November 2008 Archives

Having seen the litany of non-answers (and random guesses) on the SqlClient.SQLException:

"A connection was successfully established with the server, but then an error occurred during the login process. (provider: TCP Provider, error: 0 - An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host.)"

I decided to figure this out for myself. No, it has nothing to do with named pipes or TCP/IP protocols or using wireless connections or VPNs--it has to do with the SQL Server instance configuration. And no, you don't have to disable connection pooling. Frankly, I would be surprised if lack of a connection pool would fix the problem.

While at PASS I had a chance to ask questions about Windows Server 2008. You see I tried to back up my server using the built-in Windows Server Backup (WSB) program. Ah, it's pretty crude. Interestingly enough, very (very) few of the Microsoft folks at the booths knew of the (gross) limitations of the backup implementation. The third-party companies that sell backup solutions were also clueless.

Here at PASS I found a great opportunity to lobby for a few features in Reporting Services--mostly with the Report Designer BI tool. I also talked to the PMs handling the ReportViewer control--you know, the one that won't be able to manage 2nd generation RDL (the RDL generated by the new VS2008 SP1 BI tools) until 2010. They tell me that the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" so if you want the ReportViewer control to be fully functional I suggest you vote on the Connect bug I created to focus Microsoft's attention on this issue. Yes, I hear that with more budget, there is a "chance" that the RV control would be upgradable (at least partially) in the Spring... I would not hold my breath.

Report Designer Suggestions:

I like the BI Report Designer (but I liked the VS2005 Report Designer too) but the new one is more intuitive and handles data more like other VS wizards. Here are a few suggestions that might help everyone build reports more efficiently:

I’m sitting in an SSIS session at PASS and the following issues came to mind:

  • SSIS and all of its manifestations needs to deal with common file formats like CSV without using JET, OLE DB or ODBC. There must be a way to create a data provider for delimited or other flat file formats without having to deal with the eccentricities of these ancient DAIs. So I’m told there is a CSV provider accessible in SSIS but why does it appear that it’s using OLE DB behind the scenes?
  • SqlBulkCopy needs to have a mechanism to log records that are non-compliant or can’t be imported and have a threshold for failure.
  • SSIS needs to be better understood. This means better documentation, more conference sessions and more examples of doing typical and atypical operations. Some of these tasks can be done by Microsoft while others can or should be done by third parties.
  • Too many people are using the wrong tool to import or export data. Microsoft needs to be far more proactive to get developers informed of the right way to move data into and out of SQL Server. This means walkthroughs and examples of building server-side temp holding tables and subsequently validating these rows to be imported into live databases.
  • Once the data arrives at the server, developers need additional functionality in the area of data validation post update.
  • The SSIS team needs to realize that there are more than just “enterprise” customers. SQL Server Express is an important player for many companies—even “enterprise” companies. SQL Compact is also becoming more important in integrated data strategies. Do not discount the “free” versions as they are the seeds of learning as well as the k

 

In case no one noticed, I’m a fan of the ReportViewer control. While it’s not free like SQL Express (you have to actually pay for one of the non-Express versions of Visual Studio to get it), it does give developers a way to design, tune, test and deploy reports along with their applications—either ASP.NET or Windows Forms—without Reporting Services. And no, the control is not included the WPF toolbox. IMHO, this is a major oversight. Yes, yes, the WPF folks are busy making the interface as similar to Windows Forms or ASP as they can, but it seems to me that they should also make sure that some of the newer (and more important) controls are implemented.

However, in my opinion, that’s not the biggest oversight. It seems that the new version of the ReportViewer control (now renamed “MicrosoftReportViewer” control because there’s also now a Come to my workshop at Developer Connections in Vegas...“CrystalReportViewer” control), is not really all that new. When Microsoft’s Reporting Services team got inundated with comments, gripes and over-ripe tomatoes from RS developers, they (wisely) chose to reengineer the report processor. This required some significant changes in the “language” the report processor interprets—the RDL. This “2nd generation” RDL supports the new Tablix control, rich text and lots of other features. The newly release Visual Studio 2005 SP1 BI tools shows off this functionality and dutifully creates 2nd generation RDL. The problem is, the ReportViewer control that’s shipped in Visual Studio 2008 is roughly the same as the one in 2005 and it does not include the updated report processor. This means it can’t process 2nd generation RDL.

This also means that the reports you build with the VS BI tools cannot be imported into VS 2008 ReportViewer projects. This is not scheduled to be fixed until Visual Studio 2010.

If you think this is an issue, I encourage you to go to Microsoft Connect and vote on the bug I have raised there to try to get Microsoft to fix this before VS 2010. See https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=380814

DevTeach in Montreal

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I'm giving my ever-popular Pragmatic Application Design workshop that's been newly updated to discuss the latest SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1 upgrades. And yes, DevTeach is including a copy of my book "Hitchhiker's Guide to Visual Studio and SQL Server (7th Edition)" to everyone signs up. It's a $59.99 value! Well, it's really $37.79 at Amazon, but it's still worth it.

DevTeach and SQLTeach are announcing a rebate for 350$ with your TechDay coupon...
What? A rebate of 350$? How is that possible! Well if you still have your TechDay/DevTeach rebate coupon you can use it for the December Montreal event and you will get a 350$ rebate. Originally the coupon was good for 100$ rebate but we like Microsoft so much that DevTeach changed its database and the coupon you have in your hand is worth 350$! This rebate will be effective until December 2nd. So hurry, don't miss the opportunity to attend a conference with renowned speakers coming from all over the world.

And there’s even more. Just announced

Every attendees will get Visual Studio 2008 Pro, Expression Web 2 and Tech-Ed DEV set in their bag!

DevTeach believe that all developers need the right tool to be productive. This is what we will give you, free software, when you register to DevTeach or SQLTeach. Yes that right! We’re pleased to announce that we’re giving over a 1000$ of software when you register to DevTeach. You will find in your conference bag a version of Visual Studio 2008 Professional, ExpressionTM Web 2 and the Tech-Ed Conference DVD Set. Is this a good deal or what? DevTeach and SQLTeach are really the training you can’t get any other way.

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And yes, I'm not the only speaker. There are a bevy of French and English speakers to bring you up to speed on the latest Microsoft technology.

Painting with Mud

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I just had a Republican campaigner call me asking me to support a local Republican candidate. I don’t envy her job on this eve of the most important election since… well, in a very long time. While the candidate in question might be perfectly qualified for the job he’s seeking, I’m not likely to vote for him because of the campaign the other Republicans in the race have run. Yes, I’ve voted for Republicans before and there are some good ones in the race this time but I’ll have to think long and hard about supporting anyone from any party that runs a shameful campaign.

When will folks understand that when they slander their opponent they discredit themselves. This is a tenant that anyone in business will hammer into their sales people from day one. Cutting down your opponent does not make you or your cause any taller.

The trouble with throwing mud is a lot sticks to the thrower. Sure, it’s just as deceitful to have one of your minions do the throwing and it takes a lot of very strong words and deeds to undo the damage caused by lies, half-lies or simple misrepresentation of the truth. Sure, this kind of smear might influence the ignorant masses or make your supporters give more money to sling more mud, but in my mind it discredits you, your party, your race, your ethnicity, your gender, your cause and most importantly, your country. And it won’t win my vote.

I had another question in the newsgroups about converting existing VB6 applications to VB.NET. We had already discussed the fact that ADO and ADO.NET are about as similar as bicycles and motorcycles. The thread progressed to the question of creating a non-targeted application that would work against a variety of back-end databases like SQL Server, MySQL and FoxPro.

Here's my answer...

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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