Tony Davis is an Editor with Red Gate Software, based in Cambridge (UK), specializing in databases, and especially SQL Server. He edits articles and writes editorials for both the Simple-talk.com and SQLServerCentral.com websites and newsletters, with a combined audience of over 1.5 million subscribers. You can sample his short-form writing at either his Simple-Talk.com blog or his SQLServerCentral.com author page.
As the editor behind most of the SQL Server books published by Red Gate, he spends much of his time helping others express what they know about SQL Server. He is also the lead author of the book, SQL Server Transaction Log Management.
In his spare time, he enjoys running, football, contemporary fiction and real ale.
There is trouble afoot amongst the MVPs who are specialising in Object-Relational mapping (ORM). When the NHibernate mafia, a.k.a. ALT.NET, released their ADO .NET Entity Framework Vote of No Confidence, many of us despaired. Suddenly, it looked more like ANGST.NET than ALT.NET. As I scanned through the long list of names who had signed the … Read more
I’ve always been suspicious of denormalizing an OLTP database. Denormalisation is a strange activity that is supposed to take place after a database has been normalized, and is assumed to be necessary in order to reduce the number of joins in queries to a tolerable level. C.J. Date is quite clear on this; well, he … Read more
One of the greatest pleasures of programming in C# is that wonderful, giddy, feeling of superiority one has over VB.NET programmers. In C#, one has a vague awareness that what one is doing has elegance and style. It must be the effect of the curly braces. By contrast, VB.NET steadfastly maintains its status as the … Read more
Several parts of SQL Server look as though they were started and then suddenly abandoned. The classic example is the TEXT datatype. Phil Factor has a theory on most things, and in this case it’s that the programmer responsible for implementing the TEXT datatype at Microsoft succumbed to the unbearable pressure of the job, one … Read more
It is strange that two important programming techniques in a SQL Server Database can’t be done in TSQL. The first is, of course, being able to read multiple results from a stored procedure. You can do it in ODBC/ADO and so on, but not in TSQL. The other obvious failing is that one cannot write … Read more
Server Management Objects (SMO) is a very impressive product. SMO (and its previous incarnation, SQL-DMO) is essentially an object-oriented interface into the management of SQL Server installations and databases. It provides an intuitive way for the VB or C# programmer to automate any operation that can be performed via SSMS. We’ve run a few SMO … Read more
The average DBA has to perform many routine checks on his or her servers. There will be daily checks, weekly checks and, probably, monthly checks. A short while ago, we were having quite a debate about what items would be on the DBA Daily checklist. Because we all like lists with ten items in them, … Read more
The Daily WTF recently reported that the Sexual and Violent Offender Registry of Oklahoma had to shut down its website for ‘routine maintenance’. It turns out that this routine maintenance was necessary because 10,597 social security numbers from sex offenders had been downloaded, by SQL injection. Sadly, this is not an isolated case. There has … Read more
I was chatting to Phil Factor the other day about the slow start-up of some CLR applications. He started telling me, with apparent irrelevance, how he once, a long time ago, developed a database system in Z80 assembler code and a large eight-inch floppy disk. The point he was actually making was this: the more … Read more
“That ain’t a database, it’s a spreadsheet!” From the Sayings of Phil Factor There is a world of difference between an enterprise-level relational database and a ‘repository of persistent data’. Until you’ve had the experience of dealing with a high-volume, high-transaction database with large amounts of data, the truth of this doesn’t really hit home. … Read more
Many orthodoxies, or ‘truisms’, exist in IT; rules of programming that emerge in the light of shared experience and are then passed on from programmer to programmer and instilled as “the right way” to tackle a certain problem. The difficulty is that many of these truisms persist long after advances in technology have rendered them … Read more
It is strange to see the heat generated over arguments about how code should be formatted. With Visual Studio, of course, it isn’t much of an issue, as it is done for you, but the closer you get to the ‘live free and die’ communities of the LAMP platforms, the more contentious it gets. Likewise, … Read more
SQL Server diagnostics are a mess. To monitor the well-being of a server, you need to be able to inspect all logged errors, have a whole raft of performance information, WMI data, and be able to study the history of backups and scheduled jobs. You have to monitor server downtime, low disk space, low physical … Read more
By now, most of you will have read the news of the delay in releasing SQL Server 2008. It all seems fairly typical Microsoft, though I wouldn’t want to be overly critical, even if the bizarre blog announcement, written in strangled Dalek-speak, was almost beyond parody (although Phil Factor had a good attempt). In reality, … Read more
Until recently, the Internet Explorer V8 group had been a pretty taciturn bunch. However, a few weeks ago, Dean Hachamovitch suddenly popped up with a blog entry announcing that the new IE8 browser had passed the Web Standards Project ‘Acid2’ test. The blog was full of aspirations about Microsoft’s commitment to standards, and their Acid2 … Read more
Visual Basic v9 appeared on November 19. In the past, the new release of Microsoft’s longest-running language might have caused a stir, but it was part of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 and there were plenty of other distractions. The changes to VB itself were pretty minor: The ‘Inline IF’ was finally retired in favour of … Read more
The history of IT is littered with the corpses of software companies that assumed that a solution that worked well in particular circumstances would necessarily become a generic panacea. Who, for example, now remembers the past giants of the Workflow industry? The Orcas chrysalis is now hatching into the Visual Studio 2008 butterfly. Well, most … Read more
We all have our favourite websites. Not the ones we read as part of our job, but the ones we scan whilst munching sandwiches at the desk or, surreptitiously, during an application build process. I’m hooked on giveawayoftheday.com at the moment. It is a site that gives away licensed software. It features a different product … Read more
MONDAY, 17 September 2007 On a slightly overcast Denver Monday morning, I strolled into the Colorado Convention Centre, intent on registering for the PASS conference. I stared in wonderment at the distinctive blue bear, entered the building, and followed the sign for “PASS registration”. I duly approached the registration desk. “Hi, I’m here to register” … Read more