As I sit here reflecting upon my day I started thinking about a coworker that I've been interacting with lately for a project involving the creation of a data driven custom action pattern for publishing datasources and reports to a sqlserver reporting services instance. ( Side note: this would really rock as a wix extension )
You see, this person has shown an exceedingly rare (at least where I work) ability to jump in and understand the needs of setup. All on his own, he's started maintaining the wix merge module source that defines the custom tables that drive the custom actions. When we were prototyping the custom actions, we were having difficulties getting the Microsoft web service object model to properly associate the uploaded reports with the shared datasources. This developer jumped into C#/DTF, figured out how I was using the WindowsInstaller interop to read the custom tables into HashTables and then using the data to call the webservice methods to make the configuration changes. Finally he dug into the webservice object model, found the issue and fixed the datasource association bug.
Needless to say, I'm impressed. If all of our developers were like this developer, we'd be along way towards the distributed setup development model that people at Microsoft preach.
At last this developer is primarily a DBA. So I ask my readers, how would you entice a developer like this to consider the world of deployment engineering?
If you have some interesting self contained work just ask if he would be interested in helping you out with it. Try to expose him to the basics while doing something interesting and then he will have a better idea of what deployment is, many still think its mostly xcopy.
Once he knows more about deployment hopefully he will know if it’s something he would like to pursue further. One important factor is bound to be how benefical gaining knowledge about deployment and all the associated other stuff will be to his carrer.
My background prior to deployment was also databases (and C\C++) so I think it’s likely that he will easily grasp how msi is structured and probably like its logical nature, I did.
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