This week I saw a post from Randolph West that covers binary and hexadecimal. It seemed basic and simple to me, but I’m old. I started learning about binary and hex in high school, where we used to tap our fingers to count in binary. Up was “0”, and down was “1”, and with one hand, you count to 31 (from zero). At the time, I thought it was important to know binary and hex to work with computers.
These days, I’ve rarely had to deal with binary and hex. They aren’t useless in programming, but they are much less used in these days of GB of memory and large data structures. We don’t encode things as often as we used to. Usually now hex just means I’m dealing with varbinary and need to cast it (or render it in some other way).
During the last few years, I’ve seen some efforts to get back to basics and publish more information that helps people get started or fill in gaps for areas that someone might have missed. Years ago Ed Leighton-Dick started the SQLNewBlogger challenge. I participated, and continue to write some basic posts every week or two. Grant had his database fundamentals series, and SQLServerCentral has published the Stairway Series for some time, giving people a way to get started in some new area of the data platform.
I think it’s important that we continue to cover the basics in all aspects of the data platform, as well as other areas. The world of technology is so wide, and new people are always starting their journey in their industry. Even for those of us that have worked with SQL Server or some other area for a long time don’t know everything about the platform. We often have as need to learn more about some niche and need some basics to help us. I think Azure Data Factory as a perfect example of this. Many people who worked with SSIS for years might need a few primers on the differences with ADF to understand a slightly new paradigm. Much of cloud computing needs basics, and constant updates to those pieces.
I know that the basics are always popular at SQL Saturdays and other conferences. The basics often get the most reads as articles, and I am hopeful that we will continue to see those with knowledge remembering that the basics are often the most important part of learning to build better software and systems for the future.