If you didn't make it to the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) this year, then you missed a tremendous amount of information about upcoming Microsoft technologies, including SQL Server's next release, code-named Yukon. Fortunately, you don't have to miss all the technical action.

I don't usually push "for fee" information in this commentary, but I want you to know that Microsoft is providing PDC content on DVD. You can order the same content that PDC attendees can directly from Microsoft at https://www.interactservices.com/microsoft_pdc2003/products1.asp .

The DVD set contains streaming media files and presentation slides from the breakout presentations, lunch sessions and the Security and Architecture Symposiums. The set doesn't include pre-conference sessions, labs, or Keynote and General Session presentations and it doesn't include every session, but Microsoft says that the most popular sessions are included.

PDC attendees can order the DVD set for $199; if you didn't attend the conference, your price is $499, which isn't cheap. But the DVDs are a lot less expensive than attending the event (especially when you factor in travel) and you'll be able to learn from the PDC content in the comfort of your own home! Plus, you can refer to the content for help whenever you need it on the job.

If you don't want to shell out $499 for the DVDs you can still check out most of the session slide decks online at http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/pdc/agendaandsessions/sessions/default.aspx . PDC 2003 featured six technical tracks with more than 120 sessions—and more than 20 sessions were of particular interest to SQL Server professionals. A few that I found particularly interesting are:

  • Data Access Design Patterns
  • Developing Reporting Solutions with SQL Server
  • Overview: What's New for Developers in SQL Server "Yukon"
  • Programming SQL Server "Yukon" Using Managed Code: Building Stored Procedures, Functions and User-Defined Types
  • T-SQL Enhancements in SQL Server "Yukon"
  • Caching Techniques for Scalable Enterprise Applications
  • Building Reliable Asynchronous Database Applications with SQL Server "Yukon" Service Broker

However, the slides don't contain speaker notes, which might make them a bit difficult to learn from. The audio feeds on the DVDs are the biggest benefit of purchasing the DVD set.

Keep in mind that the D in PDC stands for developer. Don't expect to see much administration-oriented content in the slides or on the DVDs. However, as I'll remind you many times over the next year, the age of "I'm just a DBA so I don't need to worry about development" will be gone and forgotten once Yukon ships. Obviously, developers will be interested in the SQL Server content presented at PDC, but old school DBAs need to start ramping up as well.