I meet a lot of database developers who have agile envy. Are you one of them?
Do you see your counterparts on the application development teams scrumming and sprinting their way to shorter product cycles? Do you watch app developers release 25 updates a week while your team struggles to update databases once a month? Do you wish you could reap the benefits of the tight, DevOps relationship that’s working so well for app development?
Most of all, do you watch from your office window as the app developers leave for home at 5:15?
“Must be nice,” you say, pondering the two hours of manual database updates still ahead of you. “If we had what they have, we could work better, cheaper and faster without increasing the risk to the database.”
Good question. For one thing, they’re dealing with a different kind of animal. I’ve posted about database developers feeling left out of agile, noting that you can’t just replace a database with a new rev, the way you do in app development. Nor can you simply restore version 1 of your database from backup if you discover bugs in version 2 after go-live.
So what have they got that you haven’t got?
“We have automation tools,” say the app developers. “You should get some too. Then you could leave work at fun o’clock, the way we do.”
Now that’s something to work toward. Why shouldn’t it be fun o’clock where you are?
Together with Robert Reeves (@robertreeves), CTO of Datical, I’ve written a white paper called DevOps Comes to Database Developers and DBAs — It’s About Time. It introduces you to using automation tools from Toad and Datical for faster database development without compromising quality. When your tools track discrete changes and automate testing, code reviews, staging and deployment, you’ll find that it’s fun o’clock in your office a lot more often.
What are database developers like you doing with all the time they save when fun o’clock rolls around? They’re catching up on what matters.
AR much? Now that Pokémon Go is available for Android and iPhone, you’ve got some training and battling to do. You can augment your humdrum, database-dev reality with the mobile world of Venusaur, Charizard, Pikachu and more than a hundred other species of Pokémon.
It’s better than the video game (isn’t it?) because it gets you on your feet and walking around outdoors to find and catch wild Pokémon. Did you know that they’re out there in the darnedest places? Pokéstops are not only on street corners and in public parks, but also at public art displays, historical markers and monuments. There’s even a gym at the White House.
Do remember to look up from your phone every now and again, though. Thugs happen. So does pavement.
If you don’t already have a nervous twitch from the stress of all those years of lagging behind app development, spend some time perusing the state of the gaming art on Twitch. What better way to see what people are playing or – yeesh – eating on line? Right. This. Instant.
It may a little hard for you to accept that a half-million or so of your fellow homo sapiens are watching their fellow homo sapiens play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at any one time. If so, then grab your #2 brushes and watercolors and learn how to paint trees on Twitch with Bob Ross. It’s better for your blood pressure.
In any event, don’t give up your day job just yet. You may think you’ve freed up boatloads of extra time for a second career now that you’ve incorporated automation tools to your database development, but Twitch broadcasting is no bed of roses.
But fun o’clock isn’t just for passive entertainment. You can get active, wreak a little comic mischief and build your own level. Trade in your database coding skills for some game coding.
How difficult do you think you can make your level? Once you’re no longer spending hours on manual unit testing of your database updates at work, you’ll have plenty of time to find out. Shoot a few Piranha Plants from a cannon, add wings to Koopa Troopas and make Bill Blasters spawn a Cheep Cheep.
For creative inspiration, see how Bananasaurus Rex figured out how to use bombs as both platforms and keys to beat the Bomb Voyage stage. If you get a lump in your throat, then you’re in the right place.
Agile has addressed the development bottleneck and DevOps integrates development and operations to create fully automated deployment pipelines. With Toad and Datical, you can build similar automation into your database development, without having to choose among speed, quality and risk.
Read DevOps Comes to Database Developers and DBAs — It’s About Time to find out how you too can automate your database development and start getting off work at fun o’clock.