SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, December 16, 2004--Application Development

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December 16, 2004

1. Perspectives

  • Speak Your Mind, Application Developers!
  • 2. News and Views

  • Microsoft Releases SQL Server Health and History Tool
  • Microsoft Fixes Character-String Problem in SQL Server CE
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Microsoft's Community Technology Previews
  • New Instant Poll: Application-Development Survey
  • 3. Announcements

  • Try a Sample Issue of Windows Scripting Solutions
  • Free SQL Server Performance Tips and Articles
  • Recovery-Management Strategies
  • 4. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Identifying a Database's Files, Filegroups
  • Hot Article: Implementing Paging
  • Hot Threads
  • 5. Events Central

  • SQL Server Magazine Connections Spring 2005
  • 6. New and Improved

  • Harness XML Schema Functionality
  • Work Around Hidden Problems in Reporting Services
  • Get Realtime Business Continuity
  • Synchronize SQL Server Databases
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    1. Perspectives

  • Speak Your Mind, Application Developers!

  •     by Brian Moran, [email protected]

    'Tis the season for surveys! Last month in "Speak Your Mind, Data-Modelers!"
    (http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/44560/44560.html ), I encouraged you to participate in Microsoft's latest data-modeling survey. This week, I want you to participate in Microsoft's new survey. The company wants to improve its customers' application-development experience with data-oriented platforms. According to Microsoft, the survey has the following objectives:

    • to determine developers' data-handling priorities.
    • to understand the existing and upcoming challenges that potentially hinder the optimal performance and productivity of those who develop applications and software components.
    • to direct software manufacturers and partners toward building products that enable greater success among software-development professionals.

    Microsoft says you can complete the survey in 10-15 minutes. However, the survey weighs in at a whopping 80 questions, several dozen of which ask for thoughtful feedback about priorities. I suspect it will take most of you more than 15 minutes to give the questions proper consideration, so plan your time accordingly. You can't save your answers to come back later, so you'll need adequate time to finish the survey in one session. You can participate in the survey at https://www.datstat.com/illume/WSS-Collector/Survey.ashx?Name=SQL_Dev_Marketing . I know that the URL doesn't look like an official Microsoft survey link, but I assure you that it's a real Microsoft survey. I've confirmed the survey's existence with senior people at Microsoft-this link is genuine.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Don't blast Microsoft for not building what you want if you won't take the time to tell them. We owe it to ourselves to give Microsoft feedback—not just to help Microsoft, but also to help Microsoft build products that better meet our needs. Most of the time, a survey like this is geared toward a particular area or occurs early in product planning. So I can't say how the survey will affect SQL Server products in the short term. Also, you'll find that the survey covers a variety of topics. I can't imagine that Microsoft will be able to incorporate all the feedback it receives into the SQL Server 2005 product cycle. At this point in the development cycle, the feature sets are mostly fixed. Still, I invested my time and shared my ideas with Microsoft—I encourage you to do the same.

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    2. News & Views

  • Microsoft Releases SQL Server Health and History Tool

  • The SQL Server Health and History Tool (SQLH2) lets you collect information from instances of SQL Server, store the information, and run reports against the data to determine how your organization is using SQL Server. SQLH2 collects four main types of information: feature usage (what services and features are installed and running and what the service's workload level is), configuration settings (machine, OS, and SQL Server configuration settings and SQL instance and database metadata), the SQL Server service's uptime, and performance counters (an option that lets you determine performance trends). SQLH2 requires you to create a SQL Server repository database. You should also download the SQLH2 reports to view the data SQLH2 collects. If you're interested in performance data, download and install the SQLH2 Performance Collector. The SQLH2 tool, a deployment guide, fixes to the SQLH2 2.0 version, and the Performance Collector are all available for download at

  • Microsoft Fixes Character-String Problem in SQL Server CE

  • Microsoft has released a hotfix for a problem that occurs when you define a range by using strings that have more than two characters. In a SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition (SQL Server CE) OLE DB application, when you define a range to restrict rows that you access from a table and you access data from the table, the application returns incorrect results. Also, when you verify results, you can see that the first two characters of the string values define the range. This problem occurs if you use strings that have more than two characters to define the range, you bind the range data string as the DBTYPE_WSTR OLE DB data type, and you use the SetRange method of the IRowSetIndex interface to restrict the range of rows that you access. The OLE DB Provider for SQL Server CE can't detect the DBTYPE_WSTR OLE DB data type that the SQL Server CE OLE DB application passes. Therefore, the OLE DB Provider for SQL Server CE uses the fixed length of four bytes to bind data. Four bytes equals two characters in the WCHAR data type. To find out more about this problem and the supported hotfix, read the Microsoft article "FIX: You receive incorrect results when you use strings that have more than two characters to define a range, and then you access data in a SQL Server CE OLE DB application" at

  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Microsoft Community Technology Previews

  • "Are you participating in Microsoft's Community Technology Preview (CTP) program for SQL Server 2005?" Here are the results from the 42 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):

  • 29%   Yes
  • 12%   No, but I plan to
  • 60%   No, and I don't plan to
  • New Instant Poll: Application-Development Survey

  • "Will you participate in Microsoft's new application-development survey?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page (http://www.sqlmag.com ) and submit your vote for

  • Yes
  • No
  • I've already taken the survey
  • I'm not an application developer
  • 3. Announcements

    Try a Sample Issue of Windows Scripting Solutions
    Windows Scripting Solutions is the monthly newsletter that shows you how to automate time-consuming administrative tasks by using our simple, downloadable code and scripting techniques. Sign up for a sample issue right now, and find out how you can save both time and money. Plus, get online access to our popular "Shell Scripting 101" series—click here!

    Free SQL Server Performance Tips and Articles
    Hundreds of free tips and articles on SQL Server performance tuning and clustering. And get quick and accurate answers to your performance- and cluster-related questions in our forum. All from the SQL Server performance authority: SQL-Server-Performance.Com.     http://list.windowsitpro.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eigY0McMHC0Kj40BKEZ0An

    Recovery-Management Strategies
    Learn how to improve business continuity and information lifecycle management with this analyst white paper, compliments of BMC Software. Discover the backup and recovery management strategies needed to keep mission-critical systems running. Download now!     http://list.windowsitpro.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eigY0McMHC0Kj40BNee0AZ

    4. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Identifying a Database's Files, Filegroups

  •     by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team, [email protected]

    Q. How can I identify all the files and filegroups in a particular database?

    Read the answer to this question today at

  • Hot Article: Implementing Paging

  • When you write applications that return results to the client and display the results on the screen, you need to take into account the end user's screen-size limitations. If a query's result set contains too many rows to fit on the screen, you have to introduce logic into the application to split the original result set into chunks or pages. You then provide buttons or other graphical elements that let the user navigate between the result pages. The process of splitting the data into chunks, called paging, is very common, especially with Web applications. In his December T-SQL Black Belt column, "Implementing Paging," Itzik Ben-Gan looks at some efficient ways to achieve paging by using two navigation options and paging techniques. Read this article today at

    Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.     http://www.windowsitpro.com/sqlserver/forums/

    Security: Login Audit Failure for OSQL-32
    Administration: Audit Logout Not Happening
    DTS: Not Receiving DTS Package Failure Email
    T-SQL: Varbinary and Varchar Field
    Performance: RAM Usage in SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition
    Database Design: Pros and Cons of Two Different Designs

    Hot Spot

  • DB Ghost Builds, Compares, & Syncs Your Databases

  • For similar money you can either buy DB Ghost(TM) or you can go for our competitors tools that cannot build, and can only compare and sometimes synchronize. We think it's a no brainer. See for yourself:

    5. Events Central

  • SQL Server Magazine Connections Spring 2005

  • March 20-23, 2005. Register for the conference and book your room at the Hyatt Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando for a minimum of three nights before January 3, 2005 and receive an additional $200 off the conference registration fee. Call 800-438-6720 or 203-268-3204 for details. Get the conference brochure online now.

    See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events

    6. New & Improved

        by Dawn Cyr, [email protected]

  • Harness XML Schema Functionality

  • JNetDirect announced JSQLMapper 1.2, a bidirectional data-mapping tool that eliminates the need to write custom code to bring relational data into XML format. The product's graphical mapping interface gives developers the ability to automatically generate XML schemas (XSD). And the JSQLMapper runtime component can now automatically perform extensible stylesheet language (XSL) transformations on extracted documents to meet enterprise requirements for data access and use. Using the idea of Business Level Collision Management, the product's creators designed JSQLMapper to detect external modifications to the database so that it can prevent data loss when writing XML into the database. Unlike with row-level collision detection, the software recognizes the business context of the dataset and provides protection not just from data loss, but also data corruption. The product supports JDBC-compatible relational databases including SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, and MySQL and complies with Sun's J2EE enterprise platform. A fully functional trial version of the software is available for download at the company's Web site. Pricing for JSQLMapper starts at $225 for a single-connection license. For more information, contact JNetDirect at 800-995-8534, 703-880-3800, or [email protected]

  • Work Around Hidden Problems in Reporting Services

  • Addison Wesley announced "The Hitchhiker's Guide to SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services" by Peter Blackburn and William R. Vaughn, a book that covers the functionality of SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services SP1. The authors reveal hidden Reporting Services problems and workarounds as they walk you through each step in report installation, management, security, creation, and programming. You can use the book to start setting up simple single-server installations or Web farms right away while gaining understanding of Reporting Services' features. The 784-page book costs $49.95 and is available from Addison Wesley at 617-848-7500.

  • Get Realtime Business Continuity

  • Resonate announced dbDispatch, software that provides high-end database users with realtime content synchronization and load-balancing capabilities across a cluster. The product eliminates traditional database replication based on transaction logs. Instead, dbDispatch executes WRITE operations simultaneously on all nodes of the cluster, thereby guaranteeing that all nodes are synchronized. Users can choose from several load-balancing policies to achieve optimal performance. In the case of a node failure, the product caches WRITE requests and replays them once the node is back online. The product further guarantees database integrity by duplicating the cache to a backup scheduler. dbDispatch also routes traffic based on the content of the request. IT administrators and DBAs can segregate data across multiple databases, and users can segregate data (e.g., credit-card data, patient records) that require different privacy or access rules and security restrictions. For pricing and other information, contact Resonate at 408-548-5639 or [email protected]

  • Synchronize SQL Server Databases

  • xSQL Software announced xSQL DataCompare, a utility that lets SQL Server DBAs and developers compare and synchronize the content of whole SQL Server databases or just selected tables. The product lets you drop or add constraints during synchronization so that SQL Server doesn't reject data; order tables in the synchronization scripts by foreign key and primary key relationships to maintain data integrity; select which unique constraint or index to use as the comparison key; compare and synchronize selected rows by applying a WHERE clause to the tables; and perform large data-read operations by using reads in block. The product displays data differences in an easy-to-read grid and generates a full action log and warnings about special data conditions. The product is built on the .NET platform and supports SQL Server 2000 and later releases. A fully functional trial version of the software is available at the xSQL Software Web site. Pricing for xSQL DataCompare starts at $199. For more information, contact xSQL Software at [email protected] or [email protected]

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