In-Depth

The controversy is in progress

The controversy over in-process CLR and SQL Server 2005 has a surprising upshot: For programmers who are well versed in SQL Server development, Microsoft’s next-gen SQL Server probably doesn’t bring all that much to the table, at least from a coding perspective. For codejockeys who have little experience programming directly to SQL Server, or whose experience has mostly been limited to coding with ADO.NET and other bridging technologies in the middle-tier, SQL Server 2005 is nothing short of a revolutionary release.

“I think it would be safe to say that—purely from a development point of view—everything that can be done with SQL Server 2005 can [also] be done with SQL Server 2000,” says Adam Machanic, a database software engineer with a telecommunications and broadband services provider. “It’s just that SQL Server 2005 makes these tasks more accessible to developers who lack database training. So in many ways, SQL Server 2005 will empower developers. From my point of view, however, these enhancements don’t give me much. I’m already a database guy.”

Nevertheless, Machanic, who’s also a SQL Server MVP, says he’s encouraged by a few of the programmer-friendly enhancements in SQL Server 2005. “The most important development enhancements are such things as much improved error handling, TRY/CATCH syntax, and a better security model,” he says. “But the most important overall enhancements are high-availability features such as database mirroring and snapshot isolation. These features will really make a much bigger difference, in my opinion, to the robustness of SQL Server-based solutions, than will developer enhancements.”

Malcolm Leach, a programmer with Innovartis, a U.K.-based ISV that develops change management products for SQL Server, sums up the feelings of many on both sides of the divide. There’s both risk and reward in SQL Server 2005, he says, and, though folks will undoubtedly differ about the wisdom of some of Microsoft’s choices, its adoption is inevitable.

“I’m not sure introducing procedural languages into SQL 2005 is a good thing as it could possibly lead to more developers thinking in a procedural manner rather than set based, which is not a good thing,” he concludes. “But we will be using SQL 2005 anyway as it is the latest and greatest and does offer some excellent improvements” such as DDL triggers and index overpopulation, over SQL Server 2000.

Back to feature: Codejockeys Assess the Risks and Rewards of Next-gen SQL Server

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a contributing editor for Enterprise Systems. He can be reached at stephen.swoyer@spinkle.net.

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