Sunday, November 22, 2009

SQLA, Two Weeks Later

It has been two weeks since the SQL Anywhere Question and Answer website SQLA was announced here, and it's been one week since the first status report.

Another slow(er) week

The total number of questions rose from 25 to 44. That's less than double, indicating that posting activity was slower in the second week. Also, a significant number of questions were of the administrative variety, so nobody better get excited about SQLA being crushed by its own success or anything like that.

Not yet, anyway.

The number of users rose from 29 to 35... nope, not exciting yet.

But they are good users, and they've been asking some great questions, more on that later.

Here are the StatCounter numbers for the nine full days since the hidden JavaScript thingie was plopped onto the "Sidebar Low" area (which sits at the bottom-right of some - not all - of the SQLA page displays):

Top Four Questions

Here are the top four new questions from SQLA's second week of operation:
Troubleshooting High Temporary File Usage

How does SQL Anywhere pass parameters?

Product Suggestion: Please implement record variable type

What’s the size of your biggest database?
Here's the top five from the first week:
Why should I use SQL Anywhere for my next project?

Is there already an iAnywhere position on this new website?

Does parameter passing degrade stored procedure performance?

What is the best refresh strategy for materialized views?

What is the best way to simulate Oracle Autonomous Transactions in SQL Anywhere?
Is it just me, or are some of the questions and answers starting to look more like magazine articles or blog posts than tech support cases?

There's room for both, methinks. There's room for pretty much anything that's relevant.

Development is proceeding. Honestly. Trust me.

The FAQ still hasn't been updated. Instead, a bunch of questions tagged "faq" have been posted, 14 at last count. So it's not like there's no work being done, just not any hard work :)

Here are a few of the more significant ones:
Poll: Is it OK for vendors to post questions?

What is the backup and recovery strategy for SQLA?

Exhortation: Do not mark anything “community wiki”

It's hard being a tag

Tag population control is in effect at SQLA.

SQLA has its own Search facility, plus there's always Google, so there doesn't seem to be much point in defining a bazillion different tags for the purpose of improving search. Plus, it's really hard work (ask anyone who's had to create a book index), and very few people do a good job (ask me about the mediocre job I did on my book).

So, when a tag gets used more than once, it's going to get looked at to see if it should be renamed, eliminated, merged with another tag, etcetera, all with the goal of using tags to classify or categorize the question.

Users are completely free to define new tags, five per question if they want (the software-imposed limit). It's only when a tag gets used on more than one question is it going to be a candidate for euthanasia, er, revision.

BTW, there is a new "SQLA" tag (category, label, whatever) on this blog so you can see all the posts about SQLA at once.

Training begins for the backup administrator

A volunteer for the post of backup SQLA administrator has been accepted, and training begins on Tuesday. Then, while the primary administrator lies face-up by the pool, the backup administrator will be responsible for keeping SQLA free from evil-doers.

For that role the backup administrator will be wearing a supersuit, with cape.

The SQLA Lottery

The pirate chief, er, primary administrator has started giving out random bounties of 100 reputation points, for no particular reason other than it's important for people to have points.

Three such bounties have already been handed out (which accounts for the fact the administrator is no longer first place in the points) and two bounties remain available... essentially for the asking.

One prediction, one boast

SQLA activity will not increase significantly any time soon, and might even decrease:
  • It's all in beta, the software and the site, and some people don't do beta.

  • We're in one of those no-real-work-gets-done-for-weeks-on-end periods, this one tagged "Thanksgiving-Christmas-New-Years".

  • SQLA has not been officially announced; i.e., nobody's promoted it on the NNTP forums.
But... SQLA will eventually be recognized as perfectly suited to the task, of that there is no doubt.

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