Developer .NET UPDATE--Get'em While They're Hot--November 4, 2005

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Give Users a Web UI for Access Databases: Better Security and Manageability Will Follow

Increase Administration Efficiency by Consolidating SQL Server Infrastructure

1. Developer .NET Perspectives

  • Get'em While They're Hot
  • 2. Events and Resources

  • The Main Event: CLR vs. T-SQL
  • Get Ready for the SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe - Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005!
  • Microsoft IT Forum 2005, November 15-17, Barcelona, Spain
  • XML 2005: The reliable source for everything XML!
  • All High Availability Solutions Are Not Created Equal--How Does Yours Measure Up?
  • What Does It Mean to Be Compliant?
  • 3. Featured White Paper

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services Migration
  • 4. Announcements

  • SQL Server Magazine Monthly Online Pass = Quick Answers
  • The Windows Scripting Solutions Newsletter
  • 5. New and Improved

  • ASP.NET Book Updated

  • Sponsor: Rapid Database Restoration Using LiteSpeed
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    1. Developer .NET Perspectives

    by Bill Sheldon, [email protected]

    Get'em While They're Hot

    Last week Microsoft unofficially announced that it had released Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 ( At that point, we all got to see the scalability of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) download site as tens of thousands of developers all sought to download the products. (As a quick aside, don't forget to also download your free refactoring tools for Visual Basic .NET 2005 at Although Biztalk Server 2006 is sharing the November 7 launch with Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, Microsoft hasn't yet released Biztalk Server 2006 on MSDN.)

    Then, on Tuesday, November 1, MSDN essentially went offline for many subscribers as Microsoft started the process of transitioning to the new subscription models. I'm sure many of you will be affected by the new subscription models. For those of you still trying to decide which Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition you want to transition to, I stand by the recommendations I made in my June 3 column, "Which Team Edition Is Right for You?" (

    The good news is that the various versions of Visual Studio 2005 are definitely release quality. Thus far, I installed the Professional version without any of the Team System features. One nice surprise for me in transitioning one of my Visual Studio .NET 2003 projects is that Microsoft has provided a conversion wizard for the project files so the transition to the new version was almost completely painless.

    SQL Server 2005 has a similar story. In addition to the updates to the core database and the inclusion of the Common Language Runtime (CLR), many of the products that build on SQL Server are going through major enhancements with this release. One such product is SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services. Analysis Services started to be a viable tool with SQL Server 2000. The 2005 release is starting to make this product available to an even larger customer base.

    The basic idea behind Analysis Services is that as transaction data accumulates, it's possible to query for summary data. In some cases, the query is fairly straightforward. For example, a query for the total value of all sales for each month for the past 6 months is straightforward. Other queries can be more complex. An example of a complex query would be asking how many customers who purchased books also purchased music. What these types of queries have in common is that they're either time-consuming or difficult to ask with traditional SQL.

    This is where Analysis Services comes in. Analysis Services are built around data warehouses called cubes. The cube provides data that has already been aggregated and associated with the original data. You can set up a cube based on one or more criteria that reference your transactional data. That way, when a user asks for data based on the past 6 months, the cube can retrieve precompiled answers for the first 5 months and even information for the current month. This might fully answer the query or there might be more data that has been added in your transaction database that hasn't yet been compiled into the cube. However, as new sales data for the current month is entered, Analysis Services has the ability to retrieve the updated data from your transactional database on the fly. For more information about the concepts underlying Analysis Services, I suggest starting with this page:

    Because Analysis Services uses precompiled summary data to speed complex queries, you can move down through the top-most summary level to lower levels. Continuing with my original example of 6 months' data, you could start with a view that showed sales per quarter, delve into the performance on a monthly basis, and from there go directly to the performance at a weekly, daily, or even hourly level. Eventually you might even go to the discrete transaction level, but that might be more appropriate if you're using a cube that includes a sales-by-location dimension. In that case, you might look at the sales for store A versus store B for a given month.

    This ability to delve down into your business data is referred to as business intelligence. BI has two roles in an organization. Its first role is to help people understand what happened in the past. Its second role is to help people prepare for the future (e.g., help people set expected future sales) based on the historical information gathered. The people who need to carry out these BI tasks aren't really developers. They're business analysts who in the past would use a series of printed reports, then analyze that data and ask for details. With the release of SQL Server 2005, what we are seeing are ongoing improvements in the automation of this business analysis. A good example is the Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, a product that the Microsoft Office team is creating to leverage the power of Analysis Services. Still in the prerelease phase, you can get more information about the Business Scorecard Manager at

    The key takeaway here is don't be blinded by low-level tools changes. Yes, there are numerous new features in Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, but keep in mind that these new features are also going to let you build new classes of applications. If you're a database developer, now is the time to start thinking beyond the transactional database. By the way, one final aside: When installing SQL Server 2005, remember to use the Advanced button during the feature selection process so that you can get access to the new Adventure Works sample database and Data Warehouse.

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    2. Events and Resources

    (brought to you by SQL Server Magazine)

    The Main Event: CLR vs. T-SQL
    The .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) is bringing some very cool new capabilities to SQL Server 2005, and T-SQL is stronger than ever. This free Web seminar compares T-SQL and the CLR, including new features, pros and cons, performance tests, and risks, along with some guidance concerning when to use them. Register today to see Visual Studio in action and witness the staying power of T-SQL.

    Get Ready for the SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe - Get the Facts About Migrating to SQL Server 2005!
    SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Receive a one-year membership to PASS and one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now.

    Microsoft IT Forum 2005, November 15-17, Barcelona, Spain
    Microsoft's European conference for IT professionals on planning, deploying, and managing the secure connected enterprise. Three days of learning, one year of solutions. With a choice of 325+ Technical Learning Sessions, increase your productivity and support your business with new opportunities and ideas. See the Web site for registration information

    XML 2005: The reliable source for everything XML!
    XML 2005, produced by IDEAlliance, where IT professionals gather to review the latest in XML-related technologies and applications. Hear in-depth talks from industry leaders. Visit the expo floor for the most advanced products being offered today. Complimentary expo pass offered until 11/7!

    All High Availability Solutions Are Not Created Equal--How Does Yours Measure Up?
    In this free, on-demand Web seminar, you'll get the tools you need to ensure your systems don't go down. You'll learn what solutions help you take preemptive, corrective action without resorting to a full system failover, that perform a non-disruptive, automatic switchover to a secondary server in extreme cases.

    What Does It Mean to Be Compliant?
    We've all heard about legal and regulatory requirements, but there are other types of compliance that might also affect you--specifically email compliance. In this free Web seminar, you'll get insights into compliance and policy issues that you need to know about, as well as suggestions on what to look for when implementing your compliance strategy, and more. Register today!

    3. Featured White Paper

    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services Migration
    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services offers many performance improvements and benefits for existing SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services users. If you are planning a migration to Analysis Services 2005, you can't afford to ignore this paper! Download your free copy now and get all the tips and real-world examples you need to make migration faster and easier.

    4. Announcements

    (brought to you by SQL Server Magazine)

    SQL Server Magazine Monthly Online Pass = Quick Answers
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    The Windows Scripting Solutions Newsletter
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    5. New and Improved

    (by Karen Bemowski, [email protected])

    ASP.NET Book Updated
    O'Reilly released the third edition of Programming ASP.NET, by Jesse Liberty and Dan Hurwitz. The updated book provides detailed chapters on ASP.NET 2.0's new and improved controls, events, life cycle, and Web pages. There's also a hands-on tour of Visual Studio 2005 and its Rapid Application Development (RAD) techniques. Other topics new to "Programming ASP.NET 2.0" include understanding the concepts fundamental to using Windows .NET Framework 2.0; creating a consistent look and feel with master pages; adding site navigation, including site maps and bread crumbs; and simplifying the configuration and deployment of applications. The book costs $49.95. For more information, contact O'Reilly at 707-827-7000, 800-998-9938, or [email protected]

    Hot Spot: Increase Administration Efficiency by Consolidating SQL Server Infrastructure

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