On changing the world, or at least the way people order things in it

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/03/16 03:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/03/16/8238240.aspx

Please read disclaimer; content of Michael Kaplan's blog not approved by Microsoft!

You may (if you are a regular reader) have read Predictably (in retrospect), aka Where Wild^H^H^Hindows-Only Things Are, aka SHORT [on ]TIME for a LONG TIME from back in November of 2007.

In one bit of that post, I mentioned:

Ignoring occasional heroics that I find myself involved with (which, let's be honest are really the exception, not the rule!), there are a handful of times that I feel like I've been involved in something really unique...

Today I got to see the first part of another one of those times....

I'll explain.

By necessity the work I do is the kind of thing that customers only tend to notice when things go wrong, when there are bugs.

Kind of the price of working in internationalization, I figure. :-)

This weekend involved a rather exciting adventure with the latest SQL Server 2008 Community Technology Preview (CTP). It started with a popular diagram, that you can see here in the What's New in SQL Server 2008 February CTP, or I'll include it below with the emphasis on what I wanted to mention as the inspiration:

That's right -- Windows Server 2008 collation support in SQL Server 2008. The feature is a line item for this diagram that helps map the features put into the next version of SQL Server!

Now I didn't do the development work on this feature (Brandon is the one who stepped up and not only provided the solution for this CTP but who also took care of the performance issues due to "fast enough" for Windows not being quite fast enough for SQL Server that you'll see in the next one -- a solution that I hope gets looked into for Windows in a future version!).

And I didn't find the bugs that exist in Windows related to this feature that SQL Server found (Brandon again, with help from various testers -- anyone who thinks developers are cookie cutter resources that you can plug any of them into a feature have nothing on him here!).

And I didn't do the program management work on this feature (Goldie is the author of the spec, the one who met with all of the partner teams to educate them on what was happening and worked to assuage their concerns, and worked with the central release people to get the feature into the product -- anyone who thinks PMs are disposable resources understands nothing of the work she had to do here!).

And I definitely didn't meet with Corporate Vice President Ted Kummert to get the feature approved for SQL Server 2008 (Fernando is the guy who got on Ted's schedule and made the case well enough to get the VP buyoff done -- I have only ever met with VPs to get coffee or hot cocoa and have "how've ya been?" conversations -- anyone who thinks the serious conversation work can be done by any random person who is handy probably shouldn't ever be allowed to meet with VPs!).

But I know that I had the chance to be a positive influence on the efforts of all of these people (including those I am not calling out specifically) in each of these accomplishments -- whether it was providing info for the business case, data, testing information, bug fixes, or answers to random questions.

Now I am vastly oversimplifying the problem here in calling out only one developer, two program managers, and a vice president. There were a lot more people involved, obviously. These are just some of the crucial people who did the right thing in pivotal moments, the kind that make or break features.

And in the end, kind of like with Synthetic Cultures, I got the chance to be involved with a chance to change the way some of the world is going to work (in this case the way that some of the world is going to order itself!). And primarily due to the hard work of this small piece of the SQL Server Engine got to be involved in something that will be truly great for millions of customers using the formerly SQL-disenfranchised languages that have no weight in sorting, until this change rolled around.

And installing that CTP build, seeing the new collations in it? It meant a lot more than seeing them in Books Online, and it took my breath away.

Good teams can provide good results, and it was an honor to be interacting with a great team here whose members have provided incredible results!

It is why I work at Microsoft.

And moments like these are very important when I forget that they can happen....

I'll probably talk more about the actual feature and what is there in some future blogs. I'll provide one gratuitous screenshot to tude you over until then (or until you install teh CTP yourself!):


This post sponsored by ག (U+0f42 a.k.a. TIBETAN LETTER GA)

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referenced by

2011/07/01 Once more into the UCS-2 breach, SQL Server marches

2010/01/20 It isn't always Internet Explorer's fault, dammit!

2008/11/11 Trying to ignore the small stuff is harder, if you're Arabic

2008/09/25 You're not my type if you have no culture

2008/05/27 SQL and the CLR? (2008 edition!)

2008/03/27 The disunification of Norwegian and Danish sorting ( SQL Server 2008 Edition!)

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