On the piste, France.
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I recently found quite a useful tool hidden in the Windows Installer SDK developer Kit called WiLogUtl.exe which can be used to analyze / parse not just SQL Server error logs, but any form of text-based log file. The tool is embedded in the Windows Platform SDK (XPSP2) which can be downloaded from here http://www.microsoft.com/msdownload/platformsdk/sdkupdate/. The binary file is installed under the following directory tree C:\Program Files\Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2\Bin. It's provides a simple yet useful interface for browsing and analyzing those log files which are generated by failed setups and service pack installs.
I've recently corrected this post (thanks to Matt Tisdel) as I included an incorrect URL (the correct one is shown above). Further information on WiLogUtl.exe can be found in MSDN here http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/msi/setup/wilogutl_exe.asp and here http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/msi/setup/windows_installer_development_tools.asp
On a slightly different topic, my new favourite RSS reader is now Sauce Reader from Synop http://www.synop.com/Products/SauceReader/Home - this is great for consolidating RSS reads.
After experimenting with the numerous features of SQL Server 2005 in beta 2 and subsequent CTP releases, I have decided upon my favourite features. Although they're not necessarily the most important, they will make my life so much easier.
1. Database Mirroring (High Protection Mode)2. CLR Hosting (for complex code / calculations)3. Full Bi-Directional (Peer-to-Peer) Replication 4. Full Text Enhancements5. SQLCMD (and the dedicated administrator connection)
I should really mention the Service Broker however I haven't (as yet) looked at it in any detail. There is a good resource slowly developing here http://www.sqlservicebroker.com/forums/. There is also a nice tool in dev called the Service Broker Explorer which provides more control over the elements in a GUI. It can be downloaded from here: http://www.sqlservicebroker.com/forums/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=80. I should mention that it is not intended for use on a production system; more of a learning tool.
I had a look at the SQL Server 2005 Express Manager a few days ago and realised that it works with developer, standard and enterprise editions of SQL Server 2005. I was also impressed to discover that it also works with SQL Server 2000 instances. I should also mention that you'll need to install .NET Framework 2.0 - the link is embedded on the download page at the following location: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=8f92556a-6c3b-47d2-9929-ecdc5a4d25ae&displaylang=en
The express manager is a light-weight client, similar to QA but not as feature rich. It is a good alternative to the query edition in the SQL Server 2005 management studio (application launch time is much better in Express Manager). I just hope that a drop-down combo is added in future releases and that it also remembers server/instance name.
BTW, there are a lot of good whitepapers appearing on the public website, have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/2005/techinfo/default.asp
I've made a few changes to the layout of the blog site - hopefully this is much easier to navigate. Anyway, whilst recently browsing on Tim Sneath's blog http://blogs.msdn.com/tims I came accross a reference to SQL Server Nuggets. This is a cool resource if you're looking for a gentle introduction to some of the CLR features in SQL Server 2005. The short webcasts are also downnloadable (see links below)
SQL Server 2005