With SQL Server, there often seems to be an over-emphasis on the items that provide bullet points for the marketing brochure. Yet, small but useful changes to the product can make a more profound impact on DBAs/developers than the new items that are highlighted by those bullet points.
One of the things I loved about Reporting Services in SQL Server 2008 R2 is the amount of focus they provided on ease of use. In particular, the addition of data bars, lookup functions, pagination control, rendering targets in expressions, domain scope, etc. made a huge difference to anyone that really needs to build reports.
For Denali, Integration Services has me similarly excited. I've just completed prepping and presenting a session on the Denali enhancements to SSIS (and on the introduction of Data Quality Services) for TechEd Australia. It was interesting to note, though, that the biggest reactions I received from the crowd were for the "little" improvements, not for the big ticket items. Some of the best examples of these are:
- Zoom control, general UI improvements and the Fit to Window
- Improvements around the display of precedence labels (great for those who are color blind and struggle with the standard red/green/blue)
- Toolbox groupings
- Ease of integrating new items into the Toolbox
- Reliability and performance improvements around Merge/Merge Join
And there are many more. The two biggest woohoo moments though, came for:
- Multi-level undo and redo
- Remapping work that has been done in the data flow (remapping GUI is great but the way that so many mapping issues are automatically fixed is awesome)
I want to congratulate the team on spending time making these type of "less visible" improvements.