Book: Beginning Spatial with SQL server 2008: Alastair Aitchison

I missed out on getting a copy of this book when Ed Katibah (aka Spatial Ed) was giving them out at his spatial session at a recent conference but I made a mental note to buy a copy and read it. I've finally got to do so.

This is a truly excellent book. I think the title belies the contents. I hadn't been in a hurry to read it as I thought it would just be a "beginner" level book on using spatial data in SQL Server 2008. How wrong I was. This book covers so much of what you need to know to make effective use of spatial data. It spends time on explaining spatial concepts, proceeds to describe the data types and later thoroughly covers all the methods offered by the types. But the real bonus is the in depth coverage of how to use the spatial types in a practical way. Alastair spends time covering geocoding data, building a SQLCLR-based function for geocoding, building procs to return data, building a web handler to offer spatial feeds, building mashups with both GoogleMaps and VirtualEarth using the feeds, etc.

I've been running spatial conference and training sessions all over the world and really wasn't expecting to see much new material in the book but reading the book has given me so many new ideas on how I could use the spatial types in better ways. This book is highly practical and should be on the shelf of anyone working with spatial data in SQL Server 2008.

 Highly recommended!

 

SQL Down Under show 44 – Simon Sabin – Full text indexing, learning MDX and thoughts on technical book writing

I've been slow to get shows out this year but am pleased to announce that show 44 with guest SQL Server MVP Simon Sabin is now available for download from www.sqldownunder.com.

In this show, Simon discusses full text indexing in SQL Server plus some thoughts on learning MDX and on technical book writing.

Enjoy!

Plan Caching Whitepaper for SQL Server 2008

Gail from the documentation team told me today that the Plan Caching whitepaper I've been working on for SQL Server 2008 is now available at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee343986.aspx

Thanks so much to my colleagues Andy Kelly, Itzik Ben-Gan and Eladio Rincion, and Microsoft team members Adam Prout, Campbell Fraser and Xin Zhang for tech-reviewing it.

It's an update of the whitepaper "Batch compilation, Recompilation and Plan Caching Issues in SQL Server 2005" by Arun Marathe, targeted at SQL Server 2008.

Disk Partition Alignment Best Practices for SQL Server Whitepaper

In the last rotation of the Microsoft Certified Masters for SQL Server 2008, I had the pleasure of having Jimmy May in the class. One topic we covered was on disk partition alignment and as I knew Jimmy had been working on the whitepaper, I got him to talk to the class on that topic.

The whitepaper is finally out and I note that another SQL friend Denny Lee is the co-author. You can download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=5b343389-f7c9-43d0-9892-ddcf55890529

Book: Refactoring SQL Applications – Stephane Faroult

I've had a number of people tell me over the years that they aren't surprised when I say "Recommended" at the end of any book review I write, as I never seem to say "Not Recommended". I suppose that comes under the heading of "if you can't say anything good about something, don't say anything". So, I'm going to temporarily change tack with this book.

For a long time, I've wished there were more books tackling the thorny topic of refactoring databases. Most people would consider Scott Ambler's book to be a seminal work in this area but while I loved the fact that he wrote on the topic, I found the methods he used to be way too generic for SQL Server developers and DBAs. For example, where persisted calculated columns could be used, Scott would use triggers. I'd been eagerly awaiting any other books in this area.

Breaking with another tradition where I normally only purchase books that friends and colleagues have recommended, I followed the Amazon data mining advice when it suggested another up-coming book that I might like. Refactoring SQL Applications by Stephane Faroult and Pascal L'Hermite sounded just like what I'd been looking for and I even pre-ordered it.

I really found reading this book uncomfortable. Stephane has tried to write a book that covers multiple database engines, not just SQL Server but that's again where I suspect the problem began. Even though SQL Server is discussed throughout the book, I'm guessing that Stephane is more comfortable with Oracle than with SQL Server. I found myself cringing many times while reading it. In particular, I found advice such as "indexes are more often superfluous than missing" extraordinary. Reading the logic that supported these arguments felt like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I could see where it was going; it wasn't going the right way and it was too late to stop it. What this typically involved was Stephane creating indexes that weren't good indexes for the query at hand, then deciding that because of that, that indexing itself wasn't that useful.

I'm still looking for a great book for SQL Server developers and DBAs in this area.

Not recommended for SQL Server users! (I'm not able to comment sufficiently authoritatively for Oracle users)

Book: SharePoint 2007 How-To – Ishai Sagi

If you're working with SQL Server, chances are pretty high that you already realise that your future involves SharePoint as well. 

Fellow Australian MVP Ishai Sagai recently sent me a copy of his new book SharePoint 2007 How-To.

I have to say I really enjoyed it. It does exactly what the title suggests. I haven't read any other books in the "How-To" series before but I liked the format. Ishai spends a little time with SharePoint basics and then presents a series of chapters on the main aspects of the product. In each chapter, he presents a series of things you commonly might need to do when working with the product and shows you how to accomplish each, step by step. This makes it a very practical book for those who don't spend their entire working hours with SharePoint. As a bonus, the writing style is easy to follow.

Recommended!

CodeCampSA (Adelaide) is on again this year

One of the smaller events I try to get to each year is the Code Camp that happens in Adelaide (www.codecampsa.com). It might be smaller but I always enjoy it and I'm sure that Peter Griffiths and David Gardiner will be putting on a good show again this year.

I'd love to see as many of you there as possible. It's July 18th and 19th in Adelaide. Details are at the site: www.codecampsa.com.

Only a few days left to qualify for the "Best things I learned at the PASS summit" competition

I'm really looking forward to the upcoming PASS summit in Seattle. I know it's a tough year for funds and training, etc. but (particularly for those that travel from a distance), this is likely to be the year offering the lowest cost travel options for a very, very long time. It's a tough year in the airline business too.

One of my colleagues Pinal Dave has just described why he thinks you should attend: http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2009/06/19/sql-server-why-you-should-attend-pass-summit-unite-2009-seattle/

But the other interesting part is that you can win an awesome lot of prizes, including one prize of accommodation at the summit by simply describing the best thing you have learned at a PASS summit. Bill Graziano provided a great example of this and details of the competition here: http://weblogs.sqlteam.com/billg/archive/2009/06/04/What-did-you-learn-at-PASS.aspx.

But you will have to hurry as it ends soon.