Tony Davis

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.

06 August 2008
06 August 2008

Anxiety, Dissent and the Entity Framework

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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
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08 July 2008
08 July 2008

VB.NET: The Ugly Duckling

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
24 June 2008
24 June 2008

SQL Server Tumbleweed Awards

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
06 June 2008
06 June 2008

CLR, beer and turkey

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
13 May 2008
13 May 2008

The DBA Daily Checklist

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
29 April 2008
29 April 2008

Bad Database Security

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
01 April 2008
01 April 2008

That ain’t a database, it’s a spreadsheet!

“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
17 March 2008
17 March 2008

Not the right place

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
27 February 2008
27 February 2008

How should you layout code?

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
12 February 2008
12 February 2008

SQL Server Diagnostics

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
29 January 2008
29 January 2008

Katmai: Ship date or ship-shape?

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
22 January 2008
22 January 2008

The Decline of IE and the rise of browser-based desktop applications

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
08 January 2008
08 January 2008

TSQL and the Tower of Babel

It is always a bit of a strain to program in several languages at once. A simple task like writing a database-driven website will involve you in at least three, maybe more. The experience of diving into JavaScript, VB.NET, and TSQL, all at once, is one that most human brains aren’t, in evolutionary terms, designed … Read more
15 November 2007
15 November 2007

LINQ and vNext

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
18 September 2007
18 September 2007

Registering for PASS: the deadly game

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