U-SQL Job Graph Playback from SQL PASS 2015

I had the opportunity to demonstrate one of the coolest features at SQL PASS 2015 this afternoon. U-SQL Job “Playback”  You can watch the video here: The video doesn’t have any audio so let me explain a bit what’s going on. I ran a simple U-SQL script that read a small amount of data –…


The Azure Data Lake announcement

I’ve been quiet on this blog for a while – and now you know why. I’ve been spending the past few years working on something very special “Azure Data Lake” Today’s announcement is the first step in a journey to help bring a “data culture” to everyone.   Azure Data Lake https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/data-lake/   Announcement on the…


Microsoft Automatic Graph Layout (MSAGL) is now on GitHub

MSAGL is just an amazing piece of work. I’ve been using MSAGL for years in various projects – for example as part of my VisioAutomation work. And now MSAGL is available to everyone on GitHub! https://github.com/Microsoft/automatic-graph-layout Start cloning!


The Art of Writing Functional Specs (Part 3) – Spec Shapes

  In Part 2 I mentioned that one way to harm to readability of a spec was to not understand the audience or what they need from the spec. Let’s expand on that. Not all specs are the same, and different situations call for different approaches.  I can categorize these situations into some major buckets….


The Art of Writing Functional Specs (Part 2) – The Most Important Thing About A Spec

I tried thinking of all techniques I have seen or have used in making great specs. I put all those techniques in a crucible and boiled away everything until only one principle remained. Here it is: “Specs must be readable”     That’s it. And as obvious and trivial as it seems, that central message…


The Art of Writing Functional Specs (Part 1) – What is a Functional Specification?

It’s tempting to say a functional specification is a document that … blah blah blah requirements, scenarios, glossary. design details, etc. It’s tempting to say that because it is true – true but it misses the bigger picture. A spec, yes, physically is an artifact – a document. You’ve seen quite a few of them,…


The Art of Writing Functional Specs (Part 0)

In 16 years I’ve written an a lot of functional specs. I’ve written them in small teams and in big teams and every size in between. These specs covered many areas: email protocols, server components, user experiences, networking, graphics, telephony, image processing, printing, scanning, real-time communication, security, formats and encodings, APIs, object models, and many…