Home > Articles > Data > SQL Server

SQL Server Reference Guide

Hosted by

Toggle Open Guide Table of ContentsGuide Contents

Close Table of ContentsGuide Contents

Close Table of Contents

Practical Applications

Last updated Mar 28, 2003.

SQL Server runs on several platforms, from handheld devices to multiprocessor servers. Its versions include everything from personal to enterprise editions, and it supports several access interfaces including application programming interfaces and remote data access methods.

With all this availability, there are hundreds of applications that use SQL Server as a back-end, from small custom-developed personal applications all the way up to enterprise solutions such as Seibel and SAP. Each of these applications has different requirements for their planning, infrastructure, tuning, operation and maintenance. In this section of the guide, I’ll detail these kinds of applications, and the methods and processes you can use to keep them functional and fast.

There's also an easy way to find out when any part of the guide is updated. If you're using an RSS reader, you can subscribe to these notifications here. We also have a blog you can subscribe to for even more up-to-date information.

The sections in this Guide are designed to allow quick access to what you need. The tutorials and overviews can be read in just a few minutes, and many contain useful scripts and hands-on guides to examples you can follow.

Making SQL Server Work for You

The entire SQL Server Guide here at InformIT is built to help you learn SQL Server concepts, overviews, and tutorials. You can learn just about anything you need to know to be a Database Administrator (DBA) or a Database Developer. There's lots of theory and facts here that will help you learn what you need to know. But this section of the guide, called Practical Applications, is just that. Here I'll show you exactly what you need to do to put SQL Server to work for you, in real applications, in every article.

Platform Choices

Platform choices are those subjects that affect everything you'll do with a SQL Server installation, also called an Instance. I'll start by helping you choose the back-end for your applications, covering lots of choices, including Oracle, MySQL and of course SQL Server. I'll show you how to create your own laboratory inexpensively so that you can experiment for your organization. I'll cover several "platform" uses of SQL Server including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and more.

I'll also explain how to use SQL Server on very large systems and very small ones, even on how to use Microsoft SQL Server on Handheld Devices.

Using Tools

As a Database Administrator, or DBA, you'll need tools to do your job. Sure, you can fire up the command-line interface and type your Transact-SQL (T-SQL) directly into the engine, but I'll go further here than I have in explaining jus the basics of Enterprise Manager (SQL Server 2000) and SQL Server Management Studio (SQL Server 2005), explaining topics such as the DBA’s Toolbox, using SQL Server Agent to Monitor Backups, and even how to create a maintenance report from Reporting Services.

Commanding the System

By far the most intense part of this section of the guide deals with actually commanding the system. From the DBAs to the Developers, everyone should be familiar with the various scripting solutions for SQL Server.

Scripts are nothing more than text files dedicated to a certain language that can talk to SQL Server. You've got every option here from Perl to PowerShell, and even plain old Transact-SQL statements. I'll show you how to use these languages, and what management layers Microsoft has included in SQL Server that you can control with them. We'll build a Database Documenter, compare two SQL Server Databases, and more.

Data — In and Out

Of course, a database doesn't exist just to be managed — it holds data. That's the whole point. In these articles I'll show you how to use graphics files with SQL Server, how to build a Reporting Data Server, information on XML, and how to use HTTP with SQL Server XML data. You'll also learn how to transform the XML data with SQL Server XML Templates.

You'll need to learn how to access other data from SQL Server, so I have several articles in this section of the guide that deal with Remote Queries, as well as working with Text Files.

I'll also cover some of the front end systems that can access SQL Server data, such as Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel. Even if you use another office productivity suite you can use the information here to present data from a database into these platforms.

There are some features of SQL Server that have to do with data, such as English Query in SQL Server 2000. I have one of the few tutorials around that actually show you how to use this fantastic feature in the system.

Keeping true to the practical nature of this section of the guide, we'll also cover topics such as how to create RSS Feeds from SQL Server databases and more.

So check out this section of the guide along with the rest to learn how to put all that hard-won knowledge to use.

InformIT Articles and Sample Chapters

Along with learning more about database data, you need to learn to "think in sets." We have a great free chapter for that here.

Books and eBooks

Not into SQL Server but really into database applications? Check here.

Online Resources

I can't pitch the Safari Online Books resource here at InformIT enough. It has thousands of tech books you can read on any database subject imaginable.

Click Next to continue reading about Microsoft SQL Server Practical Applications. Next topic: Choosing the Back End