• T-SQL Tuesday #005 – Visual Studio 2010 Released

    6.30am – Woke up

    6.40am – Ate breakfast with kids

    6.50am – Logged in to MSDN and started downloading the release version of Visual Studio 2010!

    Not a bad way to start the day :-)

    However, to make this post eligible for the SQL Tuesday series it’s worth mentioning that amongst other things, one of the new components released today is Microsoft Report Viewer 2010.

    Brian Hartman has blogged about some of the new features in the Report Viewer. Here’s a summary from his posts:

    • Support for the 2008 RDL schema in local mode.
    • Support for ASP.Net AJAX (All page navigation and report interactivity is done with AJAX)
    • Updated API including a new JavaScript API.
    • Significantly improved browser compatibility.
    • Usability and “look and feel” enhancements.
    • Local mode now supports the same RDL features that are currently available in SQL Server 2008, including tablix, chart, gauge, and rich text.
    • AsyncRendering now controls whether the initial processing of the report blocks the entire ASP.Net page, and nothing else.
    • Can be loaded into a .NET 3.5 or a .Net 4.0 application.
    • No more frames - ASP.Net postbacks are used to render the report.

    Read more about the ReportViewer control in the MSDN Library.

  • My new laptop – A Dell Studio XPS 1645

    Dell Studio XPS 16 Black OpenOne tool that I was lacking in my new role as a Senior Consultant for LobsterPot Solutions was a laptop computer. Back in my UniSA days, if you needed a laptop for a presentation or a conference you just borrowed one, so it was never a problem. Post-UniSA I borrowed my Mum’s nice Toshiba, or more recently the small (but capable) HP Mini Netbook that I got from Tech-Ed last year.

    Rob and I did a fair bit of research, compared brands and options (including the Sony Z-series which I see Nigel chose), and settled on the Dell Studio XPS 16 model. Being a “laptop-newbie” I particularly valued Rob’s good experience with his previous Dell laptop.

    The XPS 16 comes with:

    • Intel® Core™ i7-820QM Processor (1.73GHz, 4 Cores/8 Threads, turbo up to 3.06GHz, 8MB Cache)
    • 8GB RAM
    • 640GB HDD (will replace with SSD soon)
    • 15.6” Screen
    • ATI Mobility RADEON HD 4670 – 1GB
    • Backlit keyboard

    The CPU and RAM are similar to the Hyper-V server I built – though happily, while this CPU is also a Core i7, unlike it’s desktop cousin it doesn’t require a great whopping heatsink/cooler stuck on top (which could make shutting the lid a bit tricky!)

    Some nice things I’ve discovered so far:

    • It looks very nice, though the glossy surface does show up fingermarks very quickly.
    • You can do “two-finger zooming” on the touch pad – great for Google/Bing maps.
    • Windows 7 x64 runs very nicely.
    • Rob noticed you can disable battery charging when on AC power.
    • Doesn’t seem to get too hot (though the AC transformer does)

    After having a quick play I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dell had shipped it with the latest BIOS firmware - that is refreshing. Nevertheless, after a precautionary backup to my Windows Home Server, I did a clean install of Windows 7 x64 Ultimate and am proceeding to load up all the various “mandatory” applications (Office, SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc).

    I’m also thinking I might leverage Windows 7’s “boot to VHD” feature to have separate Win7 instances where I can try out pre-release/beta software without “polluting” my primary OS.

    Dell Studio XPS 16 Red We chose the red ones, because a) they go faster (obviously!) and b) it kind of matches the red of the LobsterPot logo :-)

  • Using PowerShell with SQL Agent 2005

    Today I needed to get a PowerShell script scheduled as a task in SQL Agent for SQL Server 2005. SQL 2008 natively supports running PowerShell, but all 2005 can do is run either T-SQL or CmdExec.

    My first approach was to copy the path of the PowerShell executable from the start menu shortcut  - “%SystemRoot%\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe”

    That refused to work giving a really helpful “The step failed” error message.

    Trying a few variations I eventually figured out that CmdExec does not expand environment variables. So either rely on the fact that PowerShell.exe is probably in the path, or specify the full path. My working version is:

    c:\windows\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe -file "c:\tmp\test1.ps1" -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted

    If you need PowerShell to talk to Analysis Services, then Darren Gosbell’s powerSSAS (with versions for SSAS 2005 and 2008) might be useful too.