You arrive at work one morning with a lot of important work to do on the production system. You sit down at your station, armed with coffee and a danish. Then, you open your database-management tool set--and have absolutely no idea what any of the screens and buttons do! How do you perform a backup? How do you look at blocking? Where do you add new users? Ah! You wake up in a cold sweat, breathing hard. Thank goodness it was only a dream! Or was it?

Unless you get acquainted with the new SQL Server 2005 database tools, you might find that dream closer to reality than you think. SQL Server 2005's new tool set is a radical departure from previous releases' toolkits. The database press, yours truly included, has spent considerable time talking about the effect that the Common Language Runtime (CLR) will have on your world. That's big news, but what about the fact that the tools SQL Server 2005 will ship with look nothing like the tools you use today? The new tools are great, but you'll need time to get used to them. For example, a developer will feel a lot more at home using Management Studio than a DBA because it has a Visual Studio-like look and feel. Learning a new tool set isn't rocket science, but you shouldn't put it off until after you've rolled out SQL Server 2005 in production. Up to now, the tool shifts between SQL Server tool set releases haven't been too hard to become accustomed to. Moving from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 won't be as easy.

As conference chair for SQL Server Magazine Connections, I select most of the content for the show. For the Fall 2005 show, we're planning a full-day seminar titled "Understanding and Effectively Using SQL Server 2005's New Tools." You might be surprised that we've scheduled a pre-conference session for tools, given that our sessions typically handle more difficult topics, such as performance tuning. But what good are SQL Server 2005's new capabilities if you don't know how to use any of them? Avoid a steep learning curve--attend this fast-paced full-day workshop to get a jump-start! The day will be packed with detailed explanations, demonstrations, and examples to help you discover the new features designed to make both the DBA and database development teams more productive. Kimberly Tripp will bring you up to speed on Management Studio, Visual Source Safe integration, Visual Studio database projects, the Database Tuning Advisor, Query Showplan, SQL Server Profiler, and more! Armed with this information, you'll be prepared and productive the day you start using SQL Server 2005.