Stories about Software


Get Fed Up Every Now and Then

In SQL Server management studio, all of objects in the database are listed in the object explorer in the format [schema].[object]. In large databases of the legacy variety, it’s not uncommon to find that the only schema for application tables/views/sprocs is dbo. In this case, navigating to the object you want requires the infuriating step of typing “dbo.” before the table name. This may not seem like a big deal, but you have to type fast for that style of navigation, and typing that period, far from home row, creates a problem. This has annoyed me for years, but today, I’d had enough.

With a few minutes of googling, I found this Q&A exchange. Clearly others feel the same way and while I don’t consider that to be ideal, it’s certainly an improvement over what I was doing. I can hit “F7” on a folder and bring up an “object explorer” window that lets me search by object name alone because it separates schema as a different column. Win. Sort of.

I have been using SQL Server Management Studio for nearly a decade and I never knew this. But, after a few minutes with google, now I know. Sometimes it’s google, sometimes it’s a tweet, sometimes it’s asking a coworker. But, the common thread is that one day I just say “enough” and decide to do something about it. It might not be a total solution, but I decide right then and there that the situation and my life need to be improved somehow, immediately.

I think this is a pretty valuable activity. Obviously, you pick up new tips and tricks this way, but more subtly, you’re embracing a philosophy that your routines and habits can always be improved and you’re mentally setting an expiration date on mindless, sub-optimal, or obtuse activities. In a way, this is fairly agile (using lower case a in a nod to the recent blogosphere brouhaha over “taking back agile” — I just mean it’s predicated upon the idea of iterative, steady progress). You’re not paralyzing yourself by analysis to figure out the best way to do things up front all of the time, but rather leaving yourself open to the possibility (certainty) that you can improve the way you do things.


So pick something. Today. Pick something that’s a minor irritant that you’ve simply put up with for a long time and say to yourself, “This. Ends. Now.” in a dramatic, action hero voice. Spend a few minutes doing research and I’d imagine you’re going to be happy. I’ve personally never regretted anything about this time investment except for the regret that I didn’t allow myself to get fed up sooner. So, go ahead. You don’t have to take it anymore.

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9 years ago

This post is awesome.

It’s amazing given the nature of computing today, and software in general, how long we developers will put up with silly issues that are huge productivity drain in the long run.

It’s not like we have to spend lots of money on molds or other parts, or wait a couple weeks of lead time to fix an issue, like our other brethren. We can do it right then and there – be it writing some script or just a google search.

Erik Dietrich
9 years ago
Reply to  Brian

I hadn’t thought of the angle of comparing how easy it is for us to improve to other industries, but that’s a great point. We really do kind of take it for granted, and I’m no different, which is exactly why I periodically force myself to spend a little extra time to improve.

9 years ago

This is exactly how I feel after I bit the bullet a few weeks ago and started to use vim-pathogen and began actively managing my ~/.vim directory in a git repo. If you are thinking about doing this but somehow haven’t quite gotten to it yet, just do it now.

Erik Dietrich
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike

I’ve never been a vim user, myself, but if I do find myself using it, I’ll bear this in mind. (And that’s not just lip service — I do actually have a strange knack for filing away tech tips and remembering to look them up later if the situation warrants).


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