Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Complexity Kills

In today's New York Times there's a story about Microsoft's problems and Vista's delays, Windows Is So Slow, but Why? In the middle of the story is a quote that caught my eye, In an internal memo last October, Ray Ozzie, chief technical officer, who joined Microsoft last year, wrote, "Complexity kills. It sucks the life out of developers, it makes products difficult to plan, build and test, it introduces security challenges and it causes end-user and administrator frustration." I couldn't agree more. I strongly believe the number one reason why database projects fail, and the number one reason for poor performance, is an overly complex schema. In the name of normalization, data modelers who can't write a query to save their life develop horrid schemas with several times the necessary tables. Chapter one of my next book is about the Information Architecture Principle. In unpacking the principle, I believe the first attribute of a database is simplicity. It may seem an oxymoron to begin a 1400 page book about such a complex development tool as SQL Server 2005 by writing about simplicity, but without simplicity as a primary goal, I believe your database project , and the DBA who come after you, will suffer. When designing database schemas, every table you can eliminate and still meet the requirements is a victory to be celebrated. Sorry to get so passionate, but I've seen too many friends labor with systems that should be out of our misery. It's a shame. Truer words have not been said, Mr. Ozzie, Complexity Kills

Colorado PASS Camp is filling up

There's lots of great news about the upcoming Colorado PASS Camp! We heard today from Microsoft that the Colorado PASS Camp registration is almost full - 85 of the 100 slots have been spoken for. SQL Sentry has donated an XBox 360 for the solutions contest. And,the speaker schedule is almost full with an excellent line-up of local experts, I expect to be announce the speakers and their topics by the end of this week.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Terminator;

SQL Server 2005 - big changes - little changes. One of the little changes that's been a big change getting used to is the statement terminator, the semicolon. I've been forcing myself to place semicolons after every statement in my code, and going back through old code and adding the semicolons. They say that 21 days with a new behavior creates a habit. Maybe;

I have learned a few things about statement terminators;

1) You must place a semicolon at the end of the statement before a Common Table Element (CTE), otherwise the parser doesn’t know the WITH is starting a CTE and the batch will blow up like a bad action movie pun;

2) You can not place a statement terminator after the IF condition. Just treat the IF Condition -Next Statement as one long continuous statement;

3) You can not place a statement terminator between a END TRY and a BEGIN CATCH. Those two statements seem function as one single statement;

Right now statement terminators are optional, will they become required, maybe. I hear that one reason we don't have intellisense is that it's difficult to parse half written T-SQL without a statement terminator. Given the choice - I'd take required semicolons if that means we get intellisense;

I'll be back;

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Where Clause

This morning Chuck Boyce invited me to co-host his podcast show, the Where Clause. What a blast! We talked about a few cool web pages , articles, and blogs, and then Chuck asked me about my O/R dbms research, and Optimization Theory. Look for the March 1st episode of the Where Clause

In other ground breaking news, today is March 1st - the public announcement for the Colorado PASS Camp - May 17th in Denver. We'll have a signup web page soon. Many thanks to Chris Shaw and Mike White for their help organizing this day of SQL.

Tom Rizzo's book Pro SQL Server 2005 with co-author Adam Machanic, is a good book if you already know SQL Server 2K and you want to get up to speed quickly. I recommend it.

Today, I'm wrapping up the author review for the Management Studio chapter for SQL Server 2005 Bible. After this only 10 chapters left to review. The end is in sight. If I get time I'd like to create a Camtasia screen cast on Using Management Studio.