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Coding By The Sea

By Steve Jones,

When I saw an internal announcement from Red Gate about Coding By the Sea, I thought it was pretty cool. It's something I would have liked to do a decade ago, before I had a busy family life. Go away for a week, live with a few people at work, drive towards a project. It reminds me of a few programming contests I did in high school that were pressure packed one-day events. This was an experiment to get a few people out of the office and see what they could accomplish in a week.

They actually did, and came up with SQL Search, a free utility that Red Gate is releasing to the public today. You can download it and see if it helps you with searches through textual schema objects like stored procs, functions and views.

Developing software in companies can be a grind. It's a tedious job of often solving some not-so-interesting problems. I think a lot of that is because they're problems that are assigned to you rather than the problems you find interesting or fascinating. What can you do about that?

Google has an interesting idea in allowing employees 20% of their time to dig into projects that aren't necessarily assigned to them. I'm sure other companies do something similar, and give some employees leeway, but Google's is widely publicized. I'm not sure Google loses anything either since I bet the employees work a little harder, and still get plenty of work done on their other projects.

I think that in corporate situations this might even be more beneficial.  I don't know that you need to rent a house, but perhaps you'd want to rent a small office away from your headquarters and let people go spend a week there. Developers could tackle some interesting project, marketers could brainstorm, accountants could, well, do what accountants find interesting. In short, it could be a week periodically that employees look forward to as a perk, a chance to go to work, but work on something they find interesting. Give people free reign, and who know what they might come up with.

I'd certainly like to disappear for a week and work on a project. Maybe I'll see if I can do it sometime this year. In the meantime, check out SQL Search. The developers are excited and proud of their work and looking for feedback..

Tomorrow we'll also have a guest editorial from the founder of Red Gate Software, Simon Galbraith.

Steve Jones

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