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November 13, 2003—In this issue:
- Getting PDC Content
2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Releases SMS 2003
- Microsoft Publishes Yukon Guide for DBAs
- Hotfix Resolves Query Analyzer Problem
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: CLR Programming
- New Instant Poll: Working with SQL/XML
3. READER CHALLENGE
- November Reader Challenge Winners and December Challenge
- Order Windows & .NET Magazine and the Article Archive CD at One Low Rate!
- 2004 Dates Announced for SQL Server Magazine Connections
- What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Top Yukon Features
- Hot Thread: Slow Bulk Load
- Tip: Obscure Query Analyzer Option
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( contributed by Brian Moran, news editor, email@example.com)
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.
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2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
On November 11, Microsoft announced the release of Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003, the company's change and configuration-management solution. The company says the latest release is easier to install, configure, and maintain than previous versions. In addition, the new version includes improved features for application deployment, asset management, security-patch management, mobility, and Windows Management Services integration. You can download an evaluation version of SMS 2003 and get more information at
In response to customer inquiries about the upcoming release of the next SQL Server version, code-named Yukon, Microsoft published a white paper that describes the product's new features and capabilities. The paper, "An Overview of SQL Sever Yukon for the DBA," explains changes ranging from enhancements to existing features to an entirely new security model. In addition, the paper describes the new infrastructure application capabilities that are at Yukon's core. You can read the white paper at
If you close a query window that has a file open in it or if you open a file in a query window that already has a file open in it, SQL Query Analyzer may randomly stop responding. This problem occurs in all editions of SQL Server 2000. To solve the problem, you download the Microsoft hotfix "FIX: SQL Query Analyzer May Stop Responding When You Close a Query Window or Open a File" at
The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's Instant Poll for the question, "Which CLR-compliant language will you use to write server-side code when Yukon is deployed?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 469 votes (deviations from 100 percent are due to a rounding error):
- 29% Visual Basic .NET
- 39% C#
- 1% C++
- 3% Other
- 27% None—we're sticking with T-SQL for server-side code
The next Instant Poll question is "Do you use SQL Server 2000's SQL/XML?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and vote for 1) Yes, 2) Not yet, but I plan to, or 3) No, and I don't plan to.
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3. READER CHALLENGE
(contributed by SQL Server MVP Umachandar Jayachandran, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Congratulations to Ihor Bobak, an MCP and chief software architect for UKEESS Software House in Lviv, Ukraine, and Ing. Marek Skotnica, a programmer for NH Ostrava in the Czech Republic. Ihor won first prize of $100 for the best solution to the November Reader Challenge, "To Manipulate Tables." Marek won second prize of $50. You can find a recap of the problem and the solution to the November Reader Challenge at
Now, test your SQL Server savvy in the December Reader Challenge, "Maintaining Information" (below). Submit your solution in an email message to email@example.com by November 20. SQL Server MVP Umachandar Jayachandran, a SQL Server Magazine technical editor, will evaluate the responses. We'll announce the winner in an upcoming SQL Server Magazine UPDATE. The first-place winner will receive $100, and the second-place winner will receive $50.
Here's the challenge: Alan is a programmer for a company that hosts several SQL Server 2000 data warehouses. He has a stored procedure that executes as part of a SQL Server Agent T-SQL job. The stored procedure performs a series of operations that execute other stored procedures or data-manipulation statements in a particular order. SQL Server performs, within one transaction, all the changes the stored procedure makes. In case of errors raised from code via the T-SQL RAISEERROR statement, the entire transaction gets rolled back by the database engine on the server.
Alan wants to maintain status information for each stored procedure executed, no matter what the outcome of the transaction is. He wants to record the information in a table at the end of the transaction. Assume that he plans to store the status information in a table that has the following structure:
CREATE TABLE StatusInfo ( RunID int NOT NULL, Stage varchar(50) NOT NULL, StartTime datetime NOT NULL, EndTime datetime NOT NULL, Status tinyint NOT NULL )
Help Alan implement the logic to maintain the status information irrespective of the transaction's outcome.
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Save these dates on your calendar. Spring 2004 SQL Server Magazine Connections will be held April 18-21, 2004, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida. Early registrants will receive free access to concurrently running Microsoft ASP.NET Connections and Visual Studio Connections. For more information, call 203-268-3204 or 800-438-6720.
SQL Server's long-awaited next release, code-named Yukon, is scheduled to ship in late 2004. As you might expect in a version that has been in development for more than three years, Microsoft has added many new features to its flagship database product. In his November SQL Seven column "Top Yukon Features," Michael Otey provides seven of the most important features that Microsoft has announced for Yukon. Read this November SQL Server Magazine article at
Solo42 is trying to bulk load XML documents into her database. She typically calls the bulk loader from Java by using an ADO stream that contains the files she wants to load. However, when she loads more than 50 documents at a time, the process slows dramatically. Is bulk loading simply inefficient for large numbers of documents? Is Java the problem? Or is the problem something that solo42 hasn't thought of? Read what other people have said, and share your thoughts on SQL Server Magazine's Performance forum at
(contributed by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Query Analyzer is packed with features that many people haven't experimented with. Here's an obscure capability that I didn't know existed until recently. Query Analyzer lets you set a wide variety of configuration options. However, I didn't know that you could save the options to a configuration file, then start Query Analyzer or ISQL/w by using that file. ISQL/w is the command-line name of Query Analyzer's GUI. To save the options to a configuration file, use ISQL/w's -C option from the command line or use the Save and Load buttons on the Options dialog box's General tab in Query Analyzer.
For example, say you want to configure Query Analyzer to start up with the Display Results option set to "Results to Grid" or "Results to Text," based on what tasks you were going to perform. You can create a configuration file by setting all the options in Query Analyzer to the settings you choose, then save the current settings to that configuration file by using the Save button on the General tab. You can then reload that configuration file by using the Load button, or you could start a new instance of Query Analyzer that uses that configuration file by calling ISQL/w from the command line and specifying the -C option. This approach would be silly if you were changing one setting, but it can save a tremendous amount of time if you're changing a lot of Query Analyzer options.
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7. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Dawn Cyr, firstname.lastname@example.org)
NEC Solutions announced the NEC SQL Server Solution, a comprehensive package of hardware, software, and training to simplify the process of migrating to 64-bit SQL Server. The solution uses NEC's GlobalMaster Professional server software on NEC Express5800/1000Xd Series servers, a combination that lets you dynamically reconfigure processing elements while ensuring high availability. The solution includes comprehensive training, so organizations with limited IT resources can get the help they need for a successful migration. Pricing for the full solution, including training and services, starts at less than $190,000. For more information, contact NEC Solutions at 866-632-3226 or
AquaFold announced Aqua Data Studio 3.5, a universal database tool for building, managing and maintaining enterprise relational databases. Developed in Java, the latest release includes schema extraction and SQL scripting for database objects. The tool lets you put the SQL Data Manipulation Language (DML) for tables, views, stored procedures, and all database objects in a query window. SQL history capabilities let you access the history of all SQL statements and executed scripts. A new popup query window lets you open multiple query windows to compare scripts and query results. And the tool includes new schema support and trusted-connection support for SQL Server through an ODBC interface. Aqua Data Studio supports all major database platforms, including SQL Server, Oracle 8i and 9i, IBM DB2, Informix Dynamic Server, Sybase Adaptive Server, Sybase Anywhere, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. Aqua Data Studio commercial licenses start at $69 with quantity discounts and include free licenses for personal and educational use. For more information, contact AquaFold at
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