I spent this past weekend traveling to and attending SQL Saturday Colorado in the outskirts of Denver. This was the first such event in this area, and was arranged and cohosted by volunteers from the local SQL Server user groups including Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs. Marc Beacom, chapter leader of the Denver group, was the chief organizer and did a great job of coordinating this event. All of the organizers and volunteers are to be congratulated for a successful inaugural SQL Saturday Colorado.
I delivered two brand new presentations this time. The first, “Building an ETL Framework” (sample code here), is one that I’ve been thinking about sharing for some time. I had submitted this topic for presentation at this November’s PASS Summit, and although it was not accepted there, I’m glad to have had the opportunity to share with the SQL Saturday crowd. We had a full classroom, maybe 40-45 people or so, and a had good questions and discussion during and after the presentation. My second presentation, “Exploring the SSIS API” (sample code here), was borne from an idea I had for programmatically updating many packages at once. To a smaller crowd of about 15, I demonstrated how to get started using the client-side assemblies to programmatically interact with SSIS packages. I kept it light and mostly abstract due to the 1 hour time slot; in the future I’d like to find an outlet in which I could spend a couple of hours going through these objects and build some practical, deployable examples. I got lots of compliments on both presentations, and the discussion and questions gave me a few ideas on how to improve both presentations. I’m not complaining about this because it’s just luck of the draw, but the only real downside for either my sessions is that they were both scheduled at unfortunate times: the first was immediately after lunch, and the last was in the final timeslot of the day.
As always, my favorite part of SQL Saturday is the opportunity to network. I met several locals, as well as a few people I’ve been following including Chris Shaw and Meredith Ryan-Smith, and caught up with others I know including Jen McCown, Glenn Berry, Janis Griffin, and Jack Corbett. The speaker/volunteer dinner on Friday night was a more formal affair than most such SQL Saturday receptions – it was a sit-down meal with appetizers, entrees, and dessert. Still, it was casual enough that most folks were able to wander around and chat with people. The attendee party on Saturday night was well attended – out of 160 or so attendees, we had approximately 50-60 people at the party afterward.
I was a little surprised by the chosen venue: a Presbyterian church. Of all the SQL Saturday events at which I’ve spoken (four this year, and maybe a dozen altogether), this weekend’s was the first one that was held in a place of worship. Having hosted one of these events already, I know what a challenge it can be to find an affordable facility that has the necessary space, audio/video components to meet the needs of such an undertaking. I have to admit that we never considered approaching any local churches when planning our SQL Saturday, but it’s a great idea – most of them have at least a moderate amount of classroom space, projectors and audio, and plentiful parking. With a lot of sizeable churches in the Dallas area, we’ll certainly have to consider this possibility for our next big spring event.
Kudos on a great event! I’m looking forward to the next one.