SQL Server 2008 CTP Slips, but Key Features Promised

Although Microsoft had hoped to release a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of its newest database server every 60 days, the latest test release will slip, company officials acknowledged this week.

Microsoft last released a CTP of SQL Server 2008, codenamed "Katmai," at the end of July (click here to read more), meaning it was targeting a new release by the end of this month. It now appears that the next CTP will be available in late October or potentially early November.

That was the assessment of several Microsoft officials attending this week’s Professional Association for SQL Server 2007 Summit in Denver, and VSLive! regional conference in New York (the latter gathering was produced by the Redmond Media Group, which publishes Redmond Developer News).

Kim Colley, a SQL Server product manager for Microsoft, confirmed that the CTP release will slip into October.

"It is a little longer but the upcoming CTP is really meaty," Colley said. "They wanted to get those pieces finished, to make sure they made it into the CTP and, frankly, the testing took a little longer."

One widely anticipated feature is support for geospatial data.

"We are implementing that as we speak," said Rob Reinauer, product unit manager for Microsoft’s SQL Server engine, in a VSLive keynote address Tuesday. "This obviously is an emerging space but we think it's huge from a forward-looking value proposition."

Another capability that's expected to make it into the next CTP is support for T-SQL and Intellisense, a feature that was targeted for SQL Server 2005, code-named "Yukon," but was removed.

"It wasn’t performing where it needed to be," said Dan Jones, lead program manager for the SQL Server manageability team, speaking in a VSLive session discussing the new release. "We weren’t covering as much of the language as we wanted to cover, maybe 50 percent. We weren’t covering the amount of language syntax that we wanted, so it got yanked."

With the performance and syntax issues resolved, Jones was quite emphatic that the T-SQL and Intellisense features would show up in the next CTP.

"This thing is going to be in there," Jones told attendees. "You can hunt me down if it gets cut."

In Denver at the PASS Summit, word that Intellisense would find its way into the next CTP also was well received. Ironically, a demonstration of the Intellisense capability was removed from the content of the keynote address by Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s data storage and platform division, due to time constraints. However the feature was demonstrated during a breakout session, said Wayne Snyder, a managing consultant at Mariner, a Charlotte, N.C. provider of data integration software and a member of the PASS executive committee.

To demonstrate the capability, the presenter deleted a T-SQL table, and then started retyping the data to invoke the Intellisense feature.

"People were going crazy," Snyder said. "It’s about time, especially with some of these dynamic view table names -- who can remember all of that?"

Are you testing SQL Server 2008, code-named Katmai? If so drop me a line at [email protected].

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of and news editor of Visual Studio Magazine.