Database development

Brian Lockwood

Using production data for testing in a post GDPR world

January 15, 2018 by

To SQL Server DBAs who are the shepherds of data in organizations, key GDPR questions, in general, center around whether data will need to be treated differently, safeguarded more etc. and specifically, as it relates to allowing production data to be used in testing.

That will be the focus of this article as we’ll work our way through the details of this regulation as well as various authoritative articles on the subject, to address this key question. Then we’ll look to ways and means to potentially ameliorate our findings to provide alternatives and workarounds if possible.

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Craig Porteous

How to build a SQL Server Virtual Lab with AutomatedLab in Hyper-V

October 30, 2017 by

There are often situations I want to test a piece of software or the latest version of SQL Server for a proof of concept, maybe even the new Power BI Report Server. I could install these locally, where I’ve likely got previous SQL installs or an already burgeoning system. You could be lucky that you have access to Virtual Machines that you can build out for the task. Now add a few hours to setup Windows or even just the applications themselves. Those VMs may be in Azure, or AWS, now add a few £’s or $’s every time you want to work on something. Did you remember to turn them off?

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

ETL optimization using SQL Server TRY Functions

October 24, 2017 by

Introduction

An enterprise data warehouse ETL solution typically includes, amongst other steps, a data transformation step that converts source data from one data type into another. It is during this step that type conversion errors may occur and depending on the type of exception handling techniques implemented in the ETL solution (or lack thereof), frustration may occur for both ETL developers and DBAs when trying to identify and resolve type conversion errors. In this article we take a look at a trio of SQL Server built-in functions that were introduced in SQL Server 2012, namely, TRY_PARSE, TRY_CAST, and TRY_CONVERT and how they could be utilized to reduce type conversion errors in ETL solutions and thereby saving developers needless troubleshooting exercise.

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Ahmad Yaseen

SQL Server Data Type Conversion Methods and performance comparison

October 3, 2017 by

When you define SQL Server database tables, local variables, expressions or parameters, you should specify what kind of data will be stored in those objects, such as text data, numbers, money or dates. This attribute is called the Data Type. SQL Server provides us with a big library of system data types that define all types of data that can be used with SQL Server, from which we can choose the data type that is suitable for the data we will store in that object. You can also define your own customized user defined data type using T-SQL script. SQL Server data types can be categorized into seven main categories:

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Samir Behara

Review of SQL Cop for SQL unit testing

September 29, 2017 by

SQL unit testing is rising in popularity amongst database developers. The importance of Code Quality in Software Development has increased over the period of time. Everyone wants to follow coding standards and write clean code. However, to timely deliver a product to Business we end up in violating design principles, writing fewer unit tests, increasing code complexity and breaching best practices. This increases the overall Technical Debt of the application and has the potential to halt future development work by creating unplanned work.

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Gerald Britton

How to compare tables in SQL Server

September 26, 2017 by

Introduction

If you’ve been developing in SQL Server for any length of time, you’ve no doubt hit this scenario: You have an existing, working query that produces results your customers or business owners say are correct. Now, you’re asked to change something, or perhaps you find out your existing code will have to work with new source data or maybe there’s a performance problem and you need to tune the query. Whatever the case, you want to be sure that whatever changes have been made (whether in your code or somewhere else), the changes in the output are as expected. In other words, you need to be sure that anything that was supposed to change, did, and that anything else remains the same. So, how can you easily do that in SQL Server?

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Jefferson Elias

Hands on Full-Text Search in SQL Server

August 25, 2017 by

Introduction

In most cases, we will use clustered and non-clustered indexes to help a query go faster, but these kinds of indexes have their own limitations and cannot be used for fast text lookup. For instance, a LIKE operator will lead SQL Server to scan the whole table in order to pick up values that meet the expression next to this operator. This means it won’t be fast in every case, even if an index is created for considered column.

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Daniel Calbimonte

How to email SQL query results to your smartphone using the sp_send_dbmail stored procedure

July 24, 2017 by

Introduction

Sometimes there are tasks that require too much time to finish during business hours and we need to leave the office with some still pending like the migration of data, backups or long running queries. In such cases, we would still want to receive an email in our smartphones to make sure that the job was completed successfully.

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Ahmad Yaseen

How to simplify SQL Server Database Object usage with Synonyms

July 20, 2017 by

The concept of SQL Server Synonyms was introduced the first time in SQL Server 2005 as an alias name that references an existing database object, replacing its fully qualified name. In this way, it makes the database object more portable and provides more flexibility for the clients to reach and maintain it. You can imagine Synonyms as a layer of abstraction that provides us with an easy way to connect to and manage the database objects without the need to identify the real name and location for these objects.

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Ben Richardson
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How to use SQL Server built-in functions and create user-defined scalar functions

July 7, 2017 by

A function is a set of SQL statements that perform a specific task. Functions foster code reusability. If you have to repeatedly write large SQL scripts to perform the same task, you can create a function that performs that task. Next time instead of rewriting the SQL, you can simply call that function. A function accepts inputs in the form of parameters and returns a value. SQL Server comes with a set of built-in functions that perform a variety of tasks.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

How to calculate work days and hours in SQL Server

June 26, 2017 by

Like any other enterprise RDBMS system, SQL Server ships with several built-in functions that make developers’ T-SQL code clean, convenient and reusable. To demonstrate the efficiency of functions, say we needed to retrieve a server name for one of our SQL Server instances. Well, one of doing this would be to write a SELECT statement that would query the system view [sys].[servers] from the master database as shown in Script 1.

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Gerald Britton

How to track SQL Server database space usage with built-in functions and DMVs

June 12, 2017 by

Introduction

In the previous article in this series on dynamic management views in SQL Server, we used DMV’s to discover some basic information about databases on an instance you are connected to, along with some ideas about getting basic file system and security info. I promised to dive into security next but first I’d like to explore a topic that is currently quite critical for the company I work for today: tracking space usage.

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Ahmad Yaseen

Compression and decompression functions in SQL Server 2016

June 2, 2017 by

The concept of data compression is not a new on for SQL Server Database Administrators , as it is was introduced the first time in SQL Server 2008. In that SQL Server version, you were able to configure the compression at the row and page levels on the table, index, indexed view or the partition. The row and page level compression is not the best choice in all cases, as it does not work well on the Binary Large Objects (BLOB) datatypes, such as the videos, images and text documents.

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Gerald Britton

Discovering database specific information using built-in functions and dynamic management views (DMVs)

May 15, 2017 by

Introduction

In the last two articles on dynamic management views in SQL Server, Discovering SQL server instance information using system views and Discovering more SQL Server information using the built-in dynamic management views (DMVs), we used DMVs to discover a fair bit of information about the SQL Server instance we’re connected to. In this article, we’ll begin diving in to database specifics. There is a lot of territory to cover! We’ll also use several of the built-in functions that come with SQL Server.

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Samir Behara
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SQL Server Code Review Checklist for Developers

April 26, 2017 by

In a software development life cycle, Code Review plays an integral role in improving the product quality. Having a Code Review Checklist is indispensable since it ensures that the best practices are followed and reviews are performed consistently. It is essential for developers to be aware of the coding guidelines while working on their code changes. Catching a bug early in the process is inexpensive and easier to resolve, than compared with a bug caught later in the game. Having all the common mistakes added to the checklist document is a great way to create awareness and ensure good code quality over a period of time.

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Jefferson Elias

From mathematics to SQL Server, a fast introduction to set theory

April 25, 2017 by

Introduction

In the previous article of this series “An introduction to set-based vs procedural programming approaches in T-SQL”, we’ve seen from a simple example that we could find actual benefit from learning set-based approach when writing T-SQL code.

In this article, we will carry on in this way by having a look at what a set is and what we can do with it in a mathematical point of view and how it’s implemented and provided to us in SQL Server. We will also have a look at more “realistic” examples using Microsoft’s AdventureWorks database.

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Sifiso W. Ndlovu

The Return of Standalone Installer for Team Explorer 2017

April 19, 2017 by

The last time I wrote an article relating to Team Explorer, I used it to express my unhappiness with Microsoft’s decision to “break from the norm” and not provide us with a standalone installer for Team Explorer 2015. Such a decision affected development teams that uses Team Explorer to store, collaborate and manage SQL Server-related solutions (i.e. T-SQL scripts, SSRS, SSAS, SSIS) into TFS source control. Well, the good news is that it looks like Microsoft has finally heeded the call of bringing back the standalone installer for Team Explorer as Visual Studio 2017 (available from release 26403.00) now contains a standalone Team Explorer 2017 installer.

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