Tuesday, April 05, 2005

SQL Server 2005 Summit

I went to the SQL Server 2005 Summit Event here in Minneapolis last Thursday. I thought it might be worthwhile to mention my overall impressions as well as what I learned.

As with most Microsoft events, there was a healthy dose of marketing in the key note speech. A lot of time was spent on promoting the business intelligence that comes packaged with a SQL Server 2005 license. We were wowed with a 5 minute demo of how to take an Excel spreadsheet and turn it into a report that intelligently uses the data in the spreadsheet (althought the algorithm that was used to convert the data into usable information was all done and ready for the demo - which is the hard part). Microsoft seems to be promoting how SQL Server 2005, which includes SQL Server Reporting Services, will make life a lot easier and make IT budgets stretch much farther than ever before.

Onto the developer track...first off, I have to shamefully admit that I have not been keeping up on the Yukon beta releases. I was given an evaluation beta of SQL Server 2005 at the event, and look forward to installing it on my VPC and playing around. That being said, I was excited about some of the things I heard and can't wait to get my hands on the new tool.

The top 5 things that were of interest to me include:
  1. There is a new native SQL Server datatype called XML. This datatype allows for all XPath manipulations.
  2. You can now more elegantly embed error handling into stored procedures and user-defined functions. T-QSL now supports try/catch. Personally, I was never all that crazy about having to check @@Error.
  3. Enterprise Manager's user interface has been redone to mimic Visual Studio.net. This interface also combines Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer into one. Yippy! No need to run them both at the same time (which I ALWAYS do).
  4. The Common Language Runtime has been incorporated into SQL Server 2005. You can now use C# to program stored procedures, user-defined funtions, aggregates, user-defined datatypes (this won't support TSQL anymore) and other comuputational-intensive operations. I think this is a cool addition, but I can already hear the arugments from some of my colleagues that business logic does not belong in the database.
  5. You can publish a web service directly out of SQL Server 2005. I am not sure how this works, but I am guessing it is similar to dropping a connection object onto a web form. You can do, but should you?

I will keep you posted as I learn more.

For another resource on what's new in SQL Server 2005, check out ASP Free's article on the new features..