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Richard Hundhausen: The DBAgilist

This is a mirror of Richard Hundhausen's (aka The DBAgilist) blog "Tales from the Doghouse."

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  • SQL Server 2008 Report Builder Available

    Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Report Builder 2.0 delivers an intuitive, Office-like report authoring environment enabling business and power users to leverage their experience with Microsoft Office 2007 products. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Report Builder 2.0 supports the full capabilities of SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services including:

    • Flexible report layout capabilities of SQL Server 2008 Report Definition Language
    • Data Visualizations including charts and gauges
    • Richly formatted textboxes
    • Export to Microsoft Office Word format

    Features specific to Report Builder 2.0 are focused on simplifying the process of creating and editing reports and queries and include the following:

    • Easy to use wizards for creating table, matrix and chart data regions
    • Support for directly opening and editing reports stored on the report server
    • Support for using server resources such as shared data sources
    • Query designers for multiple data sources including a Microsoft SQL Server-specific query designer
  • Boise SQL Server User Group Presentation

    Thanks to those who attended the second meeting of the Boise SQL Server User Group. We had a good turnout of around 30 people and I hope everyone enjoyed my presentation of SQL Server 2008 Integration Services (SSIS). I tried to balance the presentation between those who hadn't used SSIS and those who have.

    If you are interested in the sample projects, packages, and data files from the talk, here they are.

  • Boise SQL Server User Group

    The newly formed Boise SQL Server User Group kicks off its first meeting with Kalen Delaney on June 25, 2008.

    I'm happy to see a Microsoft SQL Server user group in Boise. It will fit nicely with the other development and SharePoint groups in town.

    For more information, contact Cindy Gross of Microsoft.

  • Installing Team Edition(s) on your Team Foundation Build server

    It's generally known that if you want to run any tests, code analysis, or database project build/deployment that you need to install one or more Team Edition of VSTS on your build server. What's not so well known are the licensing ramifications around these scenarios.

    Fortunately Jeff Beehler, Team System Chief of Staff, has posted on this subject.

    To summarize:

    If the users creating the builds are licensed users of the edition in question (or Team Suite), that license extends to Team Foundation Build and you don't need to purchase an additional license. One way to think about it is: the people that are using the Team editions need to be properly licensed which in turn ensures the that the build machines are covered as well. Users who merely queue (execute) and review the automated builds are only required to have a Team Foundation Server CAL.

  • Photos from the Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 Launch in LA

    Back home now, and I have a moment to get the photos downloaded from my camera and uploaded to my blog. Next time I'll take my SD card reader with me.

    As you can see, registration was quite busy. I heard that there were 4000 people there, but didn't count them myself. The long lines delayed the keynote by about an hour:


    Douglas McDowell and I snuck into the press area. Well, he was officially press (SQL Server Magazine), but I wasn't - still I took more notes than most of the other pressies there.


    The main screen was huge, and 3D. We estimated about 80' wide and 20' tall. When no slides were on the screen, there was a spinning 3D Earth enclosed in curley brackets. Hey, what about VB?


    After the keynote, there was a short walk to the LA convention center, where the breakout sessions, chalk-talks, exhibitor area, etc. Fortunately, we had these interpretive dancers along the way to keep us from getting lost.


    The line to lunch was too long, so we ducked inside to check out the exhibitor area.


    I was there (where it says "You Are Here")


    Attendees attending one of Doug Seven's chalk talks on Team System.


    Doug was all about the writing quality code and the 3 C's in his talk (Code Coverage, Code Analysis, and the new Code Metrics)


    After I turned in my evaluation form, I picked up the attendee bag, which had  lots of goodies, including a hard-bound, coffee-table style book called "Heroes Happen Here" which contains IT heroes from all around the world, photographed by Carolyn Jones. And yes, I got my book signed!


  • Live from the VS/SQL/Windows 2008 launch

    In this, my first post of (hopefully) several today, I'm sitting in the keynote session (next to Douglas McDowell), listening to Tom Brokaw warm up the audience. What a nice surprise. It definitely stopped all the geeks in their tracks, to listen to his wise words, gathered from years of experience in all matters mankind.


    I loved his opening line "I'm not here to write code, or wire this room". He did, however, wax poetic on the future of technology, the spirit and energy of the types of people who will drive it, and how we must handle it to get their safely."

    Some of his quotes during the keynote (some paraphrasing):

    • "The test or our place in this world is not yet complete. We don't want to become Easter Island or the Mayan civilization. The use of this technology is not just a virtual experience. If we develop capacity and leave out common sense, what then is the reward to each of us, collectively or individually? If speed overruns reason, what else gets trampled?"
    • "We will not solve climate change by hitting backspace. It will do us little good to wire the world if we short circuit our consciousness, our souls and if we don't use this technology to advance mankind."
    • "When I left Nightly News I said that I'm not only going to spend my time at suites in the four seasons ... but to spend time in the trenches to meet people who make a difference"
    • "One day I woke up in Pakistan in a packing container with Americans who had been there for six months, trying to assess medical and health needs. When they hiked out, they put their hands on the keyboard and distilled what they had learned ... and in so doing, made a big impression ... of those of us in the West who have so much, while they (people in Pakistan) have so little."
    • "This technology takes a guiding hand, an imaginative approach, and a hope ..."
    • "We have the opportunity to become the next, greatest generation."

    Steve Ballmer came on stage next to thank the many platinum sponsors, and discuss how "Dynamic IT" can help manage complexity and achieve agility (especially in the realm software development)


    I heard the term "Agile" about 10 times in the span of 3 minutes. More to come ...

  • Remembering Jim Gray and a Tribute

    Time flies. It's been a year since Dr. Gray, a Microsoft research fellow and Turing Award-winner, went missing while sailing off San Francisco. A year ago, at Boise Code Camp 2.0, I hosted a session on finding Jim Gray, using Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

    Now, a year after Dr. Gray went missing, the Association of Computing Machinery (the organization that holds the Turing Awards), the IEEE Computer Society and the University of California-Berkeley have joined to announce a tribute to Gray, planned for May 31 at the UC Berkeley campus. Jim Gray attended UC Berkeley from 1961 to 1969 and earned the school's very first Ph.D. in computer science. Fittingly enough, the tribute will also feature technical sessions for registered participants.

    You can find more information about the tribute here:

  • Adding TFPT.exe to your PATH

    I know. I know. This doesn't sound like a very interesting post, but it saved me time, and hopefully it can save you some too.

    When you install Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft creates a "Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt" shortcut, under that program group.


    I like to take this shortcut and drop it on my Quick Launch toolbar:


    The problem is that when you install the Team Foundation Server Power Tools (or other new command line utilities) you need to put them in the path.

    Well, if you look at the file the shortcut calls, it's vcvarsall.bat, but don't bother editing that file because it calls vcvars32.bat, but don't bother editing that file, because it calls vsvars32.bat. If you go ahead and edit that file, you can find where the PATH is getting set, and add the Power Tools path to it:

    @set PATH=C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\BIN;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\Tools;C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5;C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\VC\VCPackages;C:\Program Files\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2008 Power Tools;%PATH%

  • SQL Server 2008 November CTP Available

    I've been so involved with the VSTS RTM yesterday, that I almost didn't notice this one.

    Click here to download the latest SQL Server 2008 Community Technology Preview (CTP) and try out the latest features of SQL Server 2008.

  • US Tech-Ed 2008 To Be Two Conferences

    It seems that the US Tech-Ed is following Europe's lead, by breaking up the one large conference into two: one for developers and one for IT professionals.

    • June 3-6, 2008 - Developers (developers, solution architects, designers, and testers)
    • June 10-13, 2008 - IT Professionals

    Both events will have a similar format with the past Tech·Eds, but will focus on a single audience instead of a mixed audience, which was the case with the previous Tech·Ed model.


    Visit the main Tech-Ed site for more information, including some FAQs.

  • Creating and Customizing TFS Reports

    I just came across this download at Microsoft. It provides an introduction to the concepts and step by step instructions for creating and customizing TFS reports.

    The zip file contains instructional PDF documents as well as several sample reports.

  • Microsoft Positioned in the leader quadrant in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse DBMS, 2007

    Way to go Microsoft, and SQL Server 2005!


    For the first time in the report’s history, Microsoft is positioned in the Leader quadrant in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse DBMS. The analysts say that SQL Server 2005 is expected to grow in the data warehouse space and Microsoft’s vision for SQL Server 2008 makes clear the company’s intent to become a major presence in the data warehouse market.


    Read more about this great announcement here.

  • TFS Operations Guidance

    Thanks to the Team System Rangers (an elite squad of TFS experts inside Microsoft) for putting together this document, which serves as a single point of entry into the world of TFS Operations as well as Microsoft's recommended operational best practices.


    So, start learning/mastering TFS operations by clicking here.

  • VSTS Web Access Power Tool - CTP released

    Microsoft has released a new version of VSTS Web Access Power tool. This release is a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of what will ultimately be the 2008 version of the VSTS Web Access Power Tool.

    • Built against the TFS 2008 object model - In previous versions of Web Access you had to install Team Explorer 2005 on any machine you were installing Web Access on. With this version, you will now be installing Team Explorer 2008 instead. In some future version, Microsoft hopes to remove the requirement to install any version of Team Explorer.
    • Custom control support - added support for web based work item custom controls and have included a folder of documentation and samples on how to create them.
    • Build queuing - added UI for the new TFS 2008 feature of build queuing. You can start new queued builds and view the build queue (in addition to the preexisting abilities - like viewing build details).
    • Localization support - added support for localizing the web interface. Microsoft will also be localizing text for the final 2008 Power Tool release.
    • Bug fixes & Performance improvements - Microsoft has received a number of reports and done more testing on the current version of the Power Tool, and has fixed everything thus far.

    This release (and the final 2008 release) can be used with either a TFS 2005 or a TFS 2008 server.  In either case, you will need to install a TFS 2008 Team Explorer on the machine you install Web Access on. Since TFS 2005 did not support build queuing, that functionality will not be available when this and future versions of Web Access are used with a 2005 server.


    You can download it here and read more about it at Brian Harry's blog posting.

  • Code that Writes Code (or TSQL that writes ASP.NET)

    Call it a code generator, software factory, or just a clever script. If you can write code that writes code - you win, even if just a small victory for humans in this contest we call software development.

    For example, I've been working on an ASP.NET application which contains many data entry screens. You know the kind: very simple, table-format with a label and a textbox of a certain width, that may or may not require some validation. In other words, a whole lot of markup like this:


      <td class="EditLabel">Number</td>

      <td class="Edit">

        <asp:TextBox ID="txtNumber" runat="Server" Width="200px" MaxLength="20"></asp:TextBox>




    Now, if you have to type the above more than once or twice, you will go insane (been there, gone there). More importantly, you will probably introduce a bug or two. So, I opened up SQL Server 2005 Management Studio and wrote the following T-SQL code:

    USE SomeDB



    DECLARE @Table  varchar(128)

    DECLARE @Column varchar(128)

    DECLARE @Width  varchar(10)

    DECLARE @Length int

    DECLARE @Type   int


    SET @Table = 'Employer' -- Pass this as a parameter



       SELECT C.Name, C.Max_Length, C.User_Type_ID FROM Sys.Columns C

       INNER JOIN Sys.Tables T ON C.Object_ID = T.Object_ID

       WHERE T.Name = @Table

       ORDER BY Column_ID


    OPEN ColumnCursor


    FETCH NEXT FROM ColumnCursor INTO @Column, @Length, @Type



      IF @Type <> 36 -- No GUIDs


        IF @Length < 0 SET @Length = 100

        IF @Length < 10

          SET @Width = '50px'

        ELSE IF @Length < 20

          SET @Width = '100px'

        ELSE IF @Length < 50

          SET @Width = '200px'

        ELSE IF @Length < 100

          SET @Width = '300px'


          SET @Width = '400px'


        PRINT '<tr>'

        PRINT '  <td class="EditLabel">' + @Column + '</td>'

        PRINT '  <td class="Edit">'

        PRINT '    <asp:TextBox ID="txt' + @Column + '" runat="Server" Width="' + @Width + '" MaxLength="' + CONVERT(varchar(10),@Length) + '"></asp:TextBox>'

        PRINT '  </td>'

        PRINT '</tr>'


      FETCH NEXT FROM ColumnCursor INTO @Column, @Length, @Type



    CLOSE ColumnCursor

    DEALLOCATE ColumnCursor


    You get the picture. Feel free to customize this code to introduce additional formatting, a slick UI, or other business rules to the mix.

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