SQL Server 2005 Offers Developer Improvements

Developers should explore several key improvements in SQL Server 2005, said Bill Baker, Microsoft''s general manager for SQL Server Business Intelligence.

Watch the video of the keynote! (Running time: 1 hour, Windows Media format)

Microsoft SQL Server has a "commitment to its customers for security, reliability, and availability," said Bill Baker, Microsoft's general manager for SQL Server Business Intelligence, as he explained why Microsoft put the Common Language Runtime (CLR) inside SQL Server 2005. In his standing-room-only keynote address at VSLive! Orlando on Tuesday, he illustrated how this sandboxed resource can be used for certain algorithms to improve app performance.

In a demonstration by SQL Server Product Manager Herain Oberoi, Baker and Oberoi demonstrated how a short algorithm to manipulate data can be built to run in the CLR. A new Visual Studio project type eases the task, and for a short algorithm, performance improves over having to do a round trip to a different tier for such a simple manipulation.

Make no mistake: Running a .NET app in the SQL CLR is not the right solution for everything. As Baker pointed out, "T-SQL is still the best language for stored procedures and database queries."

"I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was for developers in SQL Server 2005," one attendee commented after the keynote. In fact, that's exactly what Baker pointed out: how SQL Server 2005 incorporates improvements designed for developers.

SQL Server 2005, Baker explained, helps enterprise developers in a new world of "loosely coupled applications accessing widely available data." He illustrated how early databases were widely dispersed and unconnected—which evolved into monolithic databases hosting massive amounts of data. Mobile workers and multiple clients, he explained, have led to today's world, where data needs to be accessible from many places and might be hosted in many ways.

To address these emerging needs, Baker suggested, developers should learn more about SQL Server 2005's capabilities—although they probably hadn't heard a lot about the most significant and useful features. He listed and illustrated several key improvements developers should explore:

  • SQL Server 2005 Web Services: now included in the product, not an add-on pack. If run on Windows Server 2003, IIS is no longer needed—it uses the native http.sys.
  • Native XML storage and query.
  • SQL Server 2005 Service Broker: "You're among friends here," Baker joked. "You can admit that you think about asynchronous app models." The Service Broker makes that easier and helps developers avoid, as Baker put it, "unnatural acts" to make asynchronous apps work.
  • SQL Server 2005 CacheSync can help eliminate a lot of coding; it's now a set of properties in ADO.NET.

Baker concluded with a look at Microsoft's Business Intelligence vision and a mention of the history of DTS and its rewritten successor, SQL Server Integration Services. A final demo illustrated the BI Dev Studio integrated into Visual Studio—a VS shell with new projects and designers.

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