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January 12, 2006
2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
3. News & Views
4. Reader Challenge
5. Events and Resources
6. Featured White Paper
7. Peer to Peer
9. New & Improved
Visualize Your SQL Data with Crystal Xcelsius
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by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org
Although SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1) isn't out yet (and no, I have no idea when it will be), you can already get a new-and-improved version of SQL Server 2005 Books Online (BOL) at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1DD54:7B3DA .You can download the updated BOL or view it directly from your www browser.
The new BOL has a lot of great new content. The topic "New and Updated Books Online Topics" gives you a concise list of all the recent changes and makes it easy to see topics that are brand new as well as topics that have been modified in some way. Another convenient way to track down new content is to look for tags that indicate recent updates; new topics are marked with the tag "New: 5 December 2005," and updated topics are marked with "Updated: 5 December 2005." These tags appear directly in the subjects that have been changed. A handy feature for digesting the reasonably large number of new changes is the Change History Log, which shows up at the bottom of each entry that has had significant changes. I'm not sure what the official Microsoft answer is, but it seems that these change log is intended to be cumulative as new BOL releases are made into the future. The Change History Log summarizes new content and modifications to the existing topic, so you can quickly read up on new changes as the product matures over time.
Although I can't cover the scope of all the new and updated content in this small space, the new BOL edition summarizes its most important changes:
I've always been a geek, interested in decoding the mysteries of SQL Server by studying system tables and other related metadata sources, so one of the new topics that piqued my interest was a new FAQ about how to query the System Catalog to perform certain commonly requested tasks such as:
I think it's great that Microsoft is adding more practical to BOL. But I hope they don't take it too far, or people might want to stop reading magazines.
Learn SQL Server 2005 Now--Get a FREE training CD!
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2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
Microsoft Provides Resource Portal for Upgrading to SQL Server 2005
If your company is planning for or evaluating an upgrade to SQL Server 2005, you can find a variety of resources and information at the Microsoft SQL Server TechCenter site. The site's theme for the month of January is "Upgrading to SQL Server 2005," and Microsoft has assembled a wealth of tools and resources to help you narrow your search for upgrade answers. The sites home page features links to tools, including the SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Advisor and the SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Handbook; articles, including links to specific SQL Server 2005 Books Online (BOL) topics; Webcasts; E-Learning courses; Virtual Labs; and community events. The site also features a list of SQL Server MVPs and their upcoming speaking engagements. You can access the portal site at
Learn how to leverage new features in SQL Server 2005 to greatly extend your existing backup and restore capabilities. Live Web Seminar: February 7, 2006
3. News & Views
Microsoft Missed Vista Code-Complete Milestone, Plans for February CTP
by Paul Thurrott, email@example.com
In early December 2005, Microsoft publicly announced that it planned to internally ship a code-complete version of Windows Vista by the end of 2005, setting the stage for a future code-complete Community Technology Preview (CTP) build that the company would issue to testers. However, sources in Redmond tell me that the company didn't reach this milestone, and Microsoft plans to ship a code-complete Windows Vista version internally by January 31, 2006, instead.
For its part, Microsoft says that Windows Vista is still on schedule. "\[Corporate Vice President\] Amitabh \[Srivastava\] said in the November conference call that Microsoft would have the majority of features code-complete by the end of 2005 and integrated into the product in early 2006," a Microsoft representative told me. "The development team is right on track with that guidance."
What's odd is that the next CTP--now due on February 17, according to my sources--will be based on a code branch that predates the code-complete version. This suggests that the next CTP might not be code-complete as previously expected, though it will likely include virtually all the features Microsoft intends to ship in Windows Vista. Microsoft confirmed today that the next CTP will be issued in February but didn't corroborate the February 17 date.
As I write this, Microsoft is internally testing Windows Vista build 5293. This suggests that the next CTP build could be in the 5300 range, as Microsoft is currently expected to fork over the Windows Vista code base for the February CTP on January 23, 4 weeks before the ostensible February 17 ship date.
Results of Previous Instant Poll: Your Primary Language
"What is your primary development language?" Here are the results from the 205 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):
New Instant Poll: 2006 Employment Outlook
"What's the employment outlook for IT jobs at your company in the coming year?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1DD67:7B3DA ) and submit your vote for
4. Reader Challenge
January Reader Challenge Solution: Deploying a Startup Parameter on All Servers
by Umachandar Jayachandran, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Dimitar Dimitrov a MCP, MCDBA, and MCAD of Hebrosbank Plovdiv, Bulgaria, who won first prize of $100 for the best solution to the January Reader Challenge, "Deploying a Startup Parameter on All Servers." Only one submitter met the expectations set by the problem for the January challenge. You can read a recap of the problem and the solution to the January Reader Challenge at
February Reader Challenge: Imposing Data Restrictions
Now, test your SQL Server savvy in the February Reader Challenge, "Imposing Data Restrictions"(below). Submit your solution in an email message to email@example.com by January 19. 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:
Arun is a database architect who designs database schemas for products that use SQL Server 2000 and 7.0. Arun is currently working on a schema for a product that lets end users configure field names. The product's schema table contains a column that stores a field name, and this field name is displayed in the product's UI. The table can be installed under any case-insensitive database collation supported by SQL Server. The schema of the table looks like this:
fieldname nvarchar(50) NOT NULL )
As part of the schema design, Arun wants to allow only a mix of upper or lowercase alphabetical characters with no numbers, international alphabet characters (e.g, accent marks, tildes) or special characters in the field names. How can he impose this restriction on the "fieldname" column of the table?
5. Events and Resources
Find out how fax technology can benefit your bottom line and improve business processes.
Evaluate the costs of losing information and learn what realtime information management means and how to accomplish it in your business.
Learn the essentials about how consolidation and selected technology updates build an infrastructure that can handle change effectively.
Get the tools, tips, and training that you need to avoid a messaging meltdown when an outage strikes. View this seminar today:
6. Featured White Paper
Plan and implement reliable strategies to maintain highly available Exchange Server 2003 messaging systems.
7. Peer to Peer
by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team, firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. One of my users has requested that I change the way I display the cost elements associated with a particular booking. Instead of merely listing the cost elements, this user would like me to produce a table that, in his opinion, provides a clearer breakdown of the booking requirements. The new table needs to show the total quantity of each cost element required at each rate and on each day. How can I use my current database tables to produce the display the user requires?
Daily, DBAs and developers wrestle with a multitude of challenges as they strive to keep data clean and transactions humming, construct queries that give users exactly the data they need, or write applications to improve business processes. We know that the database pros who are our readers have devised innovative solutions to meet such challenges. In the January issue of SQL Server Magazine, we honor three SQL Server Professionals who have created innovative solutions to problems they faced at work. Read about the solutions created by the winners of our 2005 SQL Server Magazine Innovator Awards today at
In the December issue of SQL Server Magazine, reader's received a new SQL Server 2005 system view map. You can also download the map from Microsoft. In this week's blog "Everybody Needs a Map," Kevin Kline reflects on the incredible evolution of SQL Server and the necessity of using a map to navigate this complex product. Read the blog and let Kevin know your thoughts today at
Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.
SQL Server General Discussion: Active Directory LDAP Query
T-SQL: Generating a Random Order Number (int)
Administration: Buffer Latch Error
Development: How to Concat from a Grid of Data
SQL Server 2005 General Discussion: Upgrade Performance
SQL Server 2000/7.0 General Discussion: Urgent--SQL Jobs
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9. New & Improved
by Blake Eno, email@example.com
Simplify XML Data Integration
Stylus Studio announced the latest release of its XML IDE, Stylus Studio 2006 XML Enterprise Edition. The new release features updated support for both XQuery 1.0 and Extensible Style Language Transformations (XSLT) 2.0, both of which have integrated support for Stylus Studio 2006 XML Deployment Adapters. The Deployment Adapters are Java components that let you read and write, whether your data source is XML, relational, EDI, or legacy data. Additional features include Folding XML Code support and integrated support for the Saxon SA 8.6 processor. Pricing for Stylus Studio 2006 XML Enterprise Edition starts at $895 for a single-user license. You can develop the Deployment Adapters by using the product, but you can deploy them only by purchasing a deployment license, which starts at $1000 for a single processor. For more information, contact Stylus Studio at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-280-4488.
Symantec Completes BindView Acquisition
Symantec Corporation announced the completion of its acquisition of BindView Development Corporation. This partnership provides users with a choice of agentless or agent-based solutions that let them define, control, and sustain their compliance requirements. With Symantec and BindView together, users will have a solution from a single vendor that will offer policy and vulnerability management. For more information about Symantec's acquisition of BindView, contact Symantec at 408-517-8000 or BindView at 713-561-4000.
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