A few weeks ago, I explained how you could get involved with the SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 2 (SP2) beta program. I described how this program could put you on the fast track for the beta program for Yukon, the next release of SQL Server, and help you contribute to the SQL Server community. Now I have another opportunity from Microsoft that will let you help Microsoft improve its SQL Server information resources and contribute to the SQL community.

Steve Dybling, a Microsoft SQL Server forum manager, recently posted a message on the public SQL Server newsgroups announcing an initiative to launch a series of SQL Server HowTo articles. What's a HowTo article? Think FAQ but with a little more technical meat and detailed steps that walk you through the process of solving a common task. To get an idea of the type of content Microsoft is looking to provide for SQL Server, see the Web sites below for a few HowTo offerings in other technology areas.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/itsolutions/howto/default.asp

http://msdn.microsoft.com/howto/default.asp

Microsoft doesn't want you to write the HowTo content. Instead, the company wants your help identifying the problems and processes the HowTo articles should address. Have you ever wanted to accomplish a specific task with SQL Server, but you couldn't find a simple HowTo document anywhere on the Internet that stepped you through it? Now's your chance to speak up! Simply provide this information:

  • Title of the idea
  • A basic scenario in which the idea would come in handy

Although Microsoft can't guarantee that it will use your HowTo solution in a formal article, Dybling promises to do his best to follow up on all submissions.

You can send your request to Microsoft in one of two ways. You can respond to the Microsoft newsgroup message that announced the SQL Server HowTo initiative. Dybling posted his original message Friday, September 7, on the microsoft.public.sqlserver.setup newsgroup on the msnews.Microsoft.com news server.

Or you can simply send an email to SQLHowTo@sqlmag.com. We told Microsoft that SQL Server Magazine would be happy to help collect this important user feedback. We'll gather your ideas and deliver them directly to Dybling.