# Thursday, April 23, 2009

As we all know by now, I hate twitter. Why, why, why do you think I care about when you are picking your nose? Here is a really funny (and accurate!) list of reasons why twitter sucks.

With that backdrop, my good friend Mary Chipman is trying to trying to convince me that some people are twittering useful stuff. She is correct, she twitters here, mostly on SQL Server and other data related stuff. That said, I still won’t use twitter since there is still way too much noise.

Mary and I are doing a session at TechEd next month called “Access and SQL Server: Solve problems without spending money.” In this session we look at a few use cases where it makes sense from both a technological and business perspective to use the wiz-bang features of Access to augment your .NET and SQL Server solutions. We are not advocating using Access as a development platform, just as an augment to your solution. You do this with Excel all the time, why not use a relational engine with build in reporting as well?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have an enterprise application written in .NET with a SQL Server back end. You are a PR firm and the system takes inputs from some other systems of press and PR items. Then the data is transformed and put into data warehouse tables and viewed on the web via an ASP.NET app and SQL Server Reporting Services.

Now the boss tells you that you have to track twitter. You protest! But the boss insists. The problem is that twitter has so much junk in it and you can’t accept a raw feed into your enterprise application like you do for press releases, etc. You ask your developers to build an app that will pull in the twitter feeds via its RESTful API and store the tweets locally to give you the ability to rate the tweets relevant or irrelevant and then upload to the enterprise database to flow into the data warehouse and .NET app. They say, sure, but it will take a little while to build the app but they are busy on higher priority stuff, so they can’t get started.

So why not as a stop gap, just build a simple little Access app that uses VBA to call the twitter API and allow you to download the tweets into a local Access table, and then you can scroll through the data and click a “relevant” field as true/false. You can build this mini-solution in about 15 minutes. We’ll show you how.

Now just to be uber geeks, we also will want to get that data back into the enterprise system. The enterprise system has a locked down table structure (good!) so the only way to get data in is via a stored procedure. This stored procedure will only accept a table-valued parameter. Based on Mary’s MSDN white paper, we’ll show you how to do that too.

Hope to see you there, Tuesday May 12th after lunch. We have a few other scenarios to show you, some with Sharepoint (which are really cool), some with agile prototyping, and some using Access reporting for some solutions for annoying power users.

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