I decided to begin this blog at the end of 2008 and published the first three entries on January 3, 2009. This is my 54th post, twelve months later.
Unlike other report generation tools, SQR is a powerful and flexible programming language that can address many types of data processing tasks. I’ve enjoyed using its advanced features to finish my assignments more easily, to delight my customers with better and faster solutions, or to automate jobs I would have had to do in SQL.
I started this blog as an outlet for my ideas, with the hope of finding similar thinking correspondents. It was also a place in which I could collect my ideas for my own future reference. While we didn’t reach the point of brainstorming together or trading our creative ideas, I was pleased to develop a readership of several thousand unique visitors per month.
I also hoped this blog would help me practice my communication and self-management skills. I wrote and polished over one thousand words per week, every week, for a year. Most blogs fizzle out quickly, sometimes before their second entry. I judged correctly that there was a lot to say about SQR and that I could sustain the energy and motivation to say it. Everyone should have a hobby, and I’m proud of what I accomplished with this one.
Behind the Scenes
The mechanics of running a blog are mildly interesting. Feel free to skip this section. There is an extensive infrastructure for blogging, so people can put things on the Internet without much technical knowledge. I didn’t do it in the easiest way possible; here’s what I did:
- Create a list of blog names and determine which domain names were untaken.
- Buy a domain.
- Buy website hosting service.
- Install, or have the host install, blogging and database software.
- For WordPress blogging software, select, procure, and install theme (appearance) software.
After I created the blog, there was a lot of work to maintain it. Each week, I wrote an entry in Microsoft Word, copied and pasted it to WordPress, and reformatted it in HTML. The toughest part was reinserting indents in the code samples. HTML browsers like to space text as they see fit. Finally, for the first few months, I would search for “SQR” and “Peoplesoft SQR” every day and see where Google mentioned me in its list.
Last Summer, a large wave of spam washed over my comments database. I had to delete up to fifty horrid messages per day. Some were enormous lists of unsavory websites selling pharmaceuticals or pornography. Some were high pressure sales pitches. Some seemed like actual comments, but always generic, like “That was a good article.” A few were offers to help me spam the web with fake comments promoting my blog. (I never did.)
There were a few comments from real readers, some asking technical questions, some just thanking me for writing the blog. I loved getting those comments and tried to respond to all of them. Eventually, coping with the avalanche of spam was too tedious, so I turned off comments entirely.
People sometimes comment dismissively that the great majority of blogs are inactive. When I researched blogs related to Peoplesoft, I found that there weren’t many and most had tapered off years ago. But if I were writing a textbook about SQR, nobody would complain that it was finite. If were giving a speech about SQR, nobody would complain that it eventually ended.
I decided a few months ago to stop writing this blog at the end of the year. In fifty-two weeks, I’ve shared ideas that took me years to accumulate. I have a few topics left that I couldn’t develop into good entries, and some new topics that I need to explore for a while before I’d be ready to discuss them.
I’ve written and rewritten this paragraph a few times, trying to explain that this would be my last blog entry, but then again I might write some more, but probably not, but maybe so. It was the mother of all mixed messages, racking up the word count with any coherent meaning fast approaching zero. I guess it’s a sign of mixed feelings. I want to declare that I’ve reached my goal to write a blog for a year and when we finish a task we stop doing it. On the other hand, I like to collect my thoughts, write them down, and share them, and this is a good medium for that.
I will continue this blog for a while. I still want to talk about SQR, but I also want to talk about Peopletools and SQL. Next week, I’ll change the name to “Peoplesoft And SQR,” keeping the same URL and RSS feed. I’ll reopen the comments (with a CAPTCHA) to ask for suggestions about what motto should replace “The Joy Of Batch.”