Category Archives: Programming

Make It Easier for the DBA: Give SQL Connections the Application’s Name!

Imagine you’re a database administrator tracing query activity on a server. You’d want all the clues you can get to help you figure out what’s going on. One clue is the name of the client program associated with each database session. This name, passed from client to Microsoft SQL Server when a connection is established, can be used by the DBA to differentiate between multiple applications running on a single client and to focus on (or filter out) activity from the same application across multiple clients.

Does your application pass a meaningful program name to the database server? Continue reading

.Net Core .csproj – Automatically Packaging README.txt

Microsoft Visual Studio gives special treatment to a README.txt file found in a NuGet package’s root directory. If README.txt is present in this folder, Visual Studio displays its contents when the package is directly installed (vs. when it is installed as a dependency).

This sounds like a great way to display notes and examples to the developer getting ready to use your package—but how do you get a readme file copied from your project into the package during the packaging process? Continue reading

Introducing DataReaderAdapter: Adds AsDataReader()/AsDataReaderOfObjects() to IEnumerable<T>

Yesterday, we released BenGribaudoLLC.IEnumerableHelpers.DataReaderAdapter as a NuGet package!

What does it to?

Adapts IEnumerable<T> to the IDataReader interface. Enables enumerable sequences to be used where a data reader is expected.

Great for loading data from a List<T>, LINQ expression or CSV parser into a database using SqlBulkCopy! Streams data to SqlBulkCopy, bypassing the need to first materialize the entire sequence in memory and load it into a DataTable. Continue reading

Haskell’s Infinite Lists = Fascinating + Mind-Stretching

I like to expose myself to programming languages rooted in different paradigms so that I can expand my skill set, broaden my thinking and learn new ways to solve problems. Lately, I’ve been exploring the world of pure functional programming by studying Haskell.

My object-oriented mind finds the following fascinating:

naturalNumbers = [1..] -- [1,2,3,4,5,…]

This simple statement defines a list starting with 1 and increasing by 1 each step all the way to infinity. The result is not a range that can be enumerated to infinity (for example, 1..1.0/0 using Ruby’s Range class); it’s an actual list that goes to infinity. Continue reading

Dynamic Unpivot Stored Procedure

Pass in a query and a column name (or a column list) and receive an unpivoted result set back. Specify either the columns to unpivot or the columns to leave unpivoted (i.e. unpivot all but the specified columns). Behind the scenes, this stored proc casts value columns to a common data type of your choosing, eliminating “the type of column ‘x’ conflicts with the type of other columns specified in the UNPIVOT list” errors. It can also be used as a SQL generator, outputting the dynamically-built query’s text instead of executing it. Continue reading

Knowledge, Reality and Reconciling the Difference (Part 1)

Values often need to be tracked as they change over time. Imagine we’re building a payroll system. A foundational requirement would be to store an employee’s pay rate. In all but the most basic of systems, saving this rate as a simple value is insufficient (“Joe’s wage = $20/hour”); rather, a history of the rate over time needs to be maintained (“Joe’s wage = $15/hour as of 10/15/13; Joe’s wage = $20/hour as of 2/1/14”). We do this by giving pay rate a time dimension.

What our system knows about a given moment in time and what really was at that same moment can differ. Suppose Joe’s manager signs paperwork on January 20 giving Joe a pay raise but leaves for vacation before turning in the paperwork. At close of business on January 20, the payroll system knows Joe’s rate to be one amount when, in reality, it’s a different amount. Joe has been given a raise but the system doesn’t yet know about it. Continue reading

Quick Tip: Setting Variables Inside Array & Hash Literals

Did you know that you can assign variables inside Ruby’s array and hash literals?

While the values used inside square bracket array literals are typically hard-coded, provided by a variable, computed from an inline expression or generated by a method, any valid Ruby statement can be used. The same is true for both keys and values used in hash literal key => value pairs. Continue reading

RSpec: be true & be_true Are Different!

RSpec’s be true and be_true look deceptively similar. In fact, their naming suggests that they might be synonyms for the same assertion. Can the two clauses be used interchangeably to produce the same effect? No!

Both check trueness but from different perspectives. be true checks whether the compared-against value is true: “Does the value literally equal true?” be_true asserts that the test value evaluates to true: “Is the value truthy?” be false and be_false are the respective inverse match clauses. Continue reading