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Tibor Karaszi

New (web) update for SQL Server 2008 Books Online

Fire up your SQL Server 2008 Books Online (BOL) and check the date. You should find this in any article (except for the very start page).

RTM of SQL Server 2008 shipped with a BOL which has ... hmm,... doesn't have a date (just checked in a virtual machine). OK, so if you don't find a date (year month) you have the BOL which shipped with RTM.

The first BOL update was released 2008-09-30. You will see this as (August 2008). This was made available on the web as well as a download. This BOL did not list what was changed from prior release since this was considered RTM of BOL and the BOL that shipped with RTM was considered RC0 (which explains why this BOL lists Aug 2008 when it was released late Sept 2008).

Today I learned that MS has released yet another release of Books Online. This is only available on the web, and you see this as (October 2008). Now we do have listing of what section are new and what were expended on. I admit that I prefer locally installed BOL, but I guess that MS has resource limitations the same was as all of us do. Check it out at

Published Wednesday, November 5, 2008 10:19 AM by TiborKaraszi

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Peter said:

The \ is now documented as a separate topic

November 5, 2008 7:22 AM

jerryhung said:

I am glad I set my BOL to use Online copy (not Local copy as I didn't install it)

With the update frequency of BOL, and unless I really don't have internet, Online BOL meets my need. Plus, the 2008 BOL really improved a lot with faster loading speed and better search!

November 5, 2008 10:42 AM

TiborKaraszi said:

That is a very good point. I guess we should look at this from a "glass if half full" perspective. I.e., it is better to have BOL updates, say monthly (wherever we will end up) and perhaps only every three is a local BOL compared to only have updates every three months...

November 5, 2008 11:19 AM

AaronBertrand said:

I agree, I would prefer more frequent online content updates over only slightly faster local updates.

Eventually I would like to see hooks inside the Books Online application that can tell you that a topic has changed.  Maybe it works like Windows Update, where it will only check for the list of topics updated in the online edition once a week or once a month.

I remember a time where I answered a lot of questions about some topic (forget which now) because people were still using RTM of Books Online two years later.  I think if there are more hooks to push users to online content or at least update their local copy more often, that would be better...

November 6, 2008 10:05 PM

TiborKaraszi said:

Having some type of notification when the topic is updated online would be great. That would leave the index part, though...

However, I do not see me using the online version unless I'm really really forced to do so. The user experience is way too poor for that (and I realize that they might be streching the boundary of what a web GUI can do).

November 7, 2008 3:15 AM

AaronBertrand said:

Yes I definitely prefer local content.  Even when MSDN isn't sluggish, I don't always have connectivity (there are dead zones on the train).

I think I may have an active Connect item for putting those hooks into Books Online, that would notify you when a new version of the download is available, but I don't see why it couldn't tell you that online content has been updated.  Maybe per topic would be a little difficult, but at least when you start the doc viewer (and are online) it could check the server for the most recent update to the online content...

November 7, 2008 11:21 AM

Kalen Delaney said:

You might be aware ( from other bloggers on this site ) that there is a new web-only Books Online for

November 11, 2008 8:22 PM

Kalen Delaney said:

You might be aware ( from other bloggers on this site ) that there is a new web-only Books Online for

November 11, 2008 8:27 PM

Aaron Bertrand : Bad habits to kick : using ancient copies of Books Online said:

February 22, 2010 1:02 PM

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