Hello World

I am one of the programmer/writers that works on documenting the Entity Framework (which includes writing code samples, fortunately). My background is as a SQL developer, data modeller, and occasional dba. I was a contractor at Microsoft since 1995, then decided to try out being a writer as an employee, and have been a "blue badge" now for a bit over 6 years. Writing is interesting in that you get to really immerse yourself in a technology, learn about it, and how customers are using it, in much more depth than is possible as a developer, where you have to solve problems (i.e. dig in a bit) and then move on.

I have a "professional" blog at http://ricksaling.wordpress.com/, but it likely won't continue to be real active unless something changes.

I also tweet as "RickAtMicrosoft".

Finally, I create documentation not just on MSDN, but also on the Technet Wiki. The point of the wiki is to open up our docs to the community. So there is an Entity Framework portal page at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/entity-framework.aspx and so far it points to two significant pieces of content ("content" is the "professional" way to say "stuff we write: be it articles, code, videos, etc"):

The EF FAQs used to reside on CodePlex, and it required a special build process, which no one here had the time to keep up with. Kind of defeats the point, right? Since we moved it to the wiki, people from the community have jumped in and added stuff. It is quite possible (likely even!) that you may know more about certain parts of Entity Framework than I do, or you may have a scenario that has problems which we have not encountered. So feel free to add to it, if you have something you think others need to know about, or if you have a question that you think belongs in the FAQs.

The SQL Server Spatial Application is a work in progress. It will exercise the SQL Spatial features of the Entity Framework by creating an end-to-end application. The hope is that you will not only find it a useful code sample, but that I will run into your pain points (and pass them along to the product team), and that I uncover bugs before you do. Right now it has just completed two phases:

  • brainstorming: what is SQL spatial, what can you do with it, etc?
  • feasability: try executing (via EF) a number of more advanced queries: not just "all the restaurants within a mile of here", but also "all the points within 2 miles of a line" where the line simulates a highway or flight path, perhaps; and "all the points within a polygon" which simulates "all the X's within some geospatial unit, like zip code, county, etc".

This app will go through subsequent phases like:

  • load it up with some real geographical data (a lot is available public domain)
  • put a nice UI on it
  • port it to SQL Azure
  • use OData to access it
  • put it on the Windows phone, etc

What is this app going to do? Right now I'm playing with the idea of grabbing geo-encoded photos that lie along some line (highway or flight path), or perhaps "What are all the hiking trails within 4 miles of the highway I'm on right now?" These are all conceptually do-able with SQL's features and Bing Maps: the availability of data from the public domain will determine which ones turn out to be possible. And the fact that I'd like this to be a useful sample puts some con

These two bits on content are both on the wiki, so feel free to comment or make suggestions!

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