Interview with Ronen Ariely - many times TechNet Guru Competition winner

Today I want to introduce Ronen Ariely - long term SQL Server developer and winner of several TechNet Guru Contributions.  

Sailing with a friend 20 years ago...


Let's start the interview:

Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? What are your specialty technologies?  

My name is Ronen Ariely, I am from Israel. I am over 40 years old and playing with computers from 1983 as a child, when I first learned programming.

I'm a senior consultant & developing architect, a professional programmer, architecting SQL & BI enterprise level solutions. I have more than 12 years of experience in variety of programming languages and technologies, leading and managing development teams and BI projects.

My passion is designing complex applications and troubleshooting. I like challenges and I do not like being told that something is impossible. I am using Microsoft's Technologies. I write blogs for several years, and working on the next blog all the time. I help in several forums and communities in the fields of SQL Server, T-SQL and Programming in general and Dot.Net specifically since 2001. My nickname on the internet communities in the last several years is PITUACH or PITOACH. "PITUACH" is the word DEVELOPMENT in Hebrew. I started to use this nickname a few years ago, after I got sick of seeing every child calls himself in the virtual world (like forums) "genius" or "king" or "The King" or "the best" and so on... So I decided to choose simplest nickname as I can, and I chose to say: I am just a "developer" :-)

In early January, I'll open the new year of the Israel SQL Server Group with my lecture on VSS. So if you are in Israel, I'd love to see you. 

Please tell a bit about Israel SQL Server Group, and Israel TechNet Wiki members and who do you plan to bring to Wiki.

The best way to describe our group will be by explaining why I am going there at all. At first I went to hear lectures on subjects which interested me professionally. I soon found myself enjoying it socially, I found that I enjoy the conversations during breaks and after the sessions, not less than the lectures themselves. At that time I found myself Hooked :-) coming regularly each month.

Some members in US user groups need to travel more than two hours to get to the nearest user group meeting. In Israel you can travel half of the country in that time. I understood there are some Users Group with more than 1500 members that come to each meeting. In Israel everything is a bit smaller, I think this is an advantage. The core members know each other personally, so the Israel SQL Server Group is more than just a professional group, it is a members group.

Unfortunately, there are not many Israeli Wiki members, as far as I know. There are several reasons I can point. But mostly, there is just need for more writers in Hebrew. The WIKI interface is not easy to work with languages ??written from right to left. The transition between writing code (using left to right text), to plain Hebrew text (using right to left) is very uncomfortable. I suggested several times to add RTL/LTR buttons, to switch between directions, as there are in most text editors. Meanwhile, this is not yet done.

I can certainly see the potential of the system. Perhaps in the future I will try to focus on writing articles in Hebrew (in addition to articles in English), in order to bring more audience.

Also tell us more about your interests.

Mmmm... It is a tricky' question :-)

I grew up in Eilat. Eilat is a seaside city with everything that implies. In the past I used to write that my interests include: software development, playing open source strategy games (like Freeciv or Wesnoth), sailing and diving. OK… it is true that I have a diving license from the age of 15 and I had hundreds of dives to date, and it is true that I have extensive experience sailing sails, including in competitions. But seriously... I do not remember the last time I went out to sea :-(

I think that I spent most of the day near the computer these days. When I work on an application that I develop, I can forget myself. I do not have schedule. Sometimes I work (or play) all night and quite possible I'll sleep during the day. 

What is TechNet Wiki for? Who is it for?

TechNet Wiki is probably one of best platforms where Developers, IT people and DBA people can meet together in the virtual world for co-learning and sharing. This is a Unique platform, where an article can be written by everyone together (not like a book or a blog) and bring us one article with different perspectives of technology.

I want to thank all the people who contribute their time to communities at forums and writing blogs and articles on WIKI in order to help others. I am glad to be part of a great community. 

What are your favorite Wiki articles you’ve contributed?

Shrink SQL Database During Restore

Everyone knows that we always remember our first… this is my first WIKI article, and it gave me a good starting point when it won the gold medal at the TechNet Guru contest, July 2013. This article was actually very simple to write, since it is written as a "step by step" tutorial. There is no long discussion, it includes mostly short explanation and code.


Do you have any comments for product groups about TechNet Wiki?

Yes, as I mentioned before I highly recommend to add RTL/LTR buttons, to switch between directions, as there are in most text editors. In addition I think that Microsoft should combine several learning interfaces like site with the TechNet WIKI, the Hebrew Interface (like the blogs) with the English one, and so on. Sometime less is more :-)


Do you have any tips for new Wiki authors?

 Oh… yes… I can think about some:

  • Remember you can edit the article… don’t try to write it all at once. Check the article if you are not sure and then edit it to continue the writing.
  • At the start of the article add "[toc]" (without the Quotation marks). This will add an index to the article base on heading (titles).
  • Using code: don’t add line numbers to the code. It might be pretty but it make it very hard to copy the code without the line number.
  • Format the code using the build in "code block" and choose width 97%
  • A Wiki is not a personal blog. Use less "I" and more "we". Writing a personal story like "I went to…" might look strange after the WIKI article will be edited by someone else. Remember a WIKI is a Joint article.
  • Add pictures and codes… it is always good
  • Always add References and Resources

What is it about TechNet Wiki that interests you?

About a decade ago I wrote Wikipedia articles. I really liked the idea of ??collaborative articles. The concept has not changed and my interest has not declined. As I see it, now is the time to do the same with Tech articles.


On what Wiki articles do you spend most of your time?

Due to the fact that I started writing TechNet WIKI articles as a result of Naomi's posts and Ed's posts, at the T-SQL forum, I spent most of my time on articles which handle topics about Microsoft SQL Server, and later on I read some articles of C#. I commented on some and edited others. The final step will be writing… maybe my next article will be on C#...  


Thanks, Ronen, for this great interview and very interesting answers. If you have more questions for Ronen or just want to tell him something, please, don't hesitate to add comments to this blog post.