RTFM365 Week 0

Jen McCown, 2010-12-03

For the next year, I will read from SQL Server Books Online a little every day, and blog about it weekly.  See my RTFM365 post for the full details on this project, and follow along with the series via the RTFM365 tag.

Reading this week was in SQL Server 2008 Books Online. Please note: I’m exploring BOL and learning a little each day; I’m not here to read it to you or review it.


Day 1: SSMS Shortcuts

Good for: Making your life way easier in SSMS. 

Recommended for: Everyone.

I started off easy on 12/1 with “SQL Server Management Studio Keyboard Shortcuts“.  A couple of my more favorite new shortcuts:

  • SHIFT+F10   – Display the context menu (meaning the right-click menu).
  • CTRL+SHIFT+N – New project.
  • SHIFT+ESC – Close the current tool window (ideal for when I hit F4 instead of F5)
  • CTRL+F5 – Parse the selected portion of the query editor or the entire query editor if nothing is selected
  • F6 – Toggle between query and results pane
  • CTRL+Space – (Intellisense) List members
  • Everything but F1 in “Help and Books Online Keyboard Shortcuts”

I should note that I religiously use all the Cursor Movement Keyboard Shortcuts, but even I learned a thing or two from Text Selection Keyboard Shortcuts.

While trying out “CRTL+\, CTRL+E” to get the error window, I though it was either/or…so I pressed CTRL+\ and waited.  The SSMS status bar says “Waiting for second key of chord.”  That just tickles my fancy…

A mystery: Under the section “Text Manipulation in Code Editor Keyboard Shortcuts” we have CTRL+T, which is supposed to “Swap the characters on either side of the cursor (Does not apply to the SQL Editor.)I can’t find anywhere within SSMS that does anything whatsoever in response to CTRL+T.  Can anyone shed light on this? (Note that CTRL+SHIFT+T swaps words, and it does work in the query window.)

I’ll stop…but I need to make you a SSMS shortcut cheatsheet of all my new and old favorites.  Not using shortcuts in Windows is the equivalent of hunt-and-peck typing on any computer.

Day 2: BOL Overview

Good for: Getting an overall view of SQL Server components.

Recommended for: Newbies.

When you open BOL and click the top node “SQL Server 2008 Books Online“, you get a drop down of 8 top-level topics and two…well, we’ll call them Appendixes – SQL Server Tutorials, and Glossary.  Today, let’s get a 50,000 ft view of BOL and glance at these top levels. (I’ll pick something nitty-gritty tomorrow, to make up for it).

There’s no top level content in Getting Started, so we move on.  In Database Engine, there’s a cool graphic that maps out the SQL services and how they relate to one another (near as I can tell, I’m not allowed to post a screenshot of it). This is a good image to use when explaining the different parts of SQL Server, especially to a n00b. Content is just a short, inclusive definition of the DB engine (with a touch of marketing thrown in).

Note: I’m already experiencing  the Wikipedia Effect – one clickthrough to another, to another, and another…gotta stay on track. Or, do I? I somehow got down to “How to: Create XML Input Files” [to tune workloads] before surfacing…

I’m trying not to get sucked into the Analysis Services – Multidimensional Data and Data Mining subsections, but I’ve never been on the SSAS side of the product, so it’s hard to hold down my curiosity. I’ll read more SSAS tomorrow.  Integration Services is in the middle of the graphic – it ties the DB engine, SSAS, and SSRS together. (I tried to make a Force joke, but couldn’t get it to work. Roll your own here.)

Also: Replication, Reporting Services, Service Broker.

Day 3: SSAS Multidimensional Data (drilldown and tutorial)

Good for: Introduction to SSAS.

Recommended for: Analysis Services newbies.

I haven’t worked much with SSAS before, so I want to finally get an overview of what some of these terms mean.  Reading down the tree: Analysis Services – Multidimensional Data > Getting Started > Overview > Analysis Services in Business Intelligence Development Studio. Notes:

  • Develop cubes in BIDS, data mine in SSMS.
  • Project items available in BIDS solution explorer: data sources, data source views, cubes, etc.

Now on to the SQL Server Analysis Services Tutorial: “This tutorial describes how to use [BIDS] to develop and deploy an Analysis Services project.”  I can’t run through all 10 lessons today, but I walk through a little. I like how these are layed (lain?) out – lessons are broken down into tasks, each one with a link to the next.

What this makes me want to read: Designing Cubes (and Cube Designer), Designing Dimensions (and Dimension Designer), and Data Mining Designer.

It’s getting late, and this post is getting long (must remember to be concise next week), so I’ll publish and then finish up the tutorial.

Happy days,

Jen McCown






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