T-SQL Tuesday #102: Announcing a new site

T-SQL Tuesday #102: Announcing a new site

Back in 2009, Adam Machanic (b|t) started an initiative that is still going strong: T-SQL Tuesday. This is a monthly blog party. Every second Tuesday of each month, lots of people blog about the same topic, selected by the host for that month.

The May 2018 edition, better known as #102, is hosted by Riley Major (b|t). His challenge for this month: give back to the community. Pick an activity to help the community, explain your choice, and then commit to it. And include an ETA. If ever I saw a scary T-SQL Tuesday challenge, this has to be it.


Why is this invitation scaring me, you might wonder? The issue is, even though I do produce content for the community, in several ways, I tend to struggle with planning. Sometimes I plan to prepare my next blog post “this week”, and then it takes over a month to even get started. Sometimes I get invited to speak at a conference, and instead of preparing my slides months in advance like all other speakers do (heh!), I am working frantically on the last demos right until the start of the conference. And sometimes I plan to increase my activity on (fill in your Q & A site here), dive in at the deep end, and then just drop off that site’s radar after a few months

And then, last year, I bought this domain, set up my blog here, and told everyone that I would “soon” announce my other plans for this site. I did start working on it enthusiastically. But as so often, reality overtook me. Other stuff happening, other priorities – the usual. I never stopped working on the project, it just slowed down to a snails pace. And I kept postponing the official announcement because I felt there is not enough content yet.

First step

So here is my commitment. Open in public for all to see, and for Riley to keep bugging me when I don’t live up to my plans. No later than the end of this month (May 2018), I will officially announce what other content I will host on this site. And at the same time, I will put all the content I have at that time live. It will be less then it probably should be for the start of a big project, but I blame Riley for that – his challenge pushed me to take this step now instead of waiting and postponing for, well, perhaps forever.


But announcing the site and putting it live is just the first step. I also commit to adding content to that site, at a page of at least one new page per month. I will try to grow the site at a faster pace than that, but I know that life can have its surprises, so my official commitment will not go beyond one page per month.

More details

I addressed three of the four steps Riley prescribed: I picked something, I told you how I am going to do it, and I told you when. I skipped on the why. However, it is impossible to explain my reasoning without raising at least a corner of the veil, so you can consider this a pre-announcement. Or, if you wish, a teaser.

Most of my community activity over time was focused around query tuning. In the last few years this has been focusing more and more on execution plans. I occasionally teach pre-conference workshops on execution plan, and several of my regular sessions are on that subject too; I am working as the technical editor for the third edition of Grant Fritcheys (b|t) excellent book on execution plans (by the way, do not buy the second edition but wait for the third, it should be ready real soon now, and it is ten thousand times better), and my blog posts tend to focus on this subject as well.

Doing this learned me, among lots and lots of other things, that I know more about execution plans than I can fit in a single workshop; that my knowledge goes deeper than is appropriate for Grants book, and that not all my knowledge is suited for blog posts. But I still want to share all that knowledge I have gathered. Gathered from listening to and reading from many sources (I am truly standing on the shoulders of giants), from experimenting, diving deeper and deeper to understand what I see, and from putting all that input together.

I managed to find a form that I think it good for its purpose. I’m building a site that I believe will cater to the needs of a relevant subset of our community. Not all: I know that not everyone is as interested in understanding every detail of execution plans as I am. But those that are should hopefully benefit from my endeavors.


So there’s my motivation. A desire to share all the things I have learned (for a large part from the community) about execution plans with our community. And that will result in a new website, hosted here at sqlserverfast.com, focusing on execution plans. It will go live somewhere in this month, May 2018. And after that (starting June) I will add at least one new page each month.

Thanks, Riley, for giving me that nudge that I needed to go live and to commit myself to upping the pace!

Plansplaining, part 5. Bitmaps
Announcing: The SQL Server Execution Plan Reference

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