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Continuous Database Deployment with Confidence

To achieve gains from Database Lifecycle Management in general, and in Continuous Deployment in particular, it pays to aim for lightweight but consistent techniques and processes, refining them iteratively in the light of experience. Edward Elliott describes a Test-driven development process for developing SQL Server databases that worked for CD, based on a series of steps. Though the tools for CD may be necessary, they are not sufficient, without an effective structured process.… Read more

A DLM Approach to Database Testing

Database Lifecycle Management aims to make the development and modification of databases more predictable. Bugs are the source of more unpredictability than anything else, purely because it is so difficult to guess how long it will take to fix them. Good testing at all stages may take some time and effort, but it greatly reduces likelihood of the wildcard factor of the bug that is first detected during the deployment process; or worse, that gets into the production release.… Read more

What is the Go Language, and Why is it Useful?

When Google announced the 'Go' language in 2009 we were all underexcited. After all, a compiled, statically typed language in the tradition of Algol and C isn't that radical, especially one that eschewed generic programming, implicit type conversions, assertions, inheritance and pointer arithmetic. However, it has proved to be robust, highly-portable, simple to use, and productive to work with. Ed Elliott reckons that it is definitely worth checking it out. … Read more

Which Edition of SQL Server is Best for Development Work?

You might think, as a developer, that nothing but the best is good enough as a development database. You might be mistaken. There is a lot to be said for LocalDB, but Ed Elliott argues that every edition has its pros and cons, and you need to consider Cloud-based resources, VMs and Containerised databases too. There is a whole range of alternatives and how you choose depends on the type of database you are developing, but for Ed, LocalDB gets the five-star accolad… Read more

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and Database References

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) provides, via the DacPac, interesting support for verifying not only those references within the database, but also those to other databases even if they are on other servers. Although it is adds an extra level of complexity to deployments, it can increase the probability that deployments will succeed without errors due to broken references or binding errors.… Read more

Non-Breaking Online Database Deployments

For an experienced database developer, the idea of doing non-breaking database deployments while the database is still online holds respect but only a little fear. If your test procedures are good, you attend to the detail, and the application interfaces are properly managed, it can be achieved. Ed Elliott explains some of the issues to tackle.… Read more

Improving the Quality of SQL Server Database Connections in the Cloud

To access SQL Server from the client, you use TDS protocol over TCP. This is fine over reliable LANs but over the internet these connections are relatively slow and fragile, TDS is still used to connect to databases in the cloud, but you need to use a combination of the new features such as connection pools and idle connection resiliency to make applications faster and more reliable. … Read more

A Look at Exceptions in .NET Applications

Memory dumps are a wonderful way of finding out what caused an exception in a managed .NET application, particularly if it is happening in a production application. It is when tracking exceptions in applications where you can't use Visual Studio that the techniques of using cdb and sos.dll come into their own. They may nor be skills that you need to use regularly, but at some point, they will be invaluable. Edward supplies sample memory dumps and gives you a simple introduction.… Read more

.Net Debugging? Don’t give me none of your VS

Visual Studio is fine for most debugging purposes. Just occasionally, it isn't practicable, or there are other quicker ways of doing it with a user-mode debugger. Edward argues that debugging in MSIL or assembly language is a strangely liberating experience and can be a lightweight route to discovering the cause of elusive bugs. He starts off with a simple introduction to SOS debugging.… Read more

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