Tag Archives: Pragmatic Works

Goodbye Pragmatic Works. Hello Pragmatic Works!

I wanted to share a new phase in my life. After a little over three and a half awesome years, October 10th will be my last day as a consult with Pragmatic Works. Beginning October 13th I will be going to work for… Pragmatic Works! (Confused? Hey you should be me.)

Most people don’t realize this, but Pragmatic Works is technically two companies in one. We have a consulting division, where I have worked for the last three and a half wonderful years. Beginning October 13th I will transition to working for the software division in the role of Product Evangelist.

In this role I will be spreading the word about our tools, as well as supplying additional training on our entire suite. You can begin to expect more posts from me that focus on our various tools, which include BIxPress, Task Factory, DOCxPress, and DBAxPress. I’ll still be in the community, perhaps even more so, giving people the opportunity to learn more about SQL Server in general, our tools and services in particular.

If you are going to the PASS Summit, be sure to look me up. I’m copresenting a precon titled Zero to Hero with PowerShell and SQL Server, as well as doing a regular session Make SQL Server Pop with PowerShell. I’ll also be spending a lot of time at the Pragmatic Works booth doing demos and the like. Would love to meet you, talk about your challenges around BI development, and how we could work to get many of them resolved.

So, Goodbye Pragmatic Works. Hello Pragmatic Works!


The Great Pragmatic Works Task Factory Round Up

Over the last month or so, I’ve been blogging about my companies (Pragmatic Works) cool suite of SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) add in tools called Task Factory. I did this mostly to learn about the various components, and decided to video the whole thing in order to a) help myself remember and b) share the knowledge with everyone.

I’m about to move onto some of our other tools, and as I explore and learn them will be adding videos as I go. I wanted to wrap up the Task Factory series with a summary of all the tools, and links to the blog post and the direct link to the video. Please note I’ve listed these alphabetically, to make them easy to find, instead of the order in which they were published. 

Task Factory Address Parse video | blog

Task Factory Advanced E-Mail and SMS Task video | blog

Task Factory Case Transform video | blog

Task Factory Compression video | blog

Task Factory Data Cleansing video | blog

Task Factory Data Validation video | blog

Task Factory Delete Batch Transform video | blog

Task Factory Dimension Merge Slowly Changing Dimension video | blog

Task Factory Email Source video | blog

Task Factory File Properties video | blog

Task Factory Null Handler blog

Task Factory Replace Unwanted Characters video | blog

Task Factory RegEx video | blog

Task Factory SalesForce.com Source and Destination blog

Task Factory SharePoint Destination video | blog

Task Factory SharePoint Source video | blog

Task Factory Surrogate Key transform video | blog

Task Factory Terminator Destination blog

Task Factory Trim Plus video | blog

Task Factory Update Batch transform video | blog

Task Factory Upsert Destination video | blog

Task Factory XML Destination video | blog

Task Factory–SalesForce.com Source and Destination

Over the course of the last month I have created video tutorials on the components that ship with Pragmatic Works Task Factory suite of SSIS components. There are two though, that unfortunately I’m not able to cover, but I did want to make sure everyone was aware of. Those are the SalesForce.com Source and Destination components.

These are quite similar to the SharePoint Source and Destination components I covered in previous posts. Here’s a screen shot of the Source properties window:




As with most of the tools in Task Factory, you simply pick the connection manager, pick the object to connect to, supply and parameters, and pick what you need. Just that simple and straight forward.

The Destination component is just as easy, as you can see:


Again, simply create a connection, pick the target object, map the columns and away you go.

Since I don’t currently have a way to communicate with a SalesForce.com environment, as of this writing we’ll have to settle for a few screen shots. I believe though they will convey the simplicity of the product. Most importantly though you are now aware of these handy components, something you’ll find invaluable if you deal with SalesForce.com.

Task Factory–SharePoint Destination

In a previous video we looked at the SharePoint Source component, one of the many components in Pragmatic Works Task Factory suite of SSIS tools. We saw how easy it was to extract data out of a SharePoint list.

What though, do we do if we need to push data into a SharePoint list? It turns out it’s every bit as easy, using Task Factory’s SharePoint Destination component.

Task Factory–SharePoint Source

Microsoft SharePoint has taken the enterprise by storm. A staggering number of corporations today are using SharePoint as their collaborative and information backbone. A tremendous amount of information is being stored within SharePoint lists.

As such, it’s becoming more and more important to be able to quickly and easily extract the data in those lists and bring it into other platforms for analysis, reporting and storage. SQL Server Integration Services seems like the ideal tool for moving and transforming this type of data around, but accessing data in SharePoint lists is not a trivial task.

Unless of course you have Task Factory. Task Factory is a suite of SSIS components from Pragmatic Works. In this video, we’ll look at the SharePoint Source component.


Pragmatic Works Virtual Mentoring

Have you ever been in a situation where you were stuck for an answer? I mean really stuck? I sure as heck have been. Being in a spot where I really needed an experts opinion, needed to be able to get some one on one help with a problem. Unfortunately, there never seemed to be anyone else around, someone who could take the dedicated time to help with my issue.

When I came to work for Pragmatic Works, I found out about this cool program we have called Virtual Mentoring. The concept is pretty simple. You buy a block of hours from one of our sales guys. Don’t ask me how much it costs, I try to stay out of the money side of things. You can contact one of them if you are interested (http://pragmaticworks.com/services/Consulting/VM/Default.aspx).

So once you get the hours you call up and get some time scheduled with one of our consultants. Our support folks pair up the type of problem with the right person. You answer this short questionnaire that helps describe the issue, and how long you think you’ll need.

On the appointed time you and the mentor join a virtual meeting space, such as GoTo Meeting or Windows Live Meeting (it’s setup ahead of time) and away you go. You can share desktops, and have a good conversation about the issue.

I’ve done several of these acting as a mentor, and it’s really cool. Most times it’s one on one, but one time I did speak with an entire team.

For some reason our mentoring program doesn’t seem particularly well known, so I thought I’d take a moment to pass along the info. I sure wish I’d known about this years ago!

Task Factory Dimension Merge Slowly Changing Dimension

For any ETL developer, updating dimensional data is the heart of what you do. Using out of the box SSIS components, however, is an unattractive proposition. You either had to use the built in SCD wizard, or use the "roll your own" approach. As any veteran BI developer knows, the SCD wizard isn’t the best in the world, primarily due to it’s reliance on the OLEDB Command task. "Roll your own", in other words handling all the logic yourself, works, but is time consuming to develop and often confusing to maintain.

A far, far better solution for handling Kimball SCD is to use the Task Factory SSIS Dimension Merge Slowly Changing Dimension transform. While it’s name is rather long winded, it’s definitely worth the breath.

In this video we’ll take a look at the Dimension Merge Slowly Changing Dimension in action.