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September 23, 2011

Emacs was my favorite editor in college

I saw this piece on Learning Unix from Miguel  de Icaza that brought back memories. Michael is a well known developer that is working an open source implementation of .NET called Mono. He worked at Microsoft and continues to bring .NET to other platforms, but he primarily works on Unix based systems. The post laments the lack of basic Unix knowledge and tricks from many of the developers he meets. His recommendation is a few books and tutorials to learn shell commands, emacs, and more.

Those bring back memories for me since I learned to use emacs early in college. I went through tutorial and enjoyed the editor much more than vi and learned to take advantage of shell commands for quick scripts or tools that would make my programming tasks easier. Those skills helped me when I moved to the DOS/Windows world and scripted many tasks, and even helped in SQL Server with the scripting tasks is SSIS and SQLCMD. As I look over PowerShell scripts these days, I find myself seeing the same constructs as I saw in Korn shell, but with different syntax.

As I read the piece, I asked myself a question over and over, which I couldn’t answer completely. I did, however think it would make a good Friday poll and decided to ask the rest of you for your opinion:

What basics do you find many data professionals lacking and what do you recommend to help them?

I know people need to learn how to back up a database, and they should learn T-SQL to some extent, but what basic skills would you point people towards? What books or resources would you recommend?

I know we have some great basic articles here at SQLServerCentral that everyone should read, like Managing Transaction Logs. I think we’ve tried to address the basics with the Stairway series on various topics. However I’m sure there are holes in our catalog as well as some very common things that many of you would like to recommend to every DBA or developer. You have your chance today to help compile a list.

Steve Jones


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One Comment
  1. I had written about skills I think IT professionals should have, “10 Super Powers Developers, Designers, and DBAs should have”. While reading your article, I too think they should know scripting – surprising how many don’t, but to name a few from my list, they include, Fix minor PC problems, understand basic networking, training and contributing to IT community. If interested, here’s my post http://bit.ly/lg0cTQ

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