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More Than One Way to Skin a Cat


More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

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John Mitchell-245523
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Alt-X? Ctrl-E? I wasn't aware of either - I use F5!

John
majorbloodnock
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Interesting topic, Steve

In general, I agree. The best way is the way that gets the job done effectively, and the best of two equally effective ways is the one you're most comfortable with.

The more I work with SQL Server, the less I feel any kind of affilliation with it. That sounds harsh, but my DBA career started with Oracle, and it's simply a reflection that I'm finding SQL Server as just as effective within the remits I've given it. In effect, I started off biased towards Oracle, and the more I use SQL Server, the more I'm comfortable with the idea that different RDBMS's are just different tools to achieve much the same effect. Certainly, each has its strengths and weaknesses, but they're tools - no more, no less.

And that goes for areas within it, right down to minor syntactical detail (I usually use convert instead of cast).

However, I'm a little more twitchy regarding what you were saying about defaults. Back in the day (to use a fairly simple analogy), the biggest difference in security and stability between Windows NT and UNIX wasn't bad code; it was defaults. "This is a whizzy new feature, let's enable it by default." It was perfectly possible to securely lock down an NT server, just as it was perfectly possible to open up a UNIX server, but the main difference was the vendors' choices regarding defaults.

Right now, Microsoft is older and wiser, as is the UNIX/Linux community. MS products are more secure than they used to be, and UNIX/Linux products are more user-friendly. However, I'm still not sure that any particular default setting is set by the manufacturer for a good, random or expedient reason, and that goes for ANY software, not just OS's, RDBMS's, whatever. Unfortunately, nor do I have any good suggestion as to how to improve things.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
IceDread
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I agree. I've been partly a DBA amongst with several other tasks and I like to know what I can do and what is best and it takes a lot of time to read throu everything and get a good understanding about it all since I compleated my studies 1 year ago and have been in the bussines in 2 days for exactly 1 year. Better best practices and more info would be sweet where experiences are listed etc on when to use what etc. Good topic to talk about from my point of view!
Steve Jones
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Major,

I tend to agree with you on defaults. I think that most of the time they're just set to something without a lot of thought about what makes the most sense.

That's where I think MS should improve. Make a conscious decision that makes sense most of the time. Not all the time, but for the inexperienced or non-DBAs, set things in the way that is more secure and provides a good general setting.

Then give guidance on which way things ought to be. Presumably there are people talking to DBAs, customers, etc. about issues, what works, what doesn't , and they can make some good guesses about what works 80% of the time.

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majorbloodnock
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Steve Jones - Editor (2/13/2008)
Major,

I tend to agree with you on defaults. I think that most of the time they're just set to something without a lot of thought about what makes the most sense.

That's where I think MS should improve. Make a conscious decision that makes sense most of the time. Not all the time, but for the inexperienced or non-DBAs, set things in the way that is more secure and provides a good general setting.

Then give guidance on which way things ought to be. Presumably there are people talking to DBAs, customers, etc. about issues, what works, what doesn't , and they can make some good guesses about what works 80% of the time.


True. Unfortunately, there also hangs the problem. Should MS use a default that is potentially insecure but is what 80% of experienced DBAs use (good marketing), or a default that is secure, but will probably be altered (good administration)? Damned if they do, damned if they don't, hence why I admit to not having a silver bullet answer.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
Phil Factor
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I used all the nice keyboard shortcuts in Query analyser, and then they went and changed them for SSMS.

The father of a friend of mine was a taxidermist, (hobby- there aren't many professionals left in Britain) and so my first question to him was 'How many ways actually are there of skinning a cat?' He said that there was only one sensible way of doing it. Not a lot of people know this. Actually, although I'm a great cat enthusiast, there is a worrying plague of feral cats in Australia. It has caused the extinction of some species on islands and is thought to have contributed to the disappearance of many ground-dwelling birds and mammals on the mainland. There is quite a trade in Cat-Hats, I'm told, so maybe one of our Aussie friends can elucidate. (the phrase '... skin a cat' goes back to the 17th century)

It is surprising how much duplication there is in SQL Server in the whole area of WMI, Performance monitoring, DDL Triggers, DMV, alerts notifications and so on. This huge 'richness' in tokens, counters, variables and so on must add immensely to the task of testing. I dream of being invited to be a member of a sort of assassination squad within Microsoft that is dedicated to removing all the old discarded and under-used lumber from SQL Server, to slim the product to the minimum necessary. I'd nominate TEXT variables for the Death Squad. As I'm having quite a struggle with WMI Alerts at the moment, I might just give that the last cigarette and line it up against the wall.

Get rid of all the overhead that sucks in all the test effort and we might have more releases on time.


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
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Miles Neale
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Having more then a few ways to do something allows folks to do it the way they are most comfortable, using a button, mouse or key combinations fit some minds better then other ways. Hey! Someday we will just say it. How cool is that.

Haveing many ways to do the same thing also allows many to argue which was is the best. So there is something for everyone here.

Have a great day...

Miles...

Not all gray hairs are Dinosaurs!
Luc Magnée
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I think that one area of improvement that could really help with many of the possible choices for completing a task is to have some strong guidance from Microsoft (based on customer pilot testing and the reasons for implementing a feature) that would explain what the defaults should be. And would have those defaults set up as the default choices or actions for the product.


I couldn't agree more...having all those solutions to solve a problem (but mostly you can't even know if it helps solving exactly the kind of problem you're facing) is very nice. Should we get some "why" added to the "how" would make our lives a lot easier Smile

Luc

Luc Magnée
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ChrisMoix-87856
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I agree, the variety of solutions to any particular problem is nice.

A downside with choices is when you have to explain all of those choices. For Example:

Dev - How can I accomplish X?
DBA - You can use solution A, B, or C.
Dev - How does A work?
.....
DEV - But what about D?
....
DBA - Get out of my cube, I have work to do! Smile



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