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An Unlikely Taste for Documentation and Archiving


An Unlikely Taste for Documentation and Archiving

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Phil Factor
Phil Factor
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item An Unlikely Taste for Documentation and Archiving


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
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Charles Kincaid
Charles Kincaid
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This is a great question. We would put out deployment scripts and it fell to a person that was not a DBA to run them. There was always a trained individual close at hand (working from home) who not only had copies of the scripts but documentation as to what the purpose of the is. This way when (not if) something went wrong it was easy to fix less than nominal outcomes. Yes, all of the scripts were version controlled. The VC software required description on check in.

For us we were already doing that sort of thing with the application software so extending that to databases was sort of natural.

ATBCharles Kincaid
Gary Varga
Gary Varga
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Arguably, keeping a "service history" of the database is useful i.e. capture when a script is run (including the version of the script). That way anyone can understand the context of any issues that arise.

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Phil Factor
Phil Factor
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@Gary
Hmm. Yes, I missed that one. Good point.


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
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Robert.Sterbal
Robert.Sterbal
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Along the same lines, a checkout script after something is run, and can be rerun can be beneficial.
Matt Miller (4)
Matt Miller (4)
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There's also the fact that your documentation will probably survive any unfortunate encounter any one of us might have with a bus. Nevermind the prospect of untimely demises, etc..., it is encumbent on every role to leave behind enough information for the organization to pick up what we've done. A backup of existing scripts (even stored in a historical form) isn't documentation, since it only captures WHAT was done.

The value of documentation increases when it provides insight in the WHY, the consequences of the HOW, and the reasons as of the WHEN you did the WHAT. That's always been why "self-documenting code" isn't.

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Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?
Phil Factor
Phil Factor
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@Matt. Yes, true. Nobody in IT should ever be 'indispensable'. Even if one finds the thought of being mortal as ridiculous, keeping the documentation up-to-date means tranquil holidays. That's good enough for me.


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
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Gary Varga
Gary Varga
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Matt Miller (#4) (11/10/2014)
...That's always been why "self-documenting code" isn't.


So true but I am always surprised at how many really smart people think otherwise. Especially in the dev world when they think that by naming things well and providing unit tests is adequate. One usually finds that these people come in, develop software then move to the next greenfield project.

Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Charles Kincaid
Charles Kincaid
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Phil Factor (11/10/2014)

Nobody in IT should ever be 'indispensable'. Even if one finds the thought of being mortal as ridiculous, keeping the documentation up-to-date means tranquil holidays.


At one company we had a policy that no more then three employees could ride in the same car.
@Mat you have my point in that documentation should have the WHY and WHEN. Self documenting is all about the WHAT.

ATBCharles Kincaid
Wayne West
Wayne West
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Charles Kincaid (11/10/2014)
At one company we had a policy that no more then three employees could ride in the same car.


In 1985 one of the key people behind the original IBM PC, along with six others from their group and in many cases their spouses, were killed in a plane crash returning to Texas from a conference in Florida. It's definitely a reasonable policy for critical people.

I had a personal policy, before version control software was so prevalent, of scripting out everything in my databases as part of EOM processes. I can't say that I needed it very often, but it definitely would have been my butt if I hadn't had it.

-----
Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson
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