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The Voice of the DBA

The Control Poll

This editorial was originally published on May 17, 2013. It is being re-run as Steve is out of the office.

I was reading about version control systems (VCS) recently, brushing up on some skills, and saw this quote in a thread:

"There is no excuse for not using version control, even for a small project developed by single developer. Setting up local version control is beyond trivial, benefits huge. Any developer not knowing that cannot be considered good nor experienced."

That's quite a pronouncement, and one that I believe is very true. No matter what type of development you engage in, I'd expect that you'd understand the benefits of using version control, and the dangers of not using it. It's just like never backing up your system. I'd think that any developer that cares about their craft and is a professional has used version control. The really good ones will insist upon it.

However I know that the decision to use a VCS is not always made by a developer. The company building the software might feel differently, and while I've always asked for a VCS, I have ended up with a series of folders on a share, named for dates, each containing a zip file of all our code at the end of that day. It was the bare minimum of version control I could live with, and fortunately we got by with just two people coordinating work. Any more than that and I'd insist on some type of VCS.

This week, I wanted to ask how many of you voluntarily or involuntarily might be forced to do something similar. 

How many of you skip source control for certain apps?

Even if you have source control for those large, multi-person teams, are there apps that you avoid putting into a VCS? What about your database code? I think it's important that you keep all your code, whether for the front end application or database objects, in some type of Version Control system. If your boss won't buy one, then check out Git or Subversion, both of which are open source and free.

Let us know this week how you feel about source control and whether or not you decide the effort isn't worthwhile for your projects.

Steve Jones from SQLServerCentral.com

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

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Question of the Day

Today's Question (by Henrico Bekker):

When querying a CostmosDB through the DocumentDB API, to return only properties where the property exists and indicating if the property has been assigned a value, which syntax must preceed the property test/check in the WHERE clause?

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This question is worth 1 point in this category: CosmosDB.

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Yesterday's Question of the Day

Yesterday's Question (by Uwe Ricken):

Business Case

The development team has heard from the brand new feature of System Versioned Temporal Tables in SQL Server 2016 has implemented it on the table [dbo].[Employees]. The application is using different access patterns to modify the data in this table. There are direct statements coming from the application or the application is firing long running stored procedures which make several changes to multiple tables. The update on the [dbo].[Employees] table is the last statement in the procedure! Sometimes it happens that the stored procedures fail and will rollback all changes.

Test environment

The demo table with activated System Versioned Temporal Tables is implemented with the following code (simplyfied for QotD!):

Table definition

CREATE TABLE dbo.Employees
 EMailAddress VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL ,

 (HISTORY_TABLE = dbo.EmployeesHistory)

ALTER TABLE dbo.Employees

ALTER TABLE dbo.Employees
    DEFAULT ( '99991231 23:59:59' ) FOR ValidTo;

Content of Stored Procedure

The workflow of the Stored procedure is extrem simplyfied. Please note the begin transaction at the beginning of the code. The WAITFOR is a placeholder for long running queries within the transaction. The last statement will be the update of the employee!


-- copy this code into a new windows and execute it!
 RAISERROR (N'Now follows a very long running query/batch...', 0, 1) WITH NOWAIT;
 WAITFOR DELAY '00:00:30';

 UPDATE dbo.Employees
 SET EMailAddress =  'name@domain.com'
 WHERE ID = 1;

Content of adhoc query from application

The following statement is coming from the application (simplyfied!).


 UPDATE dbo.Employees
 SET  EMailAddress =  'name@domain.com'
 WHERE ID = 1;



The users of the application occasionally see a break in the application and an error occurs with the following message:
"Msg 13535, Level 16, State 0, Line 14
Data modification failed on system-versioned table 'dbo.Employees' because transaction time was earlier than period start time for affected records.

What is going on here?

Answer: It is a standard behavior of System Versioned Temporal Tables and the error need to be handled in an execption routine


The correct answer is no. 5! "It is a standard behavior of System Versioned Temporal Tables and the error need to be handled in an execption routine"


Answer 1

is nonsence because System Versioned Temporal Tables is a feature which has been implemented with SQL 2016. Earlier versions cannot implement it.

Answer 2

The latest SP of SQL Server came with a big improvement for Standard Edition. System Version Temporal Tables is a feature which is available in ALL editions of SQL Server 2016 from the very beginning.

Answer 3

It is not a bug although a few fellows have mentioned it as such. The error statement is clear pointing to the root cause of the problem.

Answer 4

Why should the application avoid adhoc statements? The problem is not the adhoc statement but the chronology of the beginning of the transactions. An adhoc statement is an implicit transaction which follows the same rules than explicit transactions (as in the demo!)

Answer 5

The only correct answer is 5 because the "problem" is a standard functionality of System Versioned Temporal Tables under ANSI 2011.

Microsoft SQL Server need to have a valid and stable time stamp for the time, when the original record will become invalid. That "could" be the time when the DML-operation starts but Microsoft SQL Server is always referring to the time when the transaction starts!

When T1 starts, it has a time stamp which is before the time stamp of T2. When T2 steps into the process it is a later time stamp and there is - at that time - no X-lock on the resource. So T2 can change the record and set the ValidFrom to the beginning time of T2.

When T1 comes to the update it wants to update the ValidFrom to the earlier timestamp and this operation fails.

The only chance to cover this is a redesign of the stored procedure and implementation of a BEGIN TRY CATCH Block.

» Discuss this question and answer on the forums

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