Robert Sheldon

After being dropped 35 feet from a helicopter and spending the next year recovering, Robert Sheldon left the Colorado Rockies and emergency rescue work to pursue safer and less painful interests—thus his entry into the world of technology. He is now a technical consultant and the author of numerous books, articles, and training material related to Microsoft Windows, various relational database management systems, and business intelligence design and implementation. He has also written news stories, feature articles, restaurant reviews, legal summaries, and the novels 'Last Stand' and 'Dancing the River Lightly'. You can find more information at http://www.rhsheldon.com.

02 February 2010
02 February 2010

Implementing User-Defined Hierarchies in SQL Server Analysis Services

To be able to drill into multidimensional cube data at several levels, you must implement all of the hierarchies on the database dimensions. Then you'll create the attribute relationships necessary to optimize performance. Analysis Services hierarchies offer plenty of possibilities for displaying the data that your business requires. Rob Sheldon continues his series on SQL Server Analysis Services 2008.… Read more
05 January 2010
05 January 2010

Five Basic Steps for Implementing an Analysis Services Database

To learn an application, nothing beats getting it up and running. Getting started with Analysis Services can be frustrating unless you have a clear and simple guide that gets you started quickly. In this article, the first in a quick-start series on SSAS, BI and Data Warehousing, Rob Sheldon gets you off the runway, and flying.… Read more
10 December 2009
10 December 2009

Working with the bcp Command-line Utility

Even though there are many other ways to get data into a database, nothing works quite as fast as BCP, once it is set up with the right parameters and format file. Despite its usefulness, the art of using the command-line utility has always seemed more magic than method; but now along comes Robert Sheldon to shed light on the murky details.… Read more
12 November 2009
12 November 2009

Managing Transaction Logs in SQL Server

The Transaction Log provides the means by which either the complete set of tasks of a database transaction are performed or none of them are. It ensures that , via rollback, only valid data is written out to the database, and it allows transactions to be played back to recreate the system state right before a failure. Robert Sheldon explains the various basic tasks involved in managing the transaction log.… Read more
01 October 2009
01 October 2009

Using Information Schema Views

Many seasoned database developers tuck away all the commonly-used INFORMATION_SCHEMA queries as templates. They're an indispensable supplement to sp_help and sp_helpText to get handy information about your database objects, and, even if you use SQL Prompt, they're usually the best standard way to access such information programmatically within a routine. They are ISO standard SQL and are here to stay. Rob Sheldon goes through the basics in a timely refresher course. … Read more
25 August 2009
25 August 2009

Transact-SQL Formatting Standards (Coding Styles)

How should SQL code be formatted? What sort of indentation should you use? Should keywords be in upper case? How should lists be lined up? SQL is one of those languages that will execute anyway however you treat whitespace and capitalization. However, the way SQL is laid out will effect its readability and the time taken to review and understand it. Standardisation of code layout is an important issue, but what standard should you adopt? Rob avoids a direct answer, but tells you the sort of answers you'll need to decide upon when creating a strategy for formatting SQL code.… Read more
31 July 2009
31 July 2009

Defragmenting Indexes in SQL Server 2005 and 2008

Rob Sheldon tackles the subject of Index Defragmentation in SQL Server 2005 and 2008, using the sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats system function. He shows how to analyze indexes and, if necessary, how to go about  reorganizing or rebuilding indexes. He makes the point that, by analyzing indexes effectively, you can save a lot of unnecessary  rebuilding of indexes.… Read more
07 July 2009
07 July 2009

Working with Precedence Constraints in SQL Server Integration Services

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In SSIS, tasks are linked by precedence constraints. A task will only execute if the condition that is set by the precedence constraint preceding the task is met. By using these constraints, it is possible to ensure different execution paths depending on the success or failure of other tasks. This means that you can use tasks with precedence constraints to determine the workflow of an SSIS package. We challenged Rob Sheldon to provide a straightforward practical example of how to do it. … Read more
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28 April 2009
28 April 2009

XML Data Modification Language Workbench

XML Data Modification Language (XML DML) allows you to modify and update XML data. When working with SQL Server Databases, this is the most efficient way to modify elements in an XML column, yet the techniques of using XML-DML have not been well, and simply, described - up until now. Robert Sheldon presents a practical workbench to show the various modify methods … Read more
25 November 2008
25 November 2008

SQL Server Index Basics

Given the fundamental importance of indexes in databases, it always comes as a surprise how often the proper design of indexes is neglected. It often turns out that the programmer understands detail, but not the broad picture of what indexes do. Bob Sheldon comes to the rescue with a simple guide that serves either to remind or educate us all!… Read more