Infinite Drill-through in a single SSRS report

Grant Paisley of Angry Koala and Report Surfer put me onto this a while back, and I have to admit I’m a bit of a fan. The idea comes from the fact the way that SQL Server Reporting Services (both 2005 and 2008) handles parameters with Analysis Services, and lets you make a report that drills through into itself, deeper and deeper into a hierarchy. Today I did a talk at the Adelaide SQL Server User Group, and mentioned this was possible (but didn’t have the time to demonstrate it properly). If you make a parameterized query in an MDX … Continue reading Infinite Drill-through in a single SSRS report

Access’ DISTINCTROW keyword explained – it means WHERE EXISTS

Steve Koop spoke recently at the Adelaide SQL Server User Group, talking about things which don’t convert particularly nicely when upsizing from Microsoft Access to SQL Server 2008. I think this is a really important thing for SQL people to know, as there seem to be many Access databases living in even the largest organisations. One of the things he mentioned was DISTINCTROW. I’ve never really known what DISTINCTROW does, so I asked him. He sent me a link which explained the difference between DISTINCTROW and DISTINCT, and it described as “DISTINCTROW works on records, not just individual fields”. This … Continue reading Access’ DISTINCTROW keyword explained – it means WHERE EXISTS

A review – Microsoft Windows PowerShell Step By Step (Ed Wilson)

Another book review, and another giveaway for the Adelaide SQL Server User Group. This time, it’s Microsoft Windows PowerShell Step By Step. Last month I had picked up the Windows PowerShell Scripting Guide, wondering if it was going to be a good recommendation for people who were interesting in getting into PowerShell. Even though I thought the book was very good (particularly if you want to use PowerShell to access the innards of a Windows installation), it didn’t seem like the right book for recommending for PowerShell beginners. This book is though, and I’ll definitely recommend it for people wanting … Continue reading A review – Microsoft Windows PowerShell Step By Step (Ed Wilson)

Running a user-group meeting on a hot day

It’s 44C here today in Adelaide. Yesterday made it to 43.2C, and my lunchtime session of the Adelaide SQL Server User Group had its lowest attendance for a long time. There were a few influencing factors which I will need to learn from: 1. The heat. When the forecast says 41C and you’re hoping that people will leave their air-conditioned offices to come to a meeting (albeit in another air-conditioned office), you’re probably hoping for a miracle. Mind you – I’d happily be there today. I’m waiting for a plumber before I can turn my the water back on after … Continue reading Running a user-group meeting on a hot day

OUTPUT clause – knowing what goes in, and what you’ve accidentally taken out

The OUTPUT clause has to be one of the best T-SQL features out there. It was new in SQL Server 2005, but it’s still remarkably little known. I guess like many of the features that were introduced in SQL 2005, many people just make do with the way they did things before. The basic point of the OUTPUT clause is to turn a data modification statement into one that returns data (although this data can be redirected to an existing table by simply adding “INTO tablename” after it), by providing a way of accessing the inserted and deleted tables that … Continue reading OUTPUT clause – knowing what goes in, and what you’ve accidentally taken out

Orr-some time with Geoff

Geoff Orr spoke at the Adelaide SQL Server User Group yesterday, and according to the feedback (and attendance), it was a very popular session. He discussed various options around SSIS configuration, and threw in some jokes as usual. Of course, he may need to update the talk soon, as it seems the next CTP of SQL 2008 will have many new SSIS features. Keep your eye on connect.microsoft.com/sql for when it comes out. I’ll certainly be checking them out, and making sure I highlight them when I run the SSIS courses (and this) next.

SQL and Virtual Earth

A while back I was talking to Bronwen Zande, of Brisbane-based SoulSolutions and GeekGirlBlogs. Anyway, she and her partner John are big fans of Virtual Earth. As it’s well publicised that SQL Server 2008 will have new spatial types, including fancy ways of integrating with Virtual Earth, I asked her if they were planning a tour of the Australian SQL Server User Groups to demonstrate how this could work. I figure this is something that few SQL Server people will do much investigation into, but may well be asked about by developers who are keen to find out what’s possible. … Continue reading SQL and Virtual Earth

User Group meeting with Christine Bishop

Yesterday we had Christine Bishop come to Adelaide. She’s the Product Marketing Manager for SQL Server and BI for Microsoft Australia. That makes her handy to know if you’re in the SQL space, and we had a nice crowd come along to the user group to meet her. One thing that made this meeting different to the usual is that Christine isn’t overly technical. She’s not bad, but compared to the people in the crowd listening to her, she would’ve been in the less technical half. Normally we’d have some in depth technical session, showing people how to do particular … Continue reading User Group meeting with Christine Bishop

My favourite thing about SQL Server 2008

A few people have asked me what my favourite thing is in SQL Server 2008 (“Katmai”). But my favourite thing isn’t actually a feature at all, it’s a mindset that Microsoft are taking with it. This mindset is “We will only put features into the CTPs once they are basically complete – including the documentation.” And this makes me say “Wow!”. One of the problems with all beta software is the stuff that’s in there that just isn’t finished yet. You try to use some feature, and it doesn’t work. Or worse, something dies because you tried it. It’s these … Continue reading My favourite thing about SQL Server 2008

Thoughts on TechEd

I enjoy TechEd. It’s always good fun. Last week was my fourth TechEd, having attended for the past three years, plus in ’99. The last three years have seen my involvement increase each time. Last year I proctored with the Hands-On Labs, and this year I presented both a session and an Instructor-Led Lab. I’m a big believer in giving back to the community, and I see this as part of it. I do find that the more I’m involved, the fewer sessions I actually get to attend. But I don’t feel like I’m missing out, because it’s not why I … Continue reading Thoughts on TechEd