T-SQL Tuesday #137–Notebook Uses

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It’s actually my month to host T-SQL Tuesday, and I came up with the notebook idea last year. Aaron Nelson (b | t) sent me a link to a talk he did at a Meetup. It contained some interesting things, showing how you can use notebooks. Worth a watch.

For me, I don’t use notebooks a lot in my work. I had thought about using them to show clients and customers how to use our products, but I hadn’t moved far in that direction. I think too many customers are still using SSMS primarily, and haven’t moved to ADS.

The one place I’ve found them interesting is with Python. When I am sometimes trying to work through an issue, I think it’s easier to run a cell of code and get some results to work through an issue. If I use the REPL, I lose things. In VS Code, which I prefer, I don’t like the split code/terminal. I find that slightly annoying. Notebooks make things easier.

I was doing this recently, as I tried to work on the Advent of Code. I tried different parts of an algorithm in different cells, just to see what the results were. This helped me to work out some logic.

2021-04-13 10_02_06-? Day5.ipynb - Data Analysis - Azure Data Studio

That’s not a great algorithm, and I got better over time, but this was really a good way for me to think about the sections of the problem, putting each on in a separate area.

It’s a little of “teaching myself” within the construct of a notebook. After all, that’s what a lot of data scientists are doing when they start to go through different code items in a notebook.  They can share the notebook with others, which helps to teach.

For me, it’s teaching myself.

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