2734B: Updating Your Database Development Skills to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Part 2

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I’m going to combine days two and three into one big entry because I don’t think I’ll get a chance to do a full day-three review at the end of today.

Yesterday was day two and we looked at SQL Server 2005 service broker stuff, its native HTTP support, and Notification Services.

The service broker facilities they’ve added are pretty cool. The ability to set up messages and queues and such inside the server is neat, and it folds nicely into the native HTTP support to allow for exposure of these things via web service. Cool. SQLXML has rolled into SQL Server, which we all anticipated and love.

Notification Services, though… OK, I’m just going to be brutally honest:

SQL Server 2005 Notification Services sucks big fat donkey dong.


Notification Services is the biggest hunk of claptrap Rube Goldberg mechanics I’ve been introduced to in a long time. It’s not debuggable, it’s super-hard to set up, and for what it offers I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

We had a lab to set up some rudimentary Notification Services. The lab involved us creating a lot of hand-cranked XML configuration, running some setup to get the services up and running, then testing it out.

Problem 1: The XML contains SQL that turns into stored procedures. Why is that bad? When they make the stored procedures, there’s nothing to tell you whether you have a typo in the SQL. I mistyped a database object name and it never had a problem with it. In fact, I found that error in the Event Viewer - not even in the SQL error log - and only when it actually tried to execute the procedure. NO!

Problem 2: There’s insufficient logging. After I corrected my error, I tried to use the service again and something else went wrong. What happened? I have no idea. It just swallows the errors and moves on like there’s no issue. No errors, no warnings, no log. How am I supposed to debug that?

The whole thing where the XML that you have to hand-generate (and there’s a LOT) has a lot of magic words in it that you just have to sort of “know” about (like you have to just “know” that when you type “Foo” in one element that it becomes a stored proc with a name like “ServiceFooSomeProcNameHere” - yeah, that’s intuitive. It really does work like Rube Goldberg machines - this bit of XML kicks this block of code out that rolls down the hill and knocks this table row down and flips over and tosses a message over to that service… Come on, guys. It’s like someone took a weekend, architected the thing, and clamped it on the side of SQL Server 2005 so they could have a selling point or something.

Today we’ll be learning about managed code in SQL Server 2005, which looks great; working with client apps (ADO.NET), which won’t be news for me; and SQL management objects, which also looks great.

Oh, and before I forget, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so Happy Thanksgiving to all!