27 January 2016

SQL Server System Views: The Basics

When maintaining or refactoring an unfamiliar database, you'll need a fast way to uncover all sorts of facts about the database, its tables, columns keys and indexes. SQL Server's plethora of system catalog views, INFORMATION_SCHEMA views, and dynamic management views contain all the metadata you need, but it isn't always obvious which views are best to use for which sort of information. Many of us could do with a simple explanation, and who better to provide one than Rob Sheldon?… Read more
15 December 2015

JSON support in SQL Server 2016

At last, SQL Server has caught up with other RDBMSs by providing a useful measure of JSON-support. It is a useful start, even though it is nothing like as comprehensive as the existing XML support. For many applications, what is provided will be sufficient. Robert Sheldon describes what is there and what isn't.… Read more
30 September 2015

Introducing SQL Server In-Memory OLTP

In-Memory OLTP, aka Hekaton, originally shipped with 2014, and although it certainly helped the performance of certain types of workload, it then had certain restrictions that impeded its widespread adoption.With SQL Server 2016, there is more support for In-Memory OLTP and a more seamless integration with SQL Server's Database Engine. It is time to consider whether In-Memory OLTP can help those pinch-points in your data throughput, explains Artemakis Artemiou.… Read more
22 September 2014

Improving the Quality of SQL Server Database Connections in the Cloud

To access SQL Server from the client, you use TDS protocol over TCP. This is fine over reliable LANs but over the internet these connections are relatively slow and fragile, TDS is still used to connect to databases in the cloud, but you need to use a combination of the new features such as connection pools and idle connection resiliency to make applications faster and more reliable. … Read more
22 April 2014

SQL Server XML Questions You Were Too Shy To Ask

Sometimes, XML seems a bewildering convention that offers solutions to problems that the average database user doesn't have. To make things worse, XML experts generally lack the wherewithal to provide simple answers to even the simplest questions. Rob Sheldon, in contrast, can answer even those questions we somehow feel silly asking in public, and think twice about doing so.… Read more
24 March 2014

High Performance Relational Division in SQL Server

Relational division is used in SQL to select rows that conform to a number of different criteria. It is a neglected but effective technique for a number of tasks. Although the SQL can appear daunting and complex, it can perform very well if you reduce the rows as much as possible before applying the final logic. Dwain Camps explains how, and shows the performance gains.… Read more
12 February 2014

SQL Server Indexed Views: The Basics

Views are a valuable tool for the SQL Server Developer, because they hide complexity and allow for a readable style of SQL expression. They aren't there for reasons of performance, and so indexed views are designed to remedy this shortcoming. They're great in certain circumstances but they represent a trade-off, and they come with considerable 'small print'. Jes Borland explains.… Read more
06 February 2014

SQL Server SEQUENCE Basics

The SEQUENCE statement introduced in SQL Server 2012 brings the ANSI SQL 2003 standard method of generating IDs. This is a great relief to database professionals as it solves some problems what are awkward to solve with the IDENTITY property. Joe Celko explains the basics of using a SEQUENCE… Read more
02 December 2013

Primary Key Primer for SQL Server

Every database developer uses keys, but without always understanding all the ramifications. They come with few hard and fast rules, but if you get them right from the start with a database design, the whole process of database development is simpler, and the result is likely to perform better. We asked Phil for advice, little knowing that the explanation might take a while.… Read more
08 January 2013

Statistics in SQL Server

SQL Server's Query Optimiser relies on statistics for providing a decent query plan. If the statistics are wrong, outdated or missing then you have little realistic hope of having queries that perform well. It is therefore important to appreciate how SQL Server maintains distribution statistics.</… Read more
10 May 2012


SQL Views are essential for the database developer. However, it is common to see them misued, or neglected. Joe Celko tackles an introduction to the subject, but there is something about the topic that makes it likely that even the experienced developer will find out something new from reading it.… Read more
08 December 2011

The XML Methods in SQL Server

The XML Data type has definite uses, but the way of interrogating, retrieving, and manipulating the values of properties and attributes within XML have been so foreign to the SQL language as to be somewhat of a barrier to their use. Fortunately, Robert Sheldon has once more managed to make the subject accessible to those of us who just need to get the job done.… Read more

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