An interview with Richard Hundhausen
by Douglas Reilly
Richard answered the following questions via email.
Doug:Tell me how you got involved in database-related work. Was it a natural fit or an accident of convenience?
Richard:It was a natural fit. I started writing professional code on the PC in Turbo Pascal 3.0. Back then, the only place you could save your information was in text files or files with a structure you created yourself. When I first saw dBase 2, I fell in love! Is this being recorded? :-)
Doug:What do you think about using VB.NET or C# for stored procedures, functions and triggers?
Richard:I think it can be abused if we let it. Of all the justifications I’ve seen and heard for using CLR in the database, I say use it when you can leverage the framework to do something that you can’t do, or is very hard to do in T-SQL. The complexity and skill set debates are too subjective, and will result in runaway architectures, because some .NET developers will see this as an opportunity to dispose of the middle tier.
Doug:What are the changes in ADO.NET 2.0 that you most look forward to using in production code?
Richard:I love the deep support for asynchronous execution. They made it easy, too. If you have a long-running stored procedure or script, call it asynchronously and let the user or service do something else in the meantime. Binary serialization of datasets, batch-mode updates on DataAdapters, and more autonomy for DataTables are cool too.
I think MARS is being over-hyped, because it’s something that worked in classic ADO, and then broke in ADO.NET 1.X. It may not have been as efficient back then as it is in ADO.NET 2.0, but let’s not make a marketing event out of a feature that is essentially a fix.
Doug:The client tools for SQL Server 2005, while still in beta, are a huge change from previous client tools. Is there anything that developers will find particularly cool in the new tools?
Richard:The integrated toolset of SQL Server Management Studio is great—there’s no more bouncing back and forth between Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer. From a coding perspective, the ability to generate script from any dialog is important, which is being handled by SQL Management Objects (SMO) behind the scenes.
Industry will be building SMO clients for a long time to come. The first SMO application that the community should build is a service manager replacement. I miss my little green arrow in the system tray!
Doug:I do some mobile development work. Has any of your work involved SQL Server 2005 Mobile, formerly SQL Server CE?
Richard:Not nearly enough. And what work I have done, I was able to get away with serializing DataSets to disk as XML instead of using proper databases.
Doug:You have written a few books. What do you enjoy about the book writing process? What part of it makes you crazy?
Richard:Whether it’s good or bad, I like to write conversationally. I’ve been a trainer for about 15 years now, and I’ve become good at explaining technical and abstract concepts to people. Writing books isn’t much different. I’m not formally trained, so things like templates, voice and deadlines drive me nuts. That’s what editors are for, though, to remind you of those details!
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