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The Voice of the DBA

Checking Up on Developers

This editorial was originally published on May 8, 2009. It is being re-run as Steve is on vacation.

The other day I was reading Brad McGeHee's post on duplicate indexes, and it struck a chord with me. That same issue is one I've seen many times with in house applications. Developers don't understand indexing, they create one clustered index (CI) as the PK, and then they create the same index as a nonclustered (NCI) one. Either they don't realize that the PK is an index, or they are ignorant of the differences between a CI and an NCI.

What's worse is that I see it in third party applications as well. If you're selling a product, I think you ought to know how to tune it for a database. If you don't, I'd like to see some recourse for clients. Maybe some common settlement in a lawsuit. A few of those and I bet you'd have more DBAs hired by software firms.

Or a little more training for developers.

For this Friday's poll, I wanted to pick on developers a little. I like developers, I appreciate the work they do creating some great applications I use, but I also think they make some silly database mistakes. So this week:

What are common mistakes developers make in SQL Server?

Indexing is one area, but what other things do you see a lot from developers? I'm thinking a good list of mistakes here might be a nice checklist to go over with developers as they complete an application. It could be in code reviews, QA, pre-purchase requirements, RFPs, any number of places.

I'll add one more indexing issue that I've seen often in third party applications. Too often I've seen developers create a separate index on every single field in a table. For all tables! I realize that indexes improve query performance, but it does create an issue with inserts/updates, and space. Space isn't an issue as much as it was in the past, but as data sizes get larger, I would not be surprised to see this becoming a problem in some applications. More indexes also impact backup time and size.

Give us a response this Friday of the common mistakes that you see developers making, and that you wish they'd learn to avoid.

Steve Jones

Steve Jones from SQLServerCentral.com

Join the debate, and respond to today's editorial on the forums


The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

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Today's podcast features music by Everyday Jones. No relation, but I stumbled on to them and really like the music. Support this great duo at www.everydayjones.com.

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Prevent overlapping of time events with an indexed view. More »


 

Introducing the Red Gate SSMS Ecosystem

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The Red Gate SSMS Ecosystem is a framework that makes it easy to develop, share and manage SSMS add-ins. We aim to help add-in developers build everything from homegrown solutions and community-driven projects to commercial solutions provided by partner companies. We hope that DBAs and database developers will benefit from better integrated tools. More »


 

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From the SQLServerCentral Blogs - Automated Permissions Auditing With Powershell and T-SQL: Part 5

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Question of the Day

Today's Question (by Steve Jacobs):

Given the query below, what values will not be returned when you execute the query? 

Note:  Order of results is not important for this question


CREATE TABLE #temp ( a CHAR(50) NOT NULL );
INSERT INTO #temp
        ( a
        )
        SELECT 'Jeff'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jefe'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jeffe'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jefferey'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jeffery'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Geoffery'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Steve'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Stephen'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Steven'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Stan'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Smith'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Smyth'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jon'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jane'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jacobs'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Jose'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Dinah'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Dynih'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Phone'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Fone'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Fawn'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'Faun'
DECLARE @name VARCHAR(50)
DECLARE @phonic VARCHAR(50)
DECLARE @cr CURSOR
SET 
@cr = CURSOR FOR
SELECT a,SOUNDEX(a)
 FROM #temp
OPEN @cr
FETCH NEXT FROM @cr INTO @name, @phonic
WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
    BEGIN
        IF ( SELECT COUNT(@name)
                FROM #temp
                WHERE SOUNDEX(a) IN ( @phonic )
           ) > 1
            SELECT DISTINCT @name
                FROM #temp
                WHERE SOUNDEX(a) IN ( @phonic )
        FETCH NEXT FROM @cr INTO @name, @phonic
    END
CLOSE @cr;
DEALLOCATE @cr;
DROP TABLE #temp;

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Yesterday's Question of the Day

Yesterday's Question (by Gabe Tower):

What result appears when you attemp to convert (or cast) an empty string to a datetime?

select convert(datetime, '')

Answer: 1900-01-01

Explanation:

For the purposes of casting and converting, SQL Server interprets empty strings or spaces as the number zero. Since MSDates are fractional dates since 1900-01-01, casting an empty string as a datetime equates to casting the number 0 (zero) as a datetime.

--a) The conversion of a varchar data type to a datetime data type resulted in an out of range value.
select convert(datetime, '2013-13-13')

--b) 1900-01-01
select convert(datetime, '')
select convert(datetime, 0)

--c) null
select convert(datetime, null)

--d) Conversion failed when converting date and/or time from character string.
select convert(datetime, 'taco')

These findings are summarized well in this StackOverflow article

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2518099/sql-cast-datetime


» Discuss this question and answer on the forums

Featured Script

Script Login Differences

Richard Fryar from SQLServerCentral.com

Script Login Differences

I wrote this script a couple of years ago and find it really useful, so it's about time I shared it with the rest of you!

Often you find yourself wanting to copy logins and permissions between servers. I'll use the terms principal and mirror for the rest of this description, as one of the most common uses is to keep logins in step when mirroring.

Years ago, Microsoft published a stored procedure called sp_help_revlogin to assist with this. This is useful, but it has a few drawbacks:

  • It scripts all logins on the principal, without checking if they already exist on the mirror;
  • It doesn't generate ALTER LOGIN statements;
  • It doesn't look at server role membership or server permissions;
  • It has to be installed on the principal before it can be used - some companies have rules preventing stored procedures from being added to the master database;

My script has a few advantages:

  • It compares the logins on principal and mirror and generates a script containing DROP, ALTER and CREATE statements to bring them in line;
  • It generates GRANT, REVOKE and DENY statements;
  • It keeps the passwords for SQL logins the same, unless the -KeepPwd switch is specified;
  • If the default database for a login does not exist on the mirror, or is offline, it specifies master instead;
  • It compares the SIDs in each database with the newly created logins, and corrects them if different, to prevent orphaned users;

Copy the script into a file called ScriptLoginDiffs.ps1.

From Powershell (any version) navigate to the same folder and run the following:

.\ScriptLoginDiffs.ps1 PRINCIPALSERVERNAME MIRRORSERVERNAME

If you are concerned there may be SQL logins on the mirror where the password should not be changed, use this syntax:

.\ScriptLoginDiffs.ps1 PRINCIPALSERVERNAME MIRRORSERVERNAME -KeepPwd

Don't worry, it doesn't make any changes. The output is a script that can be run against the mirror. To capture the output into a .sql file to open in SSMS, use the Tee command:

.\ScriptLoginDiffs.ps1 PRINCIPALSERVERNAME MIRRORSERVERNAME | Tee OutputFileName.sql

I hope you find this useful.

It won't work if either instance is SQL Server 2000 or earlier, and I haven't tested against databases with 80 compatibility level.

More »

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