Steel City SQL Server Users Group – SQL Server 2005 Full Text Searching

Tonight I’ll be presenting at the Steel City SQL Users Group “Introduction to SQL Server Full Text Searching”. Here are the materials I’ll be using during the demo.

First, here is a PDF of the PowerPoint slides:

Full Text Search Power Points

Next, most of the demos used SQL statements. This PDF file has all of the SQL plus some associated notes.

Full Text Search Demo Scripts

Finally, I did a WPF project that demonstrated how to call a full text search query from a WPF Windows application. Annoyingly enough WordPress (who hosts my blog) won’t let me upload ZIP files, so I renamed the extension to pdf. After you download the file to your drive, remove the .pdf and put the zip extension back on, then it should expand all the source for you correctly. (Yes, I know, I really need to get a host server for binaries, one of these days I’ll get around to it, but for today…)

Source for WPF Demo

Look forward to seeing you at the New Horizons Training center tonight, 6:00 PM!

Don’t Uninstall Visual Studio 2005 Yet!

One of the great benefits of Visual Studio 2008 is the ability for it to target multiple .Net Frameworks. This means, in theory you could go ahead and begin using Visual Studio 2008 even though you still need to write apps that are 2005 / .Net 2.0 compliant. You might be tempted to go ahead and uninstall 2005. And that would be fine if you are only doing .Net development. But wait…

If you are still doing SQL Server BIDS (Business Intelligence Developer Studio) then don’t uninstall Visual Studio 2005! Currently there’s no support in VS2008 for doing SQL Server 2005 BIDS Development. If you uninstall VS2005 you won’t be able to do any more BIDS work. Trust me, I found out the hard way.

After uninstalling VS2005, I went to do a BIDS project and that’s when I got hit with the nasty surprise. The uninstall had also removed the Dev Environment that was shared with BIDS. I tried to rerun the install of my SQL Server Developer Edition, but for some reason it thought I wanted to upgrade. It kept giving me the message “You cannot upgrade a version of SQL Server from the GUI, you must use the command line.”

I finally had to reinstall VS2005, along with all it’s service packs. After that I was able to work on my BIDS projects again. So take it from me, if you are still doing SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence projects, Visual Studio 2005 still has some life in it yet.

Huntsville User Group – SQL Server 2005 Full Text Searching

Tonight I’ll be presenting at the Huntsville Users Group “Introduction to SQL Server Full Text Searching”. Here are the materials I’ll be using during the demo.

First, here is a PDF of the PowerPoint slides:

Full Text Search Power Points

Next, most of the demos used SQL statements. This PDF file has all of the SQL plus some associated notes.

Full Text Search Demo Scripts

Finally, I did a WPF project that demonstrated how to call a full text search query from a WPF Windows application. Annoyingly enough WordPress (who hosts my blog) won’t let me upload ZIP files, so I renamed the extension to pdf. After you download the file to your drive, remove the .pdf and put the zip extension back on, then it should expand all the source for you correctly. (Yes, I know, I really need to get a host server for binaries, one of these days I’ll get around to it, but for today…)

Source for WPF Demo

Look forward to seeing you in Huntsville tonight!

Do It Yourself Quick Launch Menu

One of my upcoming presentations at Alabama Code Camp 6 will be “The Developer Experience”. I intend to cover three aspects of the developer experience: physical, virtual, and mental. Falling into the virtual category are things like Windows and Visual Studio Add-Ins. Launcher programs seem very popular these days, and I’ll be covering a few of them in my presentation, but did you know it’s very easy to create your own “quick launch” menu right on the Windows Start Bar? (I’ve also heard it referred to as the Task Bar.)

Start by going to your “My Documents” or some other location on your drive. Create a new folder, and give it a name. I chose something short, “Dev”, since it’ll take up some space on the Start Bar and it was pretty descriptive. Now in this folder you should create short cuts to all the applications you use on a frequent basis. You can also create other folders, which will turn into submenus when we’re done. Here you can see I’ve got my shortcuts, plus one folder called “Directories” which holds shortcuts to folders I access frequently. Here’s a ‘best practice’ for you: I also find it a good idea to create a shortcut to the Dev folder itself, so you can quickly and easily add or remove shortcuts to your system.

diymenu01

Once you have all of your shortcuts, right click on your start bar and pick Toolbars, New Toolbar (I’m doing this in Vista by the way, but it works equally well in XP as I’ve done it there for years).

diymenu02

When the New Toolbar dialog appears, navigate to the place where you stored your “Dev” folder, click on it and click “Select Folder”.

diymenu03

Now you should see a new item appear on your Start Bar with the word “Dev” (or whatever you named your menu). Here you can see my menu; I’ve highlighted the “Directories” submenu so you can see it working as well.

diymenu04

If the menu doesn’t appear where you want it simply click on the little bar to the left of the name of the menu and drag it where you want. Your menu may also appear but “spread out”. If so, simply place the cursor over the bar, and drag it back into a collapsed position as I demonstrate below.

diymenu05

You can create as many of these little do it yourself quick launchers as you want. I usually have my Dev menu all the time, which holds my generic shortcuts or shortcuts to general items such as my RSS reader, Visual Studio, or Paint.Net. When I’m working on a big project, I like to create shortcuts specific to that project. Thus I’ll create another one for that specific project that will open the folders where my source code or data is stored, has links to open the project right in Visual Studio, and more. They are easy enough to take off the Start Bar, simply right click on the menu again, go back to Toolbars, and click on the menu name. It will remove itself from the Start Bar, but the folder will remain intact for when “phase 2” of your project comes around.

Using my “Do it yourself quick launch menu” I almost never need to go through the Start Menu. In addition it allows me to keep my Quick Launch toolbar extremely small, I only have icons there to apps I really do use many times a day. And the best part is it’s all built into your copy of Windows already. Nothing to download, install, no additional overhead, totally safe and secure. This is a real benefit when you work in an environment where you are not allowed to install any third party applications. Give it a try and see if you don’t find it a better way to work.

Arcane Hardware Hint

Not too long ago I picked up a Targus ACP50US Universal Docking Port. This nifty contraption makes it easy for me to connect all my gizmos to my laptop when I get home every day. All I have to do is plug in one USB connection and I’ve got my network, speakers, microphone, and through the USB ports my external hard disk, mouse, keyboard, external DVD drive, PDA docking station, and more. What’s really handy is the video port. Using it, as well as the video port already built into the laptop gives me the ability to have three monitors hooked up. (The internal laptop, the laptops external monitor, and the monitor hooked up to the Targus).

I’ve discovered a really interesting quirk regarding the video port in the Targus. It advertises a maximum resolution of 1024×768. Not great considering the resolution of most modern monitors, but I thought it would be useful enough for my e-mail program. I will add the refresh rate is really really jerky. I have to move my mouse slow. Still, for information that is fairly static such as a reference manual or e-mail it is OK.

Not too long ago though I found something odd. I had booted my laptop but neglected to plug in the Targus. So I plugged it in, and was amazed when the Targus’ video came up to a full 1600×1200 resolution! Maybe it’s just some odd quirk in my system, or perhaps the driver in Vista is over-riding the Targus driver. For the record, I have an HP Pavilion dv8000 (the 8195 if I recall the model correctly) laptop running Vista. The external monitor hooked to the Targus is a 20 inch ViewSonic G800. (The other monitor, the one hooked directly to the laptop is also a ViewSonic, a 21 inch G220f.)

Now when I boot my laptop, I wait until I’ve logged into Vista before plugging in the Targus docking port. The video displays flicker then I get my third monitor with 1600×1200 resolution. The refresh rate still stinks, but it’s no worse than it was at 1024×768 but I get a nice big screen. As I said it’s just fine for fairly static info such as electronic books (pdfs or chms), web pages, word documents, database diagrams or other types of data that I’m only reading, not trying to work with intensively.

If you happen to own one of these docking stations, I’m curious to see if anyone else experiences this phenomenon. Next time you power up, wait until after you’ve logged in to see if you get bigger video out of it, then leave a comment here for us all to know!

I’m Honored

Tonight I was given an honor. My fellow developers elected me President of the Birmingham Software Developer’s Association. I’m grateful for the confidence they placed in me, and will work hard not to disappoint. I have some big shoes to fill, my predecessor Wallace did a tremendous job for the last five years. A big public thanks to Wallace for his dedication to the BSDA.

Everyone has a vision of what they’d like to see done when they are elected to office, and I’m no different. Specifically, I’d like to double the regular attendance at club meetings. Further, I’d like to do at least one boot camp, and one .Net University session this year. With the release of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 this year and the recent release of Visual Studio 2008 I’d like to see a lot of great presentations around these new technologies.

Finally, let me make it clear this is YOUR club. I’m just the guy who gets up and welcomes everyone. It’s the members who make the club work, and who I want to serve. If you have ideas for meetings, activities, special events, whatever I’m open and willing so let’s hear them.

Again, let me say thanks to everyone who attended tonight. I look forward to working with my fellow officers and club members to do some exciting things. I deeply appreciate the honor, and will work hard to make sure it’s deserved.

Allowing SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition to Receive Remote Connections

I was working with another developer on a SQL Server project, and we decided to copy his database changes to my box. The simplest thing would be to just connect to my instance of SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition from his, and then apply the changes. When we tried though we kept getting the error:

“An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. “

Huh? I’m scratching my head thinking the developer edition is supposed to be the same as the enterprise edition, and what good is a SQL Server that won’t allow connections? So I do a little digging and found a great knowledge base article 914277. According to it the Express and Developer editions are configured to NOT allow remote connections. When you think about it, there is some logic behind it. The Express edition is designed for light weight applications used locally and the Developer Edition is designed for a single developer to create test and prototype databases and then connect to the main development servers that will be used.

There are times though when it makes sense to turn on the ability to remote connect. Collaboration is one of the main reasons I can point out, as was the case with my co-worker and I. Another is testing, you may want to install and test your new application in a clean virtual PC and let it connect to your developer instance of SQL Server 2005.

The instructions from the knowledge base article are very well laid out and simple, so I won’t bother to reiterate them here. I did want to get the word out however so others could find this as well. We didn’t find it necessary to have to complete the firewall pieces of the instructions, only the first two parts. However we are behind a pretty heavy duty firewall at work, so your environment may be different.