VB 2005 B1 to B2 changes

Steve Lasker has put a very detailed post on the VB team blog. It covers the key changes from Beta 1 to Beta 2, particularly in relation to data. It contains lots of really good news.

The only real bummer I noted in it was that SQL CLR User Defined Types won’t be able to be consumed by Typed Datasets. That is a real pity. He said they just ran out of time to do it 🙁


Scalar vs Non-Scalar UDTs In SQL Server 2005

Was reading Bob Beauchemin’s wonderful A First Look At SQL Server 2005 For Developers (written with Niels Berglund and Dan Sullivan) again this morning.

I was particularly interested in his/their opinions on what are good candidates for UDT’s in Yukon. In amongst that, I found an interesting discussion on scalar vs non-scalar types and how they might affect your choices. He/they suggest that scalar values are more appropriate than non-scalar ones and provide an interesting example of how that really makes a difference.

A date could potentially be seen as 3 integers and a point could be seen as two but they would work very differently with say a sql BETWEEN clause. Even though a date has three values, it really is just a representation of a linear value and so you can easily use a BETWEEN. That isn’t the case for a point.

You could also store a date in a struct (or Structure for VB) rather than a Class, get the advantages of a value tyep and even use binary comparison, as long as you set up the member variables in the right order.

Munich in May

Got this email this morning:

“Congratulations!  We are pleased to inform you that your session proposal, A SQL Server DBAs Guide to CLR Integration, has been selected for presentation at the 2005 PASS European Conference, 11-13 May 2005, in Munich, Germany.”

Sweet. Haven’t ever been to Munich. Only ever flown over Germany, never stopped there.

Now I really need to do some more work on the presentation 🙂


Beta Software and VPCs (Continued)

Today’s victim <sigh>

—————– snippet of original post follows ———————

Help! 😉

I seem to have butchered my laptop running XP SP2 trying to move from the
October CTP to the December CTP and sure would like to find a way to fix the
problem. Undoubtedly I uninstalled something I shouldn’t have (my guess is
msxml3) but that seems to be water under the bridge at this point.

I have tried reinstalling MSXML3 SP2, SP4 and SP5 and even copying the SP6
“SFPCA Cache” folder from a Windows 2003 Server that is able to run the
December CTP just fine., each time backing the install out to a freash start
(uninstall everything that succeeded) but always fail. Even tried going back
to the October CTP that I had been able to use before I mucked thinsg up.
That now fails on the MSXML3 phase as well.

—————— etc etc ————————————

As I said, don’t be this person….

DNR: The Movie

Just received the Dot Net Rocks movie from Carl Franklin & Rory Blyth (see www.franklins.net/dotnetrocks). They’re always pretty funny guys and I’d expect almost anything to happen when dealing with them. What did catch me by surprise was the customs declaration documentation on the parcel that said it contained “used knives”.

Pretty surprising it didn’t get stuck in customs for a while, given I’ve heard stories of people who’ve ordered a toy called “brain in a petrie dish“ from the MS company store having it stuck there 🙂


VPC Performance

Isaiah Williams (and others) commenting on my last post asked about the role of Ghost in this type of testing beta software.

Ghost is a good fit in this environment but I only use it as a fail-safe recovery mechanism. I think using VPCs for testing is way more convenient than using a tool like Ghost, particulary when you can also enable undo disks and just instantly forget all the changes if you didn’t like the outcome. I use a series of base vpc images for all testing.

RAM is super important but the other thing is hard disk speed. Most of the problems notebooks face using VPCs is they’re using 4200 or 5400 rpm drives. 7200 rpm drives (or 10,000 rpm drives on desktops) make a huge difference in VPC. It tends to hit drives pretty hard.

Other good options are external firewire or usb2 drives, for those with notebooks stuck with slow internal drives. I’ve got a Lacie 250G 7200rpm with 8G cache. Performs very well as long as your usb2 drivers are fine.

Beta Software & VPC

It seems like every couple of days, I’m talking to someone on a newsgroup where their post was something like:

“I installed SQL Server 2005 beta and .NET Framework 2 beta on my XP SP2 system and now other things are stuffed up. Plus I can’t get rid of it and I think I have to reformat.” This is usually followed by a heap of whinging about the situation.


When the instructions (that no-one reads) tell you not to install the beta on any system you care about, THEY AREN’T KIDDING.

I’ve just finished talking with yet another person today. Their big whinge was that at least the uninstaller should work.

This shouldn’t be a newsflash but the install/uninstall routines for the product are only beta versions as well !

Virtual PC is your friend.

The only other hint I’d give is to make sure you disable the “autorun“ in your VPC images. I stuffed myself up a few weeks back. Was in a VPC in full-screen mode and inserted a .NET framework V2 beta CD which autoran. Bummer was that it was the host operating system that had autorun. Once it was installed, the host O/S was toast. The uninstaller GPF’d all over the place. I couldn’t go forwards or backwards. At least if you disable it in the VPC’s, you’ll know which one is autorunning it.

I was SOOOOO glad I also ghost my notebook to an external USB2 drive every week. At least then, I could just say “uncle“, back up my recent work and drop the latest ghost image back on. Highly recommended. Full image of about 70G on my notebook takes about 1 1/4 hours to the external drive.

Sorry about the rant but it’s gettting to be a daily occurrence.