For this 108th edition of T-SQL Tuesday, Malathi Mahadevan (b|t) has come up with a wonderful topic – non SQL Server technologies. As the Microsoft data platform continues to expand, our jobs as data professionals are requiring us to learn and embrace technologies outside of the traditional relational database platform. After spending last week at PASS Summit 2018 and being reminded again about the amazing diversity of the SQL Server/Microsoft Data Platform ecosystem, this topic seems especially well-timed. Nicely done, Mala!
The non SQL Server technologies that I’ve selected for this post are the pair of technologies that have been oddly involved in my life for the last year or so: Azure Logic Apps and the Cognitive Services API. I was fortunate enough to be selected to speak about these topics at PASS Summit this year and it’s been a strange journey from, in a little over a year, never having heard of Logic Apps and Cognitive Services to creating training for them and speaking in the community about them. Long story short, I heard a Men in Blazers podcast last October where they jokingly mused about ranking English Premier League teams by the supporters’ feelings rather than actual results on the pitch. I had recently read some logic apps blogs from Brad Ball (b|t) and thought I could take what I learned from those and turn it into the “mood table” that was discussed on the pod. If you’re interested in the technical details of what I did, click here and read my blog from last year about how I did it. That post also links to a deep dive post with even more detail.
That post, and the mood table’s weekly appearance on the podcast for months, set the table for me to begin presenting a logic app and Cognitive Services session at PASS community event and non-PASS technical meetups as well. That drove me to better understand the power of logic apps and what else I can do with them with or without wiring in Cognitive Services as well. I submitted that session for this year’s PASS Summit and it was selected so I dove into these topics even further in order to build a robust 75-minute session.
The story behind my initial effort for the podcast and how that turned into a session brings us to today. What are my plans for learning more about this? I’ve partnered with a company on some logic apps training and will release that information when the course is released. There is a possibility of building onto that course with a subsequent advance course. Creating that training content forced me to really dig into some concepts within logic apps and cognitive services that I was not very familiar with from just my “playing” with these technologies for the mood table. It’s also really opened my eyes to just how powerful logic apps are for coordinating workflows for real companies with real data flows (not silly soccer-related podcasts :-)). I’m looking forward to integrating Azure Logic Apps and Cognitive Services with customer work in 2019 so customers can see how useful Logic Apps can be when moving and transforming their data. Cognitive Services can offer huge value to customer-facing departments such as customer support and marketing. I can’t wait to begin talking more about these technologies with my customers and learning more about them as we work together.