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.

18 December 2017
18 December 2017

SQL Server Machine Learning Services – Part 2: Python Data Frames

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SQL Server Machine Learning Services provides the ability to run Python scripts directly against data in SQL Server. To do so, you must understand how to work with the data frame object. Robert Sheldon explains how to get started using the data frame object, how to pass data from SQL Server to it, and how to manipulate it with Python and pandas commands. … Read more
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17 November 2017
17 November 2017

Still More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

As the final entry in this series, Robert Sheldon leads you through a group of forgotten features that have been removed from recent versions of SQL Server. In some cases, the features were widely used and often loved, while others had lost their usefulness over the years or were replaced with something much better. In this article, he remembers Data Transformation Services (DTS), a handful of DBCC commands, a few utilities, Active Directory Helper Service, English Query, Web Assistant, SQL Mail, Native XML Web Services, Notification Services, SQL Distributed Management Objects, Surface Area Configuration Tool, and the Pubs and Northwind databases.… Read more
03 November 2017
03 November 2017

SQL Server R Services: Working with Multiple Data Sets

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Although it is easy to use SQL Server R Services to create R scripts that incorporate SQL Server data by passing in a T-SQL query as an argument when calling the sp_execute_external_script stored procedure, you are limited to that one query, unless you pass additional data directly between R and SQL Server via CSV files. It is simple to do, and opens up many additional opportunities for data analysis. Robert Sheldon explains how.… Read more
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18 October 2017
18 October 2017

Even More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

SQL Server works well, and Microsoft does everything it can to keep it relevant and competitive: As with everything in real life, it doesn't don't always get it completely right, and Rob Sheldon continues his quest through the jungle of past features to rediscover and explore the ones that time forgot. Here, he comes across Lightweight Pooling, XML Indexes, Stretch Databases, SQL Variants, Transaction Savepoints and In-Memory OLTP.… Read more
20 September 2017
20 September 2017

More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

SQL Server produces some great features, but it would be impossible to get them spot-on target every time. We are now quietly advised to use caution about using some of them, such as AutoShrink or the Index Advisor. Others, like the database diagramming tool, almost seem to have been quietly abandoned. Robert Sheldon investigates.… Read more
06 September 2017
06 September 2017

SQL Server R Services: Working with Data Frames

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Although you can get started with R in SQL Server without understanding data frames, they are a key structure of the R language that are the equivalent of SQL Server table variables. They give you many ways of manipulating and analyzing data and passing it between R and SQL Server. For a database professional, they provide a clear and familiar concept when getting to grips with integrating R into the database.… Read more
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23 August 2017
23 August 2017

The SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

Every new release of SQL Server comes with new features that cause a ripple of excitement within the industry: well, amongst the marketing people anyway. What happens to all the exciting TLAs that are bandied about when a new version launches? It's mixed, it seems. Adam Machanic's classic post, The SQL Hall of Shame, has inspired Rob Sheldon to look back at some of the features that, though worthy, have may have failed to hit the mainstream.… Read more
11 August 2017
11 August 2017

SQL Server R Services: Working with ggplot2 Statistical Graphics

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It is when you use R in SQL Server with one of the huge range of packages that comes with it that you can begin to appreciate the power of the system. With a package such as ggplot there are many 'knobs one can twiddle' in order to get spectacular and informative visualisations. Rob Sheldon continues his beginners series for R in SQL Server by showing how to refine the output to get it as you need it.… Read more
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31 July 2017
31 July 2017

The Basics of Good T-SQL Coding Style – Part 4: Performance

There are several obvious problems with poor SQL Coding habits. It can make code difficult to maintain, or can confuse your team colleagues. It can make refactoring a chore or make testing difficult. The most serious problem is poor performance. You can write SQL that looks beautiful but performs sluggishly, or interferes with other threads. A busy database developer adopts good habits so as to avoid staring at execution plans. Rob Sheldon gives some examples.… Read more
17 July 2017
17 July 2017

SQL Server R Services: Digging into the R Language

It is not just the analytic power of R that you get from using SQL Server R Services, but also the great range of packages that can be run in R that provide a daunting range of graphing and plotting facilities. Robert Sheldon shows how you can take data held in SQL Server and, via SQL Server R Services, use an R package called ggPlot that offers a powerful graphics language for creating elegant and complex plots.… Read more