SQLTeam.com: The First Birthday

By Bill Graziano on 25 June 2001 | Tags: Site News

It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since I posted the first article on the site. It was titled Autonumbering & Identity Columns and isn't too impressive compared to some of the recent articles. It's more like a forum post than a true Ask SQLTeam article. I thought I'd tell you a little bit about the site and thank some people that have helped me along the way. It'll only happen once a year (I hope).

The Start

I like to blame (credit?) this site on Scott Mitchell of 4GuysFromRolla and Sean Baird (sqlguru). I had just left my previous job and was doing contract DBA and developer support work. I really wasn't happy with any of the SQL Server sites out there. Swynk.com seemed to be focused on the administrative side and didn't have as much developer content as I would like. Most of the sites with great SQL Server articles were ASP sites such as 4GuysFromRolla. And in case you're wondering, June 2000 was just about when the Internet advertising market began to fall apart.

Scott and Sean had started a section called Stump the SQL Guru. Scott, Sean, Chris Miller (RocketScientist) and I had all worked together at a company called Empower Trainers & Consultants, Inc. I was dabbling in ASP after figuring out that you couldn't write web pages in Transact-SQL.

With Scott providing technical help and Sean providing beer and the promise of future articles, I wrote the code that drives SQLTeam.com. Our goal was to build a community that allowed different people to publish articles and answer questions. We really liked using reader questions to generate topics for articles. For me, one of the hardest parts of writing is to come up with topics. I also liked the community approach that SlashDot has. We wanted to post answers and solutions and allow readers to comment on them and hopefully improve them.

Those first few months most of our traffic came from 4GuysFromRolla. Scott published links to many of our articles on the front page. That would always give us a big traffic spike. These days Google is our largest referrer generating over 1,000 sessions per week.

The Downs

The start of the site wasn't without tragedy unfortunately. Sean died in an automobile accident on September 24th, 2000. The site almost went away then. Chris and Jamie Hohman (jamman) convinced me to keep it going and I'm glad they did. Sean was a great friend and good person and we all miss him dearly.

The Ups

Five different authors have contributed to our 10 most popular articles. Our most popular article is still Database Design and Modeling Fundamentals written by Brent Huscher (Spyder) with over 10,000 page views. The second most popular is one that Sean wrote titled Returning Rows in Random Order. I'm still suprised that it's so popular but I did write two follow on articles to capitalize on that popularity.

Chris Miller has written articles on a variety of topics as RocketScientist. He's one of the smartest SQL Server people I know so the title is appropriate. Plus he's a damn good cook. He's still the person I turn to for those really hard SQL Server questions. Lance Harra (JohnDeere) and Doug Carpenter (DougCarpenter -- what kind of cool posting handle is that?) have both written articles for the site.

Garth Wells (Garth) is the first person to write an article for the site that I'd never met before. He's authored a book on SQL Server and written some great articles for us including Implementing a Dynamic WHERE Clause.

I want to make special mention of Merkin, penumatsa, Doug G and tschraer. They are some of the people that discovered the site way back in August 2000 (or earlier) and have been actively posting in the forums ever since. Merkin recently started writing articles for the site and is currently third in the list of most prolific posters.

robvolk and nr are the top two posters on the site. Rob is currently in the lead with over 1200 posts. He's also written a few articles for the site. If nr catches him it would probably be due to a sudden influx of questions about cursors -- the bane of his existence.

One last group to recognize is ClearData Consulting, Inc. which is really just me and my business partner, Rick Hanson. We do sell advertising on the site and that pays for the hosting some months. ClearData pays for the rest and picks up any additional costs that come up. Hopefully it will lead to some SQL Server consulting for me (hint, hint). Rick also does application development for Palm Pilots.

So to all of you I want to say Thank You. It's been an interesting and educational twelve months. I hope you find the site informative and entertaining. Thanks to those that write articles. Thanks to those that respond to readers in the forum. Thanks to those that read the site on a regular basis. Thank you all.


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