SQL Server 2008 ships

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 The other day during the Tech-Ed South Africa 2008 closing keynote it was announced that SQL Server 2008, formerly code-named Katmai, had gone gold and would release onto MSDN the same day. This is awesome news and the team has worked hard on this release.

The most important new features in my opinion are:

  • Spatial support in the form of the new GEOMETRY and GEOGRAPHIC data types with support for the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards.
  • New support for storing date and times, namely the DATE, TIME, DATETIME2 and DATETIMEOFFSET data types.
  • Sparse columns that reduce the overhead of NULL data on the disk.
  • Page compression to reduce the I/O costs of storing and retrieving data at the slight cost of processor performance.
  • Filtered indexes to provide optimised query plans for commonly used and under-performing queries.
  • Change Data Capture (CDC) to record changes in data across tables, seamlessly.
  • Intellisense in the SQL query editor when working against SQL Server 2008. Hopefully support for older versions is added soon.

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You can see all the new features over here and the download is currently available on MSDN and TechNet.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be testing the new features and I’ll post my findings as I go. I’m eagerly waiting for Map Server for Windows to add support for SQL Server 2008 as I’m sure it will kick the collective butt of PostgreSQL and PostGIS.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 out now

Internet Explorer 8 Beta logo Just announced at MIX’08, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 is available for download after the keynote completes. It looks like they’ve added some very cool new features with sites like Ebay and Facebook already taking advantage of them. I kinda like the idea of having my friend’s status updates available on my toolbar at the click of a button, apparently this is called a WebSlice. See the list of new features here.

One of the cool new features is finally the standard compliant rendering with a button to enable IE7-like emulation for older sites. HTML5 and CSS3 are all included. Oh and the speed is apparently greatly improved.

[tags]Internet Explorer 8[/tags]

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 CTP, February 2008

The latest and greatest CTP of SQL Server 2008 (code-named Katmai) is now available for download and testing. This is commonly referred to as CTP6 and is the first update since CTP5 in November 2007. You can download the CTP6 bits over here.

To find out what is new and changed in SQL Server 2008 I suggest you take a look at the February 2008 version of Books Online (BOL). I’m really keen to try out the new DATETIME2, DATETIMEOFFSET, DATE, TIME, GEOGRAPHY, GEOMETRY and VARBINARY(MAX) FILESTREAM data types. Not to mention the ability to pass tables as parameters to stored procedures and the addition of Virtual Earth support directly in the database. This isn’t to be confused with the new spatial data types and spatial index support though.

Remember that CTPs should preferably be installed on test machines or virtual machines. If however you want to use it with Visual Studio there are updates necessary for both Visual Studio 2005 Support for SQL Server 2008 CTP and Visual Studio 2008 Support for SQL Server 2008 CTP.

[tags]SQL Server 2008,Katmai,CTP[/tags]

Nasty critters must die

Sometimes Windows can be a complete pain, well Windows XP specifically. Today my colleague presented me with an spy-ware issue on his PC that he needed help with removing. After trying the usual tools like HijackThis it became clear that this little critter wasn’t going to be going away that easily.

I believe there were actually two on his machine stored as C:\WINDOWS\system32\jkkjjge.dll and C:\WINDOWS\system32\ddcyx.dll. According to HijackThis both were loaded into Internet Explorer as Browser Helper Objects (BHO) and the first one was being loaded under winlogon.exe as well. Trying to fix them with HijackThis didn’t work as they were monitoring the registry and simply replaced the keys as they were deleted. As the one was loaded under winlogon.exe it wasn’t a case of just killing the winlogon.exe process as its a critical system process. Trying to get Windows to delete the files on reboot didn’t work either.

That is where my new favourite utility came in. Its called IceSword and its really powerful. It allows you to search the running processes for loaded modules loaded and then to attempt to unload the module from the process. In this case the winlogon.exe process resulted in an automated system shudown which was quickly aborted with shutdown -a on the command prompt. I then noticed that the ddcyx.dll module was loaded by lsass.exe process so I killed that as well. IceSword also allowed me to forcibly delete the files off disk. A reboot and a cleanup using HijackThis resulted in a clean machine once again.

[tags]spy-ware,virus,utility,windows,IceSword,HijackThis[/tags]

Visual Studio 2008 released

Yeah its official, Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 was officially released today. You can read Somasegar’s announcement post over here. If you have been chomping on the bit waiting for the release then head on over and download 90-day trial editions, the Express editions and the full ISOs which are available to MSDN Subscribers from here.

Congratulations to the Visual Studio and .NET Framework teams, they have certainly delivered great product this time around.

[tags]Visual Studio 2008,Orcas[/tags]

SQL Server 2008 November CTP

Its about time that the long awaited CTP5 of SQL Server 2008 (code-named Katmai) was released. I’ve been seeing blog posts about MVP only builds for the last couple of days and now finally I got an e-mail notification of the November CTP that is available to download from here.

I can’t wait for my download to complete so that I can try out the new GEOMETRY and GEOGRAPHIC data types.

[tags]Katmai,CTP,SQL Server[/tags]

Juval Lowy to present WCF for the South African community

Juval Lowy Thanks to Dariel Solutions who are bringing Juval Lowy out to South Africa to present a 5-day master class. Juval is recognised by Microsoft as a Software Legend and one of the world’s top .NET experts. For those that are not so lucky to be able to make it to the 5-day course will be pleased to hear that Juval will be giving a free presentation to the SA Developer .NET community on the evening of the 29th of November as well. His talk is titled “Demonstrating Windows Communication Foundation – Beyond the Endpoints, An evening with Juval Lowy”. Make sure you book your seat early as I’m sure this event is likely to be very popular.

[tags]Juval Lowy,WCF,South Africa,SA Developer .NET,Dariel Solutions,event[/tags]

Net60 Beta 1 released

Red Five Labs logo Local mobile innovation company, Red Five Labs, has today released a beta 1 build of their of implementation of the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 which runs on Symbian S60 3rd edition devices like the Nokia N95 series of mobile phones. This is an important product for enterprise developers that would like to deploy on both Windows Mobile and Symbian mobile devices. The official press release follows.

Johannesburg, South Africa, November 14th, 2007 – Red Five Labs, a leading mobile technology company, releases Net60 (beta 1) for immediate download. Net60 is a ground breaking implementation of the .NET Compact Framework running on S60 3rd edition devices.

Net60 enables managed Windows Mobile applications to run unchanged on S60 devices. Using C# and Visual Basic .NET in Visual Studio, developers can now use the .NET Compact Framework environment to build applications for Symbian devices.

Symbian developers can now also write applications for S60 and benefit from the RAD capabilities which .NET development offers.

This beta release is intended for System Integrators and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who are interested in exploring the possibilities of Net60 ahead of the commercial release later this year. User feedback is highly encouraged.

For download instructions and an application to join the beta program, please visit the download beta page at http://www.redfivelabs.com/content/download.aspx

Applications will be approved as efficiently as possible by the team at Red Five Labs so that beta testers are able to gain rapid access to the download. Managed support is provided by an integrated support ticket system and public forums.

Any questions  regarding the sign-up of the beta can be directed to support@redfivelabs.com

[tags].NET Compact Framework,Red Five Labs,Symbian[/tags]

Windows Live Tools CTP

Windows Live Tools logo Angus Logan, Senior Technical Product Manager for Windows Live, just announced on his blog the first CTP for a cool set of add-ins for Visual Studio 2008 (formerly code-named Orcas) for getting started with Windows Live in your own applications.
Windows Live™ Tools for Microsoft® Visual Studio® are a set of control add-ins to make incorporating Windows Live services into your Web application easier with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer 2008.

Download the Community Technical Preview of  Windows Live Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio Now

The four controls included in this CTP release are:

  • Contacts Control
  • IDLogin Control
  • IDLoginView Control
  • SilverlightStreamingMedia Control

Update: Check this page out for more information.

[tags]Windows Live,Visual Studio 2008[/tags]

Silverlight Streaming plug-in for Expression Encoder

For those of you that were at Tech-Ed or at his SA Developer talk, Angus Logan demonstrated publishing Silverlight content directly into the Silverlight Streaming service cloud from inside Microsoft Expression Encoder. He has just announced that a new preview version of the plug-in is available for download along with an introduction video on how to get started.

So why not take advantage of the 4GB of free storage and the worldwide content delivery network provided by the Silverlight Streaming by Windows Live. There is even a cool plug-in for Windows Live Writer to make publishing of Silverlight videos a piece of cake in blog posts. The best part is that because the video is hosted in the cloud, you won’t be running out of hosting bandwidth anytime soon.

I suggest following his blog post for instructions and download links.

[tags]Silverlight,Expression Encoder[/tags]