Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Notification Services on SQL Server 2008

While Notification Services has been officially deprecated in SQL Server 2008, in lieu of Reporting Services' data driven subscription model, the product team at Microsoft made an official announcement yesterday to provide some support for SSNS 2005 from within SQL Server 2008.


Yesterday afternoon, a new Release Candidate (RC1) for the SSNS Components Package was posted to the MS Download site.  This component release is not putting SSNS back into SQL Server 2008, rather, it's allowing the use of SSNS 2005 from within SQL 2008.


There are lots of people who complained at the decision to phase out this product – although the numbers were slim.  But apparently someone at Redmond was listening, and made steps toward addressing the situation.  This should keep SSNS alive as a product for at least another revision of SQL Server, while support will continue its lifecycle for customers still in the 2005 platform.


Here are the details from the MS Download page:

Microsoft Downloads - SQL Server 2005 Notification Services Components Package RC1




Date Published:




Download Size:

2.1 MB - 9.6 MB*

The SQL Server 2005 Notification Services components package provides the following server and client components that are required to deploy and run Notification Services:

·         Service components that enable the SQL Server 2005 Notification Services service to execute and provide notification-processing capabilities.

·         APIs that can be used within custom applications that include SQL Server 2005 Notification Services functionality:

o    Subscription management APIs that enable developers to create subscriptions and subscribers, and to manage subscriber devices.

o    Event submission APIs that enable users to specify events by using the event APIs or stored procedures.

The SQL Server 2005 Notification Services components package does not include the SQL Server Management Studio components of Notification Services.

This release of the SQL Server 2005 Notification Services components provides interoperability for running SQL Server 2005 Notification Services against either an instance of the SQL Server 2005 Database Engine or SQL Server 2008 Database Engine.

Note: This release is a pre-release version and is available only for testing. Product support is not available for this pre-release version.



Monday, August 11, 2008

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and .NET 3.5 SP1 Released Today


The teams at Microsoft officially released the Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2008, TFS, and the .NET Framework 3.5.  You can download the bits from MSDN or TechNet.Learn More About Visual Studio 2008

Although the official RTM announcement was made today, some of the release bits actually shipped with the SQL Server 2008 RTM which was released 5 days earlier.  If you downloaded SQL Server 2008 prior to today, and already had Visual Studio 2008 installed, you may have encountered some issues during the setup.  You might have also noticed that Visual Studio 2008 RTM had a few issues connecting to SQL Server 2008.  The SP1 should address these compatibility issues and bring both platforms up to speed.

So what's new in this SP1 for .NET 3.5 and Visual Studio:

  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data - data scaffolding and quick automated, template-driven CRUD web sites
  • ADO.NET Data Services - query you sql server data store using REST-based URIs.
  • ASP.NET Routing Engine - map incoming URLs to route handlers for "beautiful" URLs on your web applications (oh and REST, too)
  • Improved AJAX script support for browser history (back/fwd buttons), and script combining for fewer (and cacheable) script resource requests to the web server
  • Vast performance improvements to the Visual Studio 2008 designer and better Intellisense support for javascript, classic ASP, etc, WCF refactorings, etc.
  • New WindowsForms controls, and significant WPF performance improvements (hardware acceleration)
  • WCF scalability improvements and support for the ADO.NET Entity Framework.
  • Team Foundation Server improvements

plus...improvements to VB and C# and much more!!!

This SP1 provides a ton of new features, fixes, improvements and enhancements, and makes it well worth the download.

For more details and a more exhaustive list of what's new, check out Scott Guthrie's blog post on the  pre-release version.  Also, check out Brian Harry's post on today's release with more details on the TFS bits.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

SQL Server 2008 Released!

Yesterday SQL Server 2008 released (exactly 30 days from my post about it being on the horizon).
You can read the official press release here.

Robert Bruckner, from the SSRS product team, blogged about the release and some of the new features in SSRS.

I'll be testing out the RTM this weekend, while wrapping up my last chapter on the Wrox book on SSRS. I'll definitely put out a post about my favorite new features in SQL Server (not just SSRS)....although I can already tell you that I LOVE the Intellisense support for T-SQL within Management Studio...that is da bomb!

Go get your copy from MSDN or TechNet! And let's hear some comments and feedback.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

SQL Server 2008 On The Horizon


Rumors are floating around that SQL Server 2008 could be RTM'd as early as July 31!!!  That's right, the product team has hiHomented at an August release time frame (thanks to Francois Ajenstat).

This release will align with the soon-to be-RTM SP1 for .NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008, which has hooks into the new features of SQL Server 2008.  SQL Server 2008's installer now also requires that the .NET 3.5 SP1 be installed, and will attempt to download it as part of installation process.

If you're trying to install the RC0 rev of SQL Server 2008, you will be asked to install the beta SP1 for .NET 3.5 first.

If you installed the hotfixes for the Web Designer in VS 2008, which were recently shortly after the IDE was released, YOU WILL HAVE TO UNINSTALL THE HOTFIXES prior to intalling SP1.


These hotfixes were rolled up into SP1, and will cause the beta installer to fail if you've already got them.  The installation log actually details the KB articles related to those hotfixes.

Once you've removed these hotfixes, the SP1 installer will finish up without a hitch, and you can move on with the setup for SQL Server 2008 (note to self:  blog about the new installer experience of SQL Server).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

News from TechEd 2008 - Developer

TechEd 2008 Developer is now officially over, and I am back to my normal life. I must admit that the ride to Florida didn't start off as I planned: my AA flight had an "engine malfunction" and had to return to the airport shortly after takeoff. It gave us a scare but thankfully we were safe.

The conference was fun and I had the pleasure to meet some great new folks as well as see and talk with some well known people in the Microsoft developer community, including Scott Hanselman, Carl Franklin, Juval Lowy, Marc Mercuri, and Ted Neward.

Bill Gates' last official keynote as a Microsoft "employee" (does he count as an employee?) was interesting as he slowly revealed the tip of the iceberg for Microsoft's latest vision for the Software+Services offerings and the newest additions to their development efforts.

This was my 3rd TechEd event, and I have noticed a pattern with attendees: newbies tend to want to attend every possible session, especially those with renowned speakers, while seasoned developers and architects stick to the TLC (Technical Learning Centers), hands on labs, and 1-1 meetings with the product groups.

I realized that when I noticed I'd only attended 5 sessions altogether, and had spent quite a bit of time talking with other like-minded individuals, networking, swapping biz cards, and interacting with Microsoft program managers and developers.

Below are some of the latest announcements from TechEd 2008 Developers (and I expect the IT Pro week to provide another handful of these):
I will be posting some photos and videos from the conference, as soon as I can.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What's up with the new SSRS 2008 Report Designer

Here’s the scoop from developer to developer, per the last comments and feedback from the MS product team for SSRS:

The new Report Designer for 2008 will be included, as of CTP6 and into RTM, in Visual Studio 2008, and also as a standalone installed application. This is significant because it means that business analysts and information workers do not have to license and install Visual Studio (a developer-oriented environment) in order to design/develop reports for SSRS. In SSRS 2005, the only other option that end-users had to develop reports was the Report Builder application.

Report Builder – RB 2005 – is a click-once Windows Forms application that allows users to create ad-hoc reports. However it limits users to retrieving data from Report Models (SMDL files) that were deployed to a report server. Report Models had to created beforehand, by a developer, well-versed in the data structures (DB, Cubes, etc) and business needs, in order to provide the appropriate entities and fields that could be consumed by ad-hoc reports in RB. An interesting concept that came from SMDL and the models is that of infinite drill-through. Basically, the idea is that once the model is created, and a report consumes that modeled data, a field that is displayed on the report can be clicked by the end-user allowing them to drill into the information. The semantic model would understand relationships and hierarchies presented by the data, and provided a generated report with all the attributes and aggregates that were significant to the drilled down information. In theory, the user could keep on clicking through the data “infinitely.”

Unfortunately, the latest I've heard from the SSRS product team on this topic was that, while the SSRS 2008 Standalone Report Designer (codename “blue”) would allow users to create reports, using the same design interface as developers in Visual Studio, which consume SMDL models, they would not be able to perform “infinite drill-through” using these reports, and they would not get an integrated query designer.

In order to address that shortcoming, they chose to keep the 2005 RB click-once application with the RTM version of SSRS 2008. Once they’ve completed this feature with the new designer, they will release the updated Report Designer (blue). This will come in the form of a SQL Server Service Pack (probably SP1).

To summarize, when SQL Server 2008 is released, developers will get the new report designer in Visual Studio 2008, and users will get the standalone version of the same design tool. and users will continue to get RB 2005 deployment from Report Manager. the "blue" designer will be available in the SQL Server installation media, but not installed by default, starting with the next CTP Refresh. Once "blue" is installed, users will be able to write reports for all the out-of-the-box data providers (not just report models), but will not be able to create reports with infinite drill-through capabilities.

When SP1 for SQL 2008 is done (or the next available update after RTM), the new Report Designer will have incorporated all of the missing features available in RB 2005, and Microsoft will phase out the RB 2005 tool at that point, in favor of “blue.”

Re-designed memory management (say goodbye to memory leaks in your report servers).

  • Directly leveraging HTTP.sys driver - does away with dependency on IIS. This reduces server footprint (and possible attack surface) on dedicated report servers, and allows all of the Reporting Services components to function within one single application pool, under one windows service, by one single service account. This also makes server deployment a breeze.
  • Integration of the acquired Dundas Charts and Gauges component – this brings new charts and gauges, with tons of new features that will allow users to create very pretty reports.
  • Say good bye to the old matrix and table paradigm…..hello, TABLIX!
  • New MS Word (2003) rendering extension, will allow users to export reports to Word .doc files.
  • Still get all the neat SharePoint integration features….