SQL Server Magazine UPDATE—brought to you by SQL Server Magazine
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May 8, 2003—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • Reporting Services Quietly Develops

2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS

  • Manually Remove MSDE
  • SQL Server Magazine Announces Innovator Awards
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: SQL Server Job Market
  • New Instant Poll: SQL Server Reporting Services

3. READER CHALLENGE

  • May Reader Challenge Winners and June Challenge

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Security Bootcamp Online Advanced-Level Training
  • Check Out the Database Performance Portal Today!

5. RESOURCES

  • What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Securing SQL Server
  • Hot Thread: Mystery: DBO User of a Named Login
  • Tip: Working Around a Varchar Truncation

6. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)

  • mssqlXpress the Ultimate Tool for MS SQL

7. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Maximize XML Developer Productivity
  • Create Database Front Ends

8. CONTACT US

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

1. COMMENTARY

  • REPORTING SERVICES QUIETLY DEVELOPS

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

    Sometimes companies try to create FUD—fear, uncertainty, and doubt—by announcing a product months or years in advance of its release to keep customers from investing in a competing product. Lately I've been wondering if Microsoft is trying to create the opposite—anti-FUD.

    In case you missed it, Microsoft has posted information about the upcoming release of SQL Server Reporting Services (formerly code-named Rosetta) at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/evaluation/bi/reportingservices.asp . The site, which gives only minimal information, says that Reporting Services will be a full-life-cycle reporting platform, providing report authoring, management, and delivery. Microsoft is keeping most information about Reporting Services under nondisclosure agreement (NDA). But I can say that Reporting Services is poised to profoundly improve the way developers build, send, and receive database reports—as well as consumer phone or credit card bills or business-to-business (B2B) invoices.

    Microsoft plans to release a beta of Reporting Services late this summer. At this stage of development, most Microsoft products are surrounded by a flood of marketing information. Interestingly, there's been barely a squeak about Reporting Services. Microsoft has been developing Reporting Services for more than 2 years. I've known about the product for more than a year, and I'm amazed at how tight a lid Microsoft has kept on the product's existence. Forget about early discussions of features—Microsoft didn't even want people to know the concept for such a product existed. Truly anti-FUD behavior.

    Why the secrecy? Many companies probably aren't thrilled about Microsoft's entry into the reporting marketplace, and Microsoft might not want to create FUD among partners such as Crystal Decisions. Reporting Services can do almost anything that Crystal Decisions' Crystal Reports can do. And Microsoft will bundle Reporting Services in the SQL Server box and will likely make the product free in different versions of SQL Server (final pricing hasn't been set). I can imagine a bunch of Crystal Reports product managers frantically working on add-ons to the Reporting Services platform so that they can stay competitive. Microsoft has said nothing about its motives, but I speculate that the company might be delaying the publicity for Reporting Services so that highly valued partners such as Crystal Decisions can refine their partnering plans. In fact, Microsoft seems to be going to great pains to position Reporting Services as a platform around which an army of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can build rich content and reporting tools. As part of this strategy, Microsoft is releasing Report Definition Language (RDL), which is an XML schema that describes a Reporting Services report. Any developer will be able to write RDL-compliant tools.

    Another possible reason why Microsoft has delayed publicity is that the company might want to catch business intelligence (BI) competitors such as Business Objects and Cognos off guard. A lot of money is at stake in the enterprise BI market, and Reporting Services will step on a lot of toes. I'm not a financial analyst, but in February, CRN reported that the stock prices of such major players as Cognos, Microstrategy, Hyperion, and Business Objects "were hammered" when news of Reporting Services first started reaching the financial markets. (You can read CRN's article, "Microsoft's Yukon To Get Reporting Tools, Data Mirroring," at http://crn.channelsupersearch.com/news/crn/39912.asp .)

    Although BI is important, it's still an emerging technology. But everyone needs to produce reports—the market is huge. And most of the initial information I've gotten about Reporting Services indicates that the product is quite good. Take a huge market with lots of potential revenue, mix in a product that can meet 80 percent of your customers' reporting needs, set an attractive price, and you have a product that's bound to be successful.


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    2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS

  • MANUALLY REMOVE MSDE

  • When you need to remove a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE) 2.0 instance, you typically do so by using the Add/Remove programs in the Control Panel. However, if you experience a problem when you use this method, you can manually remove the instance instead. The step-by-step Microsoft article "HOW TO: Manually Remove a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE 2.0) Instance" describes how. You can read the entire article at
    http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=137688

  • SQL SERVER MAGAZINE ANNOUNCES INNOVATOR AWARDS

  • Have you scaled out a system with SQL Server 2000's federated database support or implemented OLAP or data mining to give decision makers the power to analyze data? Have you used SQL Server's XML functionality to develop Web services and platform-independent applications. SQL Server DBAs and developers often create innovative technical solutions to problems or devise unique ways to enhance programs or system features to improve performance or return on investment. These creative thinkers have an opportunity to gain recognition for their efforts through SQL Server Magazine's second annual Innovator Awards competition.

    The magazine is accepting entries for the awards through email and fax until August 1. An awards review committee will select one top winner and three runners-up who will all receive pewter mug trophies. The top winner will also take home the SQL Server Innovator's Cup traveling trophy to keep for the next 12 months and will receive free round-trip airfare, three nights lodging at the conference hotel, and a complimentary registration to the SQL Server Magazine Connections Conference in Palm Springs, California, October 12 through 14. Read competition details and submit your entries at
    http://www.sqlmag.com/awards

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS INSTANT POLL: SQL SERVER JOB MARKET

  • The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Has the SQL Server job market worsened or improved in the first part of 2003?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 262 votes:
    • 42% Worsened. I've seen fewer SQL Server-related jobs posted.
    • 18% Improved. I've seen more SQL Server-related jobs posted.
    • 40% Remained the same. It doesn't seem better or worse than 6 months ago.

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: SQL SERVER REPORTING SERVICES

  • Sponsored by Precise Software Solutions
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    The next Instant Poll question is "Are you interested in Microsoft's new SQL Server Reporting Services?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and vote for 1) Yes, we produce our own custom reports and this will help; 2) Yes, we use a third-party tool but we're still interested; 3) No, we're happy with the tool we're using; or 4) No, we don't do that much reporting.

    http://www.sqlmag.com


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    3. READER CHALLENGE

  • MAY READER CHALLENGE WINNERS AND JUNE CHALLENGE

  • (contributed by SQL Server MVP Umachandar Jayachandran, challenge@sqlmag.com)

    Congratulations to Marcin Motyl, a computer analyst and programmer for Aster City Cable in Poland, and Juan C. Calderon, an IT security senior auditor for GE Ddemesis Servicios S.A. de C.V. in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Marcin won first prize of $100 for the best solution to the May Reader Challenge, "Query Strings." Juan won second prize of $50. You can find a recap of the problem and the solution to the May Reader Challenge at
    http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38900.

    Now, test your SQL Server savvy in the June Reader Challenge, "Gathering Statistics" (below). Submit your solution in an email message to challenge@sqlmag.com by May 15. SQL Server MVP 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: Dan manages databases hosted on SQL Server 2000 and needs to write a script that gathers statistics on files and filegroups in every database. Dan wants to obtain filegroup attributes and statistics on the disk space that each filegroup uses. He's also interested in the files that contain each filegroup, their attributes and space used, growth parameters for each file, reads performed on a file, and so on. He wants to use this information for capacity-planning and monitoring purposes, such as keeping track of file growth. Help Dan write SQL code that will let him easily obtain this information.

    4. ANNOUNCEMENTS


    (brought to you by SQL Server Magazine and its partners)

  • SECURITY BOOTCAMP ONLINE ADVANCED-LEVEL TRAINING

  • SSMU e-Learning Center, partnering with Scalability Experts, is offering the live online advanced-level training course "Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Security Bootcamp." DBAs, developers, and IT managers will learn how to leverage the security features of SQL Server 2000 to build intelligent, flexible, and secure database access. Go now to
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eQqq0FgQMn0BRZ08qf0AO

  • CHECK OUT THE DATABASE PERFORMANCE PORTAL TODAY!

  • SQL Server Magazine and CSA Research have recently introduced the Database Performance Portal. IT professionals use the Performance Portal to conduct client, server, and network scalability studies; perform ad hoc systems health analysis; identify infrastructure bottlenecks; conduct offsite diagnostics; and qualify new hardware purchases. To visit the portal, go to
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eQqq0FgQMn0BRZ07hf0AE

    5. RESOURCES

  • WHAT'S NEW IN SQL SERVER MAGAZINE: SECURING SQL SERVER

  • Even in the aftermath of the Slammer worm, many SQL Server DBAs aren't applying patches that can help protect their systems. To address customers' concerns, Microsoft Vice President of SQL Server Gordon Mangione explores why customers aren't applying patches, shares how Microsoft plans to solve these problems, and looks to the future of security for SQL Server. Brian Moran's exclusive SQL Server Magazine interview with Mangione, "Securing SQL Server," appears in the May issue and is available online at
    http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=38537

  • HOT THREAD: MYSTERY: DBO USER OF A NAMED LOGIN

  • New SQL Server 2000 DBA HI_Art understands from looking at the Users tab of a new database that SQL Server creates the database with the username dbo assigned to the sa login. When you add a new login, SQL Server automatically creates the user for you. HI_Art has inherited a database that contains a single user, dbo, but the user's login isn't sa—it's a user-defined login. How could this happen? Read what other DBAs have said, and offer your advice, on SQL Server Magazine's Security forum at the following URL:
    http://www.sqlmag.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=6&threadid=14936

  • TIP: WORKING AROUND A VARCHAR TRUNCATION

  • (contributed by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team)

    Q. I've noticed that when I pass varchar data in a parameter to the sp_OASetProperty stored procedure, SQL Server 7.0 truncates the data to 255 characters. For example, when I try to use Microsoft Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) to send a message, the body of the message is limited to 255 characters even though the @body variable is defined as varchar(8000). When I print the content of @body, the data is intact, but SQL Server sends only 255 characters. Does a workaround for the truncation problem exist?

    A. The 255-character limit is based on the method that the sp_OA* stored procedures expose for passing data. You can work around the limit in one of two ways. You can pass the arguments through a table or external file: Simply create code that loops back into the database and reads all the data in the varchar column. Or you can define a wrapper that uses a method to accumulate the message text through repeated calls until the code returns an end-of-text or empty text delimiter.

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    7. NEW AND IMPROVED


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

  • MAXIMIZE WEB DEVELOPER PRODUCTIVITY

  • Altova announced XMLSPY 5, AUTHENTIC 5, and STYLEVISION 5, XML tools to maximize software developer productivity and accelerate XML adoption in the enterprise. XMLSPY 5 is a development environment for designing, editing, and debugging enterprise-class XML applications. AUTHENTIC 5, which supports SQL Server 2000 repositories, is a document editor that lets users capture thoughts and ideas in XML format. STYLEVISION 5 provides conversion utilities for migration of HTML Web sites to XML-based sites. For pricing, contact Altova at sales@altova.com.
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  • CREATE DATABASE FRONT ENDS

  • Servoy announced Servoy R2, a development and deployment environment that lets developers create desktop applications, database front ends, and data-entry and reporting systems. Servoy R2 doesn't require you to install applications or Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) drivers on end-user machines. Servoy R2 connects to multiple data sources simultaneously and can combine data from multiple database servers into one application and report. Servoy R2 supports SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, MySQL, and Informix databases. For pricing, contact Servoy at sales@servoy.com.
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    8. CONTACT US


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

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