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Category: Documentation

Adding Help to Your Powershell Code

Robert Cain helps those who help themselves:

Having good help is vital to the construction of a module. It explains not only how to use a function, but the purpose of the module and even more.

Naturally I’ve included good help text in the ArcaneBooks module, but as I was going over the construction of the ArcaneBooks module I realized I’d not written about how to write help in PowerShell. So in this post and the next I’ll address this very topic.

Read on for Robert’s thoughts on the topic, including standard ways to add content comments so Powershell’s built-in Get-Help cmdlet works for you.

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The Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)

Robert Cain continues a series on book archival:

This is part of my ongoing series on my ArcaneBooks project. The goal is to provide a module to retrieve book data via provided web APIs. In the SEE ALSO section later in this post I’ll provide links to previous posts which cover the background of the project, as well as how to use the OpenLibrary APIs to get data based on the ISBN.

In this post I will provide an overview of using the Library of Congress API to get data based on the LCCN, short for Library of Congress Control Number.

This has been an interesting series to watch, as it’s a practical application of non-work use of a series of practical development skills.

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Fixing the Parallelism Documentation

Erik Darling shreds the docs:

The section with the weirdest errors and omissions is right up at the top. I’m going to post a screenshot of it, because I don’t want the text to appear here in a searchable format.

That might lead people not reading thoroughly to think that I condone any of it, when I don’t.

Erik pulls no punches on this post. Hopefully the end result is that this part of the documentation improves.

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Tips on Navigating Postgres Documentation

Laetitia Avrot dishes dirt on Postgres documentation:

I could have created a very easy post with quick tips on psql, like how to disable this horrible pager the “ancient” Postgres contributors insist on keeping on by default (BTW, it’s \pset pager off, you’re welcome, you’ll thank me later), but as I wrote an entire website on that exact topic, I thought I needed to find something else.

So here is my topic: how to use the Postgres documentation! Yes, that documentation content is great, but no, that documentation is not easy to navigate at first.

Click through for tips on the best ways to navigate through this documentation, as well as important pages and topics based on your use case and role.

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Reviewing an Existing Data Model with Power BI Model Documenter

Marc Lelijveld wants to see what’s out there in the wild:

In some scenarios, it can happen that you do not even have a Power BI desktop data model. For example, when you migrated from Analysis Services to Power BI Premium, or in case you have to deal with large datasets and it is directly developed using Visual Studio, Tabular Editor or any other tool of your preference and deployed over the XMLA endpoint. Similar setup could be that you once enriched your data model using Tabular Editor or ALM Toolkit, which resulted in the fact that your Power BI Desktop file, is no longer your golden version of your data model.

Another scenario could be gaining an overview of partitioning when using incremental refresh. The partitions of Incremental Refresh are only generated in the Power BI Service. So, including this information in your generated documentation is only possible when you connect directly to the Power BI Service.

But what if you still want to show a complete view of your Power BI data model, and extract insights using the Power BI Model Documenter? I can tell you; it is possible!

Read on to see what you can do in that case.

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Production Code by Audience

Kenneth Fisher thinks about the audience:

I’ll be honest, all of that is pretty variable. It depends. There are lots of different types of code used in production.

For example, if your code is something you’ll be using yourself, you may not care about how robust it is. I mean you need to make sure it won’t do any harm if it fails, either through restartable steps, rolling back transactions, etc. But if it fails you’re right there to fix whatever went wrong and move on. You can almost think of it as a set of notes on how to do a process. Maintenance is also less of an issue because no one else is likely to be looking at it but you. You still probably want some documentation in case it’s been a while since you used the code and you’ve forgotten how that tricky bit works. And performance? Well, how patient are you? I’m not overly patient so performance is pretty important for code I’m running manually.

Read on for Kenneth’s take but also check out Jeff Moden’s response in the comments for the contrary view.

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Commenting on Actions in Production

Andy Leonard wants to know whodunnit:

While “Commands completed successfully” is helpful to know – and definitely better than an error message – it does not inform the person executing the command precisely what just happened. Rather, “Commands completed successfully” informs the user that “something happened,” and as far as SQL Server Management Studio is concerned, whatever it was succeeded.

I prefer more details.

Andy also casually drops the concept of idempotence, which I define as saying that the end state is the same no matter how many times you run a specific process. My phrasing of the term is a little different though we get to the same point. Which is itself kind of an explanation of idempotence if you squint a little bit.

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Power BI Model Documenter Version 2.1.0

Marc Lelijveld has a new version of the Power BI Model Documenter:

It is long overdue, but time for a new updated version for the Power BI Model Documenter external tool! The latest release lasts from the first week of 2022 and since then close to 6000 people have downloaded the Model Documenter installer directly from the website, excluding the downloads and clones from the GitHub repository. I can’t share enough how happy I am with all the interactions I’ve had with people from all over the world providing feedback, asking questions and willing to contribute to the Model Documenter.

Read on to see what’s changed since the last release.

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Database Lineage with Extended Properties

Garry Bargsley shows a use for extended properties on databases:

Databases listed with 1, 2, 3, 4? What do those databases represent? Where did those databases come from?

Would you believe me if I told you there was a way to identify where the databases were sourced from?

A setting that can be used in SQL Server would allow the person who built these databases or restored them from another system to add a note.

Extended properties are very useful but also very easy to forget and difficult to manage. I’ve seen a few vendor products make great use of them but in-house development tends to ignore them.

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Finding Guidance on Power BI

James Serra puts together a compendium:

Recently there has been a number of great articles published on Power BI that I wanted to make you aware of that go beyond the features descriptions found in the Power BI documentation. These new articles fall under the Power BI guidance documentation and are designed to address common strategic patterns.  Below is my summary of the articles, and check out Power BI guidance from the CAT by Matthew Roach for a more detailed summary.

If you’re interested in Power BI administration and strategic deployment, there’s a lot of good information here.

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