Scripts, Blogs, and Learning

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I received an e-mail from a reader asking if I could post a link to a script he's documented in an article. I'm always happy to do that, but there are some things you should know about ANY script you find on the web, and while I'm at it, for how you read blog entries.

1. Read each blog entry carefully

In a recent post, I mentioned a script that will list and compare permissions. In that post I said "this is what I use for that:" and what I meant was "this is what I use for that:" - nothing more. In other cases, I'll say "try this on your test system" or "if you want to follow along, try this..." and so on. That means I've tested it on multiple systems and cleaned up the verbiage to be more generic.

The point is, you should pay careful attention to what the author is saying. Blog entries are quick thoughts from the author, and don't always fit your situation. They are often like soap-operas, and need background to know what's going on. That's why I make heavy use of "tagging", so that you can see all of the PowerShell or T-SQL scripts for the background. Take the time to review these, so that you show due-diligence in your learning.

2. Don't try ANY script, idea, concept, thought or anything else on your production system

This should go without saying - but if you cut and paste something from the web (from ANYONE on the web) to your production system, you're asking for trouble. You need to study the script, understand it, and then replace the parts that won't work on your system. For instance, in my posts, I use server names and even database names that you won't have. That's OK - you can still learn from the script, but if you think that someone on the web will do your work for you, you're going to have a rather rude awakening.

3. Use every entry as a learning opportunity

My uncle used to say "everyone has a purpose - some people are bad examples". And that's true. Even if the entire script doesn't run on your system, there may be a concept or two in there that is very useful. Does the author comment their code? Do they have an interesting algorithm you hadn't tried before? I've often found a statement I wasn't familiar with in a script block, and then done a Live Search on it to find out more, and more and so on. I learn from everyone - regardless of the entry itself.

 

So with all those caveats, here's the link: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/scripts/wildcard+columns/65687/ 

Thanks for reading, and thanks for submitting and commenting! By working together, we all learn more.

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  • Good advice.  

    But, do you really start with Live Search?

  • I really do start with LiveSearch first. It would be kind of bad if I didn't at least give our own products a shot - and I find that 99% it does what I want.

  • I spoke yesterday at a large user group meeting, and we had a prize offered for the best PowerShell script.

  • Worked a treat- allows me to simply query all of the attributes i require without too much clutter.

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