SQL Server Magazine UPDATE—brought to you by SQL Server Magazine
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(below COMMENTARY)

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May 2, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Provide Feedback About SQL Server Documentation

2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS

  • Microsoft Releases SQL Server 7.0 SP4
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Database Testing Strategy
  • New Instant Poll: Time Spent Coding

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Immediate Access to T-SQL Solutions!
  • XML Europe 2002, May 20-23, 2002, Barcelona

4. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)

  • ProClarity: Better technology. Smarter, faster decisions

5. RESOURCES

  • What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Effective Installation
  • Hot Thread: Replication Problem
  • Tip: Replicating Data Between a Flat-File System and SQL Server

6. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Surf Data to Create Simple Reports

7. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY


(contributed by Brian Moran, news editor, brianm@sqlmag.com)

  • PROVIDE FEEDBACK ABOUT SQL SERVER DOCUMENTATION

  • Would you like to provide feedback to the Microsoft developers who design and write the code snippets in SQL Server Books Online (BOL) and other SQL Server documentation sources that Microsoft provides? If so, keep reading!

    The SQL Server documentation team is working hard to improve the product's documentation, including the code snippets. I think BOL is a wonderful resource, but there's always room for improvement. Microsoft representatives asked me to encourage SQL Server Magazine UPDATE readers to help improve SQL Server's documentation by completing a survey about the way you use code snippets as you work with the product. (Instructions for accessing the survey are at the end of this commentary.) The folks who write SQL Server documentation and coding examples will review your feedback, so your comments might have a direct impact on the way the team writes this documentation. In the nine-question survey, you'll find open-ended questions such as these:

    • "What do you primarily use code samples for—learning, cutting and pasting into applications, or other tasks?"
    • "What do you like or find particularly useful about the code samples provided in Microsoft documentation?"
    • "How complete do you want code examples to be? Do you expect the code to be complete 'as-is,' or do you expect it to be very basic and to require work on your part to make it secure and robust?"

    The survey also asks more specific questions that solicit your input about different examples of Visual Basic (VB) or T-SQL coding guidelines, such as, "Here are two Transact-SQL code examples that show how to create a clustered index. Which sample would you prefer to see in the documentation, and why?" (The example includes T-SQL code.)

    The survey won't take you long to fill out. And your feedback will pay huge dividends if it helps the Microsoft documentation team design and write code snippets that can serve as effective examples and learning tools for us all.

    Instructions for Accessing the Code Snippet Usability Guest Survey

    Microsoft designed the survey for people who are enrolled in an active SQL Server beta program, but SQL Server Magazine worked with Microsoft to expand access to the survey to the general public. You can access the survey through Microsoft's beta program management site, BetaPlace, at http://www.betaplace.com. Some sign-up steps will seem odd because the login you'll use isn't part of an active beta program.

    • Go to http://www.betaplace.com and log in with username "sql" and password "Survey." The password is case-sensitive and has a capital "S."
    • You'll see a screen that shows you're enrolled in the Liberty 64-bit SQL Server 2000 beta program. The login you used doesn't have access to this beta program, but click the link for the Liberty beta program anyway. You'll then see the code snippet survey.
    • Fill out the form and click Submit. You can ignore the text at the bottom of the page that says, "NOTE: For directions on saving your survey form, please see the 'Survey' section of 'Participation Info.'"

    Congratulations! You're finished.


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    2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS

  • MICROSOFT RELEASES SQL SERVER 7.0 SP4

  • SQL Server 7.0 Service Pack 4 (SP4), a cumulative service pack of fixes for SQL Server 7.0 and Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) 1.0 since their ship date, is available for download. SP4 includes all fixes from previously released service packs; you can apply it to an original installation or to one on which SP3, SP2, or SP1 has been applied. SQL Server 7.0 SP4 is a single executable file. The download includes the data engine; database client utilities, such as Enterprise Manager and OSQL for SQL Server 7.0; and database client connectivity components, such as the OLE DB Provider for SQL Server, the SQL Server ODBC driver, and the client Net-Libraries. Microsoft notes that SP4 doesn't include any updates for SQL Server 7.0 OLAP Services; for the latest updates to these components, you need to download the OLAP portion of SQL Server 7.0 SP3. http://www.microsoft.com/sql/downloads/sp4.asp

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS INSTANT POLL: DATABASE TESTING STRATEGY

  • The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Are you happy with your company's testing strategy to ensure smooth rollouts?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 267 votes:
    • 11% Yes, our testing strategy ensures smooth rollouts
    • 31% Somewhat, but our testing strategy needs some improvement
    • 52% No, our testing strategy needs much improvement
    • 6% Don't know or doesn't apply

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: TIME SPENT CODING

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "How much time per day do you spend coding?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and submit your vote for 1) None—I don't code, 2) 1-2 hours, 3) 3-5 hours, 4) 6-8 hours, or 5) More than 8 hours.
    http://www.sqlmag.com

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    SQL Server Magazine LIVE! joins Windows & .NET Magazine LIVE! to give you two events for the price of one. More than 100 sessions, jam-packed with tips and techniques you need to ensure success in your enterprise deployments. Don't miss your chance to interact with this all-star lineup: tech experts Steve Wynkoop, Kalen Delaney, Sharon Dooley, Mike Hotek, Brian Moran, Mike Otey, William R. Vaughn, Richard Waymire, and more. Must register this week to attend!
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    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO T-SQL SOLUTIONS!

  • Exclusive in-depth articles, tips, tricks, and code samples all at your fingertips. Content you can't get anywhere else—brought to you by the SQL Server experts you trust such as Kalen Delaney, Itzik Ben-Gan, and others. Increase your productivity today! Go to the following URL.
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/flo?y=eLlU0COfyP0BRZ0Kqz0AX

  • XML EUROPE 2002, MAY 20-23, 2002, BARCELONA

  • The XML Europe 2002 Conference and Exposition brings real-world applications and solutions to IT professionals. The four-day conference, produced by IDEAlliance, will provide participants with plenary sessions, conference tracks, detailed tutorials, and an expo floor with more than 40 XML vendors. This year's event also includes a special feature: ebXML Day, sponsored by OASIS. Register today!
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/flo?y=eLlU0COfyP0BRZ0zNL0Ax

    4. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)

  • PROCLARITY: BETTER TECHNOLOGY. SMARTER, FASTER DECISIONS

  • ProClarity Corporation delivers analytic software and services that increase the speed at which organizations can make informed business decisions that directly influence business performance.
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/flo?y=eLlU0COfyP0BRZ01eO0AC

    5. RESOURCES

  • WHAT'S NEW IN SQL SERVER MAGAZINE: EFFECTIVE INSTALLATION

  • Installing SQL Server 2000 seems simple, but choosing the wrong options during the installation process can cause problems later. Itzik Ben-Gan guides you through a smooth SQL Server 2000 installation in his article "Effective Installation," which appears in the May 2002 issue of SQL Server Magazine and is available online at the following URL:
    http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=24317

  • HOT THREAD: REPLICATION PROBLEM

  • Tom is trying to use the replication agent with SQL Server 2000, but after setup, the SQL Server log reader and Snapshot Agent fail, and he receives an error message that the replication agent was not installed properly. Offer your advice and read other users' suggestions on the SQL Server Magazine forums at the following URL:
    http://www.sqlmag.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=3&threadid=5889

  • TIP: REPLICATING DATA BETWEEN A FLAT-FILE SYSTEM AND SQL SERVER

  • (contributed by the Microsoft SQL Server development team)

    Q. I have a flat-file system and a SQL Server database that need to reflect changes to each other's systems. Completing the initial data upload is easy, but replicating the changes in each data store is difficult, especially changes in the flat files. How can I replicate the data between a flat-file system and SQL Server?

    A. One way to replicate the data between the flat-file system and the database is to log changes to both systems. For example, you could log all changes as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE, then write programs to apply these files to the other system. However, if you choose this approach, you'll need to cope with three collision types: updates to records that aren't there, deletes of records that aren't there, and inserts of records that are already there.

    If the default action doesn't make sense or is impossible, you need to decide what action to take. For updates to nonexistent records, you can usually confirm that the record hasn't been deleted, then perform an insert; if the record has been deleted, you can ignore this operation. You can usually ignore deletion of records that have already been deleted. For inserts of records that are already there, you can convert the new record to an update or ignore the operation.

    SQL Server also lets you put triggers on tables in which you want to capture changes. To extract the changes from a flat-file system, you'll probably have to recode the system a bit or build a system that checks the end-of-day files against a previous day's version. Note that letting both systems update the same entities isn't a good idea. We suggest that you move to a master system that performs all updates and applies changes to both systems.

    Send your technical questions to questions@sqlmag.com.

    6. NEW AND IMPROVED


    (contributed by Carolyn Mascarenas, products@sqlmag.com)

  • SURF DATA TO CREATE SIMPLE REPORTS

  • GanyMede Systems released InfoSurfer, a reporting tool that lets end users browse data to create and print simple reports quickly. The software supports SQL Server 2000 and 7.0, Microsoft Access, dBase, and Oracle and consists of InfoSurfer - Desktop and InfoSurfer - Admin. For pricing, contact GanyMede Systems at 604-987-4377.
    http://www.infosurfer.net

    7. CONTACT US


    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — brianm@sqlmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — mcrockett@sqlmag.com

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

    • TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.sqlmag.com/forums
    • PRODUCT NEWS — products@sqlmag.com
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SQL SERVER MAGAZINE UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Customer Support — sqlupdate@sqlmag.com
    • WANT TO SPONSOR SQL SERVER MAGAZINE UPDATE?
      More than 102,000 people read SQL Server Magazine UPDATE every week. Shouldn't they read your marketing message, too? To advertise in SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, contact Beatrice Stonebanks at bstonebanks@sqlmag.com or 800-719-8718.

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