Development environment setup

No, I am not talking about luxurious battle station set up with StreamDecks, DSLR cameras, lighting, RGB keyboards, etc. Someday, maybe, when I am smart enough to figure out all the audio visual stuff. What I am talking about though is the setup for my development on my machine.

Couple of things I am working with:

  • Visual Studio Code Insiders Edition
  • Visual Studio 2019 Enterprise Edition
  • Azure Data Studio
  • SQL Server Management Studio
  • Docker Desktop (running under WSL2, not that I needed WSL2, I just thought it might be worth trying out)
  • Windows Terminal
  • Git for Windows

Visual Studio Code

The not so new kid on the block. I find the extensions really good. There seems to be a bunch of investment in this tool. It covers a really wide range of uses for what I do. Download it here: Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio 2019

Look I haven’t used this in a while. If I actively start working with it again, I will loop back on this. I generally don’t do much customisation with Visual Studio. I do generally make sure that I have it geared for Azure, Database Projects, and either C# or Python development. I find it does most of what I need to do out the box.

Azure Data Studio

The data sister of Visual Studio Code. Makes sense to have. Get started here: Azure Data Studio

SQL Server Management Studio

Ye old SSMS. This has been my world for the past few years as a SQL Server DBA and Consultant. Download it over here: SQL Server Management Studio

Docker Desktop

Containers are a hot topic. An area that I am looking to explore a little more. Thankfully, the team at Docker make it really easy to get up an running on my Windows machine. Get started over here: Docker Desktop

Windows Terminal

I love this thing. I was not a “command line guy”. The more I work in The Cloud, the more I find myself enjoying it. Considering I spend more time there, why not make it pretty 🦋. At this point I welcomed Scott Hanselman’s Pretty Prompt post, go check it out. Get started here: Windows Terminal

Git for Windows

Git for Windows. VSCode does have Git integrated, I have this for some other reasons.

That’s pretty much if for now. I used to use Notepad++ but I found that I can do most of what I wanted with VSCode.

Real projects

I have been working with relational databases, specifically SQL Server, for a while now. It’s not fun having a bicycle shop that loses money as the primary example database for me to play with. It doesn’t really let me work on something with a reasonable amount of data. Or even tackle a end-to-end solution, because the thing is already in the end state. For a long time I wondered how I can build something realistic to take “real” data and factor it into a solution. Not that the solution will be the greatest, but it is meant as a learning exercise. Who knows what could happen next, I see, learn from and work with very talented people everyday across the interwebz.

The plan

  1. Get a development environment set up.
  2. Pick a topic or architecture
  3. Find supporting services or data. Think public data sets.
  4. Get a source code repo going.
  5. Set up a way to track my work and manage deployments.
  6. Start building a minimal viable product and keep it going.
  7. Monitor it, optimise it, extend it, enhance it, energise it 🛸.
  8. Learns all the things.. ok maybe not all, but something..


Well, things move so quickly in the tech world today. I have a tough time keeping up. I didn’t go to university, I didn’t start out in IT (or even a inclination to be in it), and there are a bunch of other reasons why I landed the role of impostor syndrome in every job I had so far. I think there are very many people in that same boat, we might be sharing a seat. By God’s grace many people showed me mercy as I started in this industry, and many who I look up to. With this approach I get to continually build something end-to-end learning as I go. More importantly I try give back what I learn. Whether it’s setting up an IDE, learning more about source control, dealing with CI/CD issues, and expanding my skills in optimisation. This way I set up a tangible and long-lived learning experience that I pray others can use and learn from. It’s going to be raw, it’s new, it is a bit scary for me, but I hope you enjoy it.

That being said. Let’s get to it.

Want to keep track of my progress? Take a look at my project tracking.