DBAs Bar Door Against Big Bad .Net Wolf

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-08-29 Print this article Print

The problem is T-SQL, a proprietary language that SQL Server DBAs know well but that's foreign to most .Net developers.

Microsoft has been mercilessly tightening the screws between SQL Server and stack components BizTalk Server and Visual Studio—a tighter integration thats making developers gleeful and causing DBAs to cringe.

"If youre a developer, this makes [you] very happy. It has [database administrators] pretty concerned," said Kevin Kline, SQL Server MVP, director of technology for SQL Server Solutions at Quest Software and president of PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server). "You can have code running on SQL Server and you get a bug and you dont know how to code and debug it."

At the heart of the problem is T-SQL, a proprietary stored procedure language that SQL Server DBAs know like the back of their hands but that might as well be Greek to most .Net developers.

With an integration gleam in its eye, Microsoft Corp. has set its sights on demolishing the wall between those two groups. In SQL Server 2005—due to ship in early November—for the first time, the companys CLR (Common Language Runtime) will be integrated into the heart of the database.

That means that instead of being constrained to T-SQL, developers will be able to program to the data tier based on the language that theyre most familiar with, such as Visual Basic or C#, to create applications for the database.

Microsoft still intends to support and innovate around the T-SQL language that developers use to build applications for SQL Server, but developers will be able to use the often faster and less code-intensive SQL CLR.

Its easy to see why developers are so happy. CLR is a powerful tool with significant advantage over T-SQL in a few areas, according to Rick Dobson, an author, trainer and Webmaster for ProgrammingMSAccess.com.

Its a compiled language, as opposed to an interpreted one, as is T-SQL, Dobson pointed out. Also, CLR is powerful for computation-intensive tasks, such as string computation, he said.

Click here to read about how the unification of the SQL Server database engine with the CLR environment could evolve to offer developers a powerful model for data manipulation.

For his part, Anders Hejlsberg, a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer and the man known as the father of C#, is planning to tackle the integration question at Microsofts upcoming Professional Developers Conference, according to Microsofts posted abstracts.

Among other things, Hejlsberg plans to talk about new language features in C# 3.0, including anonymous types that make it possible to create powerful APIs for expressing queries and interacting with objects, XML and databases in a strongly typed, natural way. Next Page: Mismatch between programming languages and the database world?

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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