The Need for Database DevTest

The first and overriding thought of the experienced developer given any new development task is, or should be, ‘How the heck am I going to test this?’. I wonder, though, how often developers neglect to ask this question. Nowadays, with Visual Studio, the debugging facilities are so good you can muddle along happily for a … Read more

Python in SQL Server

Anyone using R in SQL Server employs the procedure sp_execute_external_script, the first parameter of this being the language to use. The documentation rather obliquely says that “the script must be written in a supported and registered language“. Until recently, the only language was R, but now a second supported language, Python, has appeared. Yes, at … Read more

The Oxford Comma and Me

Many people in IT, even at Redgate where I work, see the job title “Editor” and think I spend most of my time fixing spelling mistakes, adding Oxford Commas, and thwarting an author’s ambitions to end a sentence with a preposition. They are sometimes bemused, therefore, when they learn how long a proper technical edit … Read more

Avoiding the Slide From DevOps to DevOops

If you roll out DevOps across an organization before it is culturally prepared for it, you will see warning signs that the initiative is failing. These are: Team members complain of unmanageable workloads Requirements, quality management and metrics get neglected; customer complaints increase You promote and reward the ‘firefighters’ rather than the staff who prevent … Read more

Glasnost in IT: Discarding the Old Certainties

Three of Redgate’s tools are now part of the 2017 release of Visual Studio Enterprise (as announced last week), as components of the Data Storage and Processing ‘workload’. Some might be surprised to find third-party tools being included in the Visual Studio installer, but it’s an interesting sign of the times. No longer can any … Read more

Old is the New New: SQL Server 2016 Learns Ancient Auditing Tricks

The new temporal tables in SQL Server 2016 are interesting, in that they seem a much better way of storing any financial information than conventional relational tables. They have been referred to by some as “SQL Server’s time machine”. They are system-versioned tables that allow SQL Server to maintain the different versions each row, using … Read more

The Harsh Reality Behind Big Data Misuse

Big Data has its origin in science, but it is now being used commercially to increase the information that organizations have about people. This information can uniquely identify individuals and reveal their likes, habits, propensities and wealth. The power of this information is so great that legislation on its use is having to become more … Read more

Metaprogramming

Over the history of personal computing, it seems that the best software was written by a team of five or fewer programmers. CP/M, the first PC operating system was built by one guy, Gary Kildall, though he got parts from others such as Gordon Eubanks. MSDOS originated in QDOS, again written by one person, Tim … Read more

Tying Down the Source Code

Database source code analysis can flush out weakly-authenticated database users, over-privileged users and roles, or stored procedure code that concatenates a parameter directly into the dynamic SQL string that is to be executed, and so is vulnerable SQL injection. This is great for the development team, but it is also wonderful for the hacker. Getting … Read more

Bridging the DevOps Divide

What’s the main obstacle to implementing a DevOps approach in your organization? In a recent “State of DevOps” survey conducted by Redgate, the second most popular answer to this question, after “lack of skills”, was “lack of alignment between development and operations teams“. Hmm, so you can’t do DevOps until you have a DevOps culture. … Read more

The Dangers of TechnoMarketingBabble

Everyone’s encouraged to be a content producer these days. It’s not marketing, it’s content! Sometimes the tell-tale signs are obvious. The author feels obliged to lapse into unrestrained hyperbole in the first paragraph, proclaiming unprecedented greatness for some unproven new feature or technology that represents a “total revolution” in the way you tackle a certain … Read more

Virtue in the Virtual

Are we now seeing just a frisson of excitement amongst database professionals at the potential of virtualization, and containerization technologies? I read with interest Andrew Pruski’s recent post on SQL Server and containers. Wow, I thought: so I can now run a Docker SQL Server Express in a Hyper-V Container on Windows Server 2016! Then … Read more

Development Delusions: That it is Enough to Build a Better Mousetrap

You've written a superb, clever, application that you are trying to encourage your colleagues to use. They're not interested. Why? You've neglected the documentation. Surely, the saying goes 'Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door'? Nope, not without comprehensive and complete documentation and marketing, it won't. Documentation is the secret of ensuring that good software will succeed. … Read more

When Stored Procedures Go Bad

It is far easier to work out what is wrong with a slow-running SQL query than one that shows erratic performance. DBAs will groan when a process occasionally performs terribly without apparent reason. There is always a good chance that this is a symptom of the painful problem of parameter sniffing. It can afflict database … Read more

Skilling and De-skilling

Not long ago, I was having to do a fairly simple DBA task onsite. It involved database provisioning by copying a database from one server to another, something I’ve done countless times. I was taking a backup of the source and restoring it under another name on the other server to create the target database. … Read more

Your Professional Development and the PASS Organization

There are so many ways of keeping your technical skills and knowledge up-to-date. There are books, articles, conferences, video courses and so on, but nothing beats discussion and debate with professional people in other organisations facing a similar range of technical challenges, some of which you share, and others you maybe haven't yet. PASS is unique in providing just this vital ingredient for database professionals using the Microsoft Data Stack.… 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

Removing the Clutter from Graphs

You can quickly get an audience to see patterns and trends in data if you present that data graphically. Data visualization is often the most persuasive of mediums; and yet, it’s so easy to get it very wrong. With any of the rich variety of available data tools, it is the work of a moment … Read more

On Being Economical with the Truth

A while back, I attended a presentation about a suite of software that allowed IT managers to track in some detail the progress of a development project, via static code analysis, a range of source control metrics and other magic. Bathed in these insights, management could instantly track the detail of what was going on … Read more

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