In the Trenches with SQL Server & .NET: Advanced Techniques & Real World Solutions

Book Review

In the Trenches with SQL Server & .NET:
Advanced Techniques & Real World Solutions
by The Saint
Copyright 2004
Beyond Books

 

What would you think of a 600+ page book on SQL Server and .NET that costs $75, was written by an author named “The Saint,” could only be purchased directly from the publisher, and made this claim:

“Learn advanced & secret techniques used by the pros ‘in the trenches’ and get complete solutions & code that can literally save you HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of hours of research, design, development, coding, and testing (not to mention all the frustration, headaches, hair pulling, forehead smacking, & other pains from the process).”

Would you believe it? As odd as it sounds, this is a real book. And while the claims of saving hundreds and thousands of hours may be hard to document, if you are a serious SQL Server developer, the information you find in this book is worth every penny of $75.

For many consultants, they can easily earn this back in an hour or two of consulting time. And even if you are not a highly paid consultant, you can still cost justify the book as the information in it will help you to separate yourself from “average” SQL Server developers.

So what makes this book so great? To sum the book up, which is hard to do, the book provides very practical solutions to real world situations, advice and information that you will seldom run across in other books. That’s it. The information is not really secret or mysterious, just plain hard advice on what works and does not work in regard to SQL Server and .NET development, information that you can apply to your coding practices that can save you a lot of research and trial and error. It includes an eclectic collection of information on programming conventions, methodologies, soft skills, tools, techniques, and provides many code examples.

Here’s what the book covers, chapter by chapter:

  • Environment

  • Methodology

  • Quality Control

  • Problem Management

  • Connectivity

  • Data Storage, Transfer and Processing

  • Upgrading

  • Soft Skills

  • Performance/Productivity Metrics

  • Tools

  • Miscellaneous

  • Resources

  • Case Study: Enabling the Next e-Commerce & Web Services Wave

The above chapter titles don’t do a very good job of describing what you will learn, so here is a brief list of some of the major topics you will learn about:

  • Advanced ADO.NET connection handling techniques

  • How to use Visual Studio .NET to develop stored procedures

  • Record locking techniques & a complete advanced record locking solution in Transact-SQL & VB.NET

  • Understanding connectivity & file access issues in DTS for better package design & help in pinpointing problems or bugs

  • A feature rich, complete, and customizable document management solution that saves documents inside SQL Server

  • Three different options on how to implement threaded execution in VB.NET

  • Advanced messaging & web services techniques (and Transact-SQL code) to support complex multi-partner ecommerce transactions

  • Error-handling techniques for executing Transact-SQL, DTS, & COM objects

  • Techniques for porting recordset-based processing in VB, VBA, and VB Script to pure Transact-SQL

  • Batch recovery methods

  • Better code structure for complex transactions or batches

  • Learn about synchronized parallel or concurrent development

  • Learn to build better security implementations & solutions

  • Learn about Configuration & Change Management

  • Advanced techniques for feature-driven software development

  • Learn about smooth & stress-free Release Management

  • Techniques for designing better business reporting stored procedures

  • Testing data processing results with better accuracy

  • Techniques to gain political power at the office

  • Techniques to better handle being reviewed

  • Learn how to deal with inaccurate & unfair developer productivity metrics

I think that while most developers will agree with most of the author’s recommendations, they probably won’t agree with them all. But it is not necessary to agree with everything. The key is to pick out what is useful to the reader, and then apply it to his or her job.

This book is targeted toward toward the intermediate and advanced SQL Server and .NET developer, not DBAs or casual Transact-SQL developers. It assumes you have a very good background in development processes, Transact-SQL, and .NET. So if you fit into this target audience, and are serious about learning new techniques, then an investment of $150 for this book will produce a excellent return on your investment for many years to come.




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