Even before SQL Server 2005, Microsoft was gradually pulling sample databases it used to include with SQL Server and posting them to its CodePlex open-source project website instead, at www.codeplex.com. The site is loaded with interesting and useful SQL Server samples as well as tools and utilities. I found these seven interesting downloads:

1. AdventureWorks and AdventureWorksDW

For SQL Server users, the first stop at CodePlex is almost always for the sample databases. AdventureWorks and AdventureWorksDW for SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 are on CodePlex in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of each. 

2. AdventureWorks StoreFront

The AdventureWorks database back end is only half of the application-development picture. To get the full end-to-end view, you need to download the application front end as well: AdventureWorks StoreFront web application.

3. Large Object Handling

Dealing with large object (LOB) data is always a source of confusion—in part because it’s different than standard relational data but also because Microsoft keeps changing the way you handle LOB data. For some examples of how to use the varbinary(max) data type from CLR stored procedures, see the LOB page on CodePlex.

4. MDX Script Performance Analyser

This tool lets you see how the different components of an MDX query contribute to its overall performance. To use the tool, simply connect to the database and enter the MDX query and the MDX Script Performance Analyser will graph query performance. 

5. Open DBDiff

Open DBDiff is a SQL Server database differencing utility. This tool compares two SQL Server 2005 databases and generates a T-SQL script that can synchronize the databases in either direction. Open DBDiff also synchronizes tables, columns, indexes, XML indexes, user data types, triggers, functions, stored procedures and more.

6. SQL Data Services Examples

Afraid of being left behind in the rush to cloud computing? I’m not, but if you are, jump in and download the SQL Data Services (SDS) examples, which illustrate how to develop applications for Microsoft’s cloud-based SDS. You can download the SDS sample application source code from CodePlex's SDS page.