlap will things that I covered in my SQLBits talk from last November (as reviewed by Phil Nolan – it was also Ian Russell's favourite talk), and things that I covered in the 24 Hours of PASS in May (as reviewed by HanSQL). They were both popular talks, and hopefully people who attend the whole day of material will also get a lot out of it.
Being a pre-con, it does have a cost associated with it (the free event is on the Saturday). But I guess it comes down to the value. If you have a budget for training this year and want to find something to spend it on, then the paid portions of SQLBits (including my seminar of course!) are definitely worthwhile. If you don't write T-SQL, then maybe one of the Chris' (Webb or Testa) talks on SSRS or SSAS, or Brent Ozar's session on Virtualisation could be for you (but be careful – he spells Virtualisation with a Z), or Buck Woody's session maybe. There are seven to choose from (the others are Klaus and Maciej), and I'm sure they'll all be excellent.
So get yourself to sqlbits.com and start planning a trip to Yorkshire.
I've also submitted some sessions for the main conference, so if you're keen to see more, get up to York for the whole three days of Sep 30 to Oct 2 and be prepared to learn something. Having been a part of SQLBits V in South Wales (also the Old one), I can assure you this is one of the world's top SQL events and shouldn't be missed. It'll also be a highlight for me as my latest year of being an MVP ends on September 30. Hopefully October 1 will bring a renewed award, but if it doesn't, then this pre-con will be the last thing I do as an MVP.