June 2006 Archives

This is one of the most hotly debated topics around so expect quite a few opinions. My TechEd talk (which might be posted online on the Microsoft site sometime in the near future) discusses where SQL Server Express Edition fits in relation to JET/Access and the newest DBMS system SQL Server Everywhere (SQL Ev). Yes, there are a lot of choices and each has its place.


A number of factors should be considered when you're trying to decide which approach to take. These include (but are not limited to): 

In the newsgroups and in my conference sessions, there still seem to be a lot of questions on getting and staying connected to SQL Server--especially with SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Perhaps the checklist shown below can help. This content is extracted from Chapter 9 in my book "Hitchhiker's Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)" available in bookstores and online all over the world.

In response to a newsgroup question where an ASP developer (who had seen the light) wanted to know if it was still necessary to immediately close connections or if it was okay to keep them open.
Unless your server is supporting many hundreds of users or you're under a licensing restriction, you can easily get away with creating and holding connections--lots of them. The disadvantage to this approach is that it ties up some resources on the server to maintain your connection state--but so does the connection pool approach. The advantage is that you can build and maintain state on the server. This state can consist of server-side temp tables, specific SET configurations and server-side cursors. These can't be leveraged in an ASP environment (which is probably why they were not brought forward with ADO.NET). For example, you can build a #temp table that contains user-specific rowsets, index it and use it in subsequent JOIN statements to (dramatically) improve performance. In the past (before connection pooling) we used this approach quite effecitvely and simply timed out the connections after N idle minutes.

Steve Lasker came by and recommended this blog article written by Rob Walters. It includes a number of good tips you'll need when building and deploying SQL Server Databases on client application platforms.

I made two mistakes last night. First, I didn’t stand in line to get into the TechEd 2006 (Boston) keynote early enough to get a seat near the aisle. The second mistake was attending in the first place. Earlier in the day we had an MVP meeting where we heard from MVPs that Microsoft’s focus seemed to be toward the “Enterprise” and away from smaller companies. This message was pretty clear in the keynote address. Virtually all of the features demonstrated and “promised” (except Avalon) were clearly for the largest of companies. What I did hear (that was worthwhile) was the new technology that promises to encrypt the contents of a laptop’s hard drive so a nefarious thief’s only option is to reformat the drive or toss it in the East river. Unfortunately, this technology comes far too late for the veterans and active-duty military whose data was lost. Keep reading...

It’s become pretty clear that the technical book-writing business is not worth the time and effort—not to mention the years of time that I could have been contributing elsewhere. But is there a better way? This article explores the mechanics of writing technical books and the alternatives.

So, they tell me that I'm doing a chalk-talk on the new ReportViewer control in Visual Studio. That's cool as it's one of the most interesting additions to the Visual Studio tools suite. The question is, how the heck and I going to do an hour-long presentation without a demo, or a projector to show it with? I'm thinking about bringing hand-puppets. Check the schedule for the exact times but I asked for Tuesday or Wednesday morning sometime. I'll probably get 0-dawn 30. I expect that most folks will want to know how much of the work they've invested in the Reporting Services RDL-based reports can be leveraged with the ReportViewer.

I get that a lot. Most folks know that I've been holed up working on the latest Hitchhiker's Guide. This (7th) edition was not a minor update like several of the earlier versions--I started from a blank slate over a year and a half ago. Sure, I couldn't really start building test and example applications until Whidbey shipped. I think it's a phenomenal waste of time to write "beta" books that have the shelf life of a roman candle on the 4th of July.


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