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The Full Potential of SQL 2000

By Tony Davis,

It's Thanksgiving, and I know that a large proportion of the Database Weekly readers are enjoying a well-earned rest with family and friends, and are possibly reading his through a mist of alcohol and turkey. After the rigours of the PASS summit, I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend myself, but I leave you with this thought…

Having just returned from PASS, my head is positively buzzing with talk of cool new features to look out for in Kilimanjaro, new features that people are finding great uses for in SQL 2008, new features people wish they could use, if only they weren't Enterprise-edition only…and so on.

Most of Microsoft's efforts, it seems – at least the efforts we get to hear much about – are focussed not so much on streamlining the engine, perfecting the T-SQL language, and so on, but on bolting on an endless stream of ever-brighter bells and whistles with which to wow the audience. In Data Mining and Analysis Services, in particular, great research and investment is aimed towards allowing users to analyze, slice and dice their business data to the nth degree.

It makes sense to exploit powerful new features as they become available, and it's good to gaze into the ball, to get excited by new technological possibilities. However, it's a bit like spending holiday sampling exotic seafood and imbibing strange new cocktails. When you return, you're decidedly in the mood for a pie and a pint of beer.

To this end, I sat lazily reading Robyn Page and Phil Factor's SQL Server Matrix workbench. I never cease to be amazed by what they can do with T-SQL. This workbench, like the Excel workbench and Pivot Table workbench before it, shows how to do some extraordinarily powerful data analysis and manipulation. Now I know Phil, in particular, has a reputation as being a bit of a "wild man" of T-SQL, but the thing that struck me most of all was this: as far as I can work out, you could do it all in SQL Server 2000 – possibly even SQL Server 7.0! (I'm sure Phil will correct me if I'm wrong). The techniques require no "enterprise features" or special add-ons; just a little OLE Automation and a lot of T-SQL perseverance.

So, amid the giddy excitement that surrounds the next new SQL Server edition, and all its beguiling new features, it's interesting to sit back and ask yourself:

Have I even got close to exploiting the full potential of SQL Server 2000?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving, and cheers

Tony.

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