The last six months and the future of SQL Agent Insight

Hi Everyone.

It’s been some time since I’ve written a blog post, and I haven’t released a newer version of SQL Agent Insight since February; the life outside of my day job (Senior Data Architect) and my hobbies has been a busy one for the family and myself. The past six months can be summarized as follows (and the vehicles have the kilometers and repair bills to prove it):

An aerial view of our new home in Connaught, Ontario.
  • April and June saw a couple of trips north to view the house we eventually did buy. A sweet lakeside house with a cottage for guests. This is something my wife and I have wanted for some time, and we were able to make it happen.
    • The return trip from up north in June resulted in a blown trailer tire though. This was an experience. We did have an extra tire, but no means of changing it ourselves. Luckily, a garage (which was closed on the Sunday) had a gentleman that was very helpful. Ten minutes later, the replacement tire was on and all he wanted was $40 for his time. We gave him $60 and a chilled bottle of wine we had in the cooler and were back on the road.
  • After seeing our future home in person in early April, we were excited for what it had to offer, came home and put our house up for sale, and it sold less than four weeks, on May 19.
  • In late May our son graduated from RMCC (Royal Military College of Canada) in Kingston. He is now a commissioned officer in the Canadian military with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) in Space Science and he is now off to the start of his official training for his career out in New Brunswick.
    • His 4th year project, “HyperBall, A Near Space Balloon Mission” was extremely cool. A balloon launched and travelling 30 KM in altitude at a time when spy balloons were being shot down over North America.
  • June was our 24th wedding anniversary. Number 25 next year and we’re thinking of going to Costa Rica to celebrate.
  • June was also our daughter’s birthday and graduation from high school and subsequent enrollment into university with a 95%+ average, in which she was eligible and received her first year’s tuition for free! I just can’t get over her average, over 95%! Her brain is amazing.
    • Campus move in day is on August 26 and she’ll be starting the next chapter of her life in the Environmental Biology and Technology field.
  • The beginning of July was a trip to Holguin Cuba, our first adults only resort. I don’t think I can go back to a resort that has children. Don’t get me wrong, we have two of our own and love them, but man, we have moved past that stage of our lives and like the piece and quiet.
  • And two days after we returned from Cuba was the move to our new home near Timmins Ontario on July 14, a ten hour drive with a U-Haul and additional truck and trailer.
    • The Coles notes on the U-Haul, they didn’t provide the truck we reserved (in May I might add) resulting in multiple ten hour trips to get the job done. Over the course of these additional trips, we dropped an axle in the trailer, the truck’s electrical decided to shutdown, and had another blown tire on the trailer while transporting my wife’s horse!

We love our new home. Waking up to the sound of loons everyday, going for a cast or two off the dock during my lunch (I did catch my first pike), going for a pontoon boat ride around the lake, and being able to look out upon the lake while I work makes up for the crazy and numerous back-and-forth 10-hour trips that were done to make this happen.

So that has been my past half year.

The Future of SQL Agent Insight

For those wondering, more revisions to SQL Agent Insight will be released in due time. I was consistently putting out at least two releases per year. The latest release was back in February and I’m hoping for another by mid-October, getting in my two this calendar year. I’m also hoping the release cadence will be more frequent since I started using git for local source code management. I do like how this is integrated into Visual Studio; it makes remembering what I was doing easier since I don’t work on this side project daily.

I was kind of an old school record keeper, with a notebook of all the changes I did, jotting them down and when it came time to make release notes, thumbing through the pages and summarizing what I had accomplished. This practice went to the wayside and now the notebook is just for general project notes. From the notebook, I thought a wiki would be easier. I have a couple of private wikis installed at which are proving to be tedious at best to maintain. Learning the formatting of a MediaWiki is like learning another programming language, and since I didn’t do this frequently enough, I spent more time googling on how to format text and add images compared to actually writing the content. Frustrated with that, I then proceeded to use github issues for SQL Agent Insight’s feature and bug tracking. I’m not going to lie, it is pretty easy compared to my previous methods. The issues are private right now, with the goal of making them public for everyone to contribute in the near future. This is somewhat of a leap of faith for me since I like to keep things private for the most part, but the more I thought about this, the more you, the end-user of the software needs to see what is going on with the product if I want more adoption of it. I’m also thinking of using github for SQL Agent Insight’s documentation too, instead of the wiki.

For those that know me and my passion for SQL Server and its agent, I still have some great ideas I want to code into SQL Agent Insight and I will definitely be getting back into the swing of things with that soon.