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T-SQL Tuesday #137: Using Notebooks Every Day

April 13, 2021

This is my 8th TSQLTuesday, and this month Steve Jones has invited us to write about Jupyter Notebooks.

I’ve been aware of Notebooks for a little while, but didn’t really know what they were or how to get started with them. Then I attended a talk a few years ago by Rich Benner on Azure Data Studio, which was really interesting in its own right, but also included the ability to create and edit notebooks.

After that I got a bit more interested, and had a bit of a play and did a bit of research. I could see a few use cases for them that other people had written about, things like creating a notebook to pass to the DBAs/admins to run on live and save with the results in as a way to easily do some basic troubleshooting or analysis on a production system

This seemed really appealing at the time, as I was working somewhere where devs were expected to troubleshoot issues on live databases without being able to access them. However, the organisation I was part of moved very slowly and the chances of notebooks or ADS being adopted any time soon was pretty slim so that was, unfortunately, a bit of a non-starter.

Since then I’ve continued to have a play every once in a while, but I’ve never been anywhere where the people around me were much interested, and without that it’s quite hard to get traction with this sort of thing.

I have found one use, however, and that’s as a set of notes for myself.

Recently I was looking to explain to someone about some of the newer syntax that’s available in T-SQL (and when I say newer I mean anything post 2008). I did a quick bit of research and realised there was plenty that I’d forgotten about and didn’t use even when it could be useful for me, so I set up a notebook to very briefly explain the new functionality and include some basic examples. It’s not complete, but you can find it in my GitHub repo.

Going forward I plan on adding a few more notebooks there to help me keep track of any other bits of syntax that I either forget exist or have to research every time I need to use it. I’m thinking one for XML and another for JSON might be really handy, as well as one for all the aggregation/windowing function options. If I can get motivated enough (and that can be a big if) this will hopefully grow into kind of a mini books online, but personalised for me to help me remember the things I need to know.

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  1. T-SQL Tuesday #137–Wrap Up | Voice of the DBA

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