Microsoft Turns On SQL Server Notification Services

Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 Notification Services will generate personalized notifications to a range of devices.

REDMOND, Wash.--Microsoft Corp. this week released a new feature for its SQL Server 2000 database that can generate personalized notifications to a range of devices, including mobile devices.

SQL Server 2000 Notification Services, in beta since April and now available for free download, is an application platform built on top of SQL Server that can match user preferences and subscriptions with events and incoming data to generate personalized notifications ready for delivery in such formats and devices as mobile phones, SMS (Short Messaging Service) aggregators, e﷓mail and instant messaging.

"There are two things we can no longer assume--that people are sitting in front of a desk and that they have time to go find the information they need," said Mitch Gatchalian, a product manager for SQL Server, during briefings here with eWEEK.

Enterprises can capture user preferences and subscriptions on the Web through an Active Server Page. Notification Services uses that information to match subscriptions against incoming data to SQL Server.

The programming framework for Notification Services is based on SQL and XML. The SQL-based programming framework in particular helps provide the ability to scale the application to support millions of users, Microsoft officials said. Notification Services allows a notification application to be developed in a few days rather than through a lengthy development project, officials said. Developers can build applications using Microsoft programming languages such as C#, Visual Basic .Net and Visual C# .Net.

Microsoft announced a range of customers using Notification Services, including the NASDAQs site and the New York Times Co.s will allow subscribers to receive personalized notifications about changes in financial data. is allowing subscribers to receive new real estate listings in the East Coast market. Renters or buyers specify the attributes they are looking for in properties and can receive notifications whenever a property matching the criteria is listed in The New York Times real estate classified ads.

Notification Services itself does not handle the delivery of messages, Gatchalian said. Instead it hands off delivery to whatever mechanism an enterprise is using, such as Microsoft .Net Alerts, Microsoft Exchange or third-party services.

One of Microsofts partners on Notification Services is MobileSys Inc. On Monday, the Mountain View, Calif., company released the MobileSys Network Delivery Channel, a free download that adds wireless connectivity to solutions developed with Notification Services. It provides access to the MobileSys Network, from which enterprises can deliver the notification messages to virtually any wireless device, MobileSys officials said.

Microsofts MSN online service served as the genesis of Notification Services. MSN wanted to find a better way to send out alerts to which users subscribed. Use of Notification Services helped MSN move its mobile messaging service from 20 servers to two four-processor machines, Gatchalian said.

More information on Notifications Services, as well as the download, is available at

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