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Tuesday, December 4, 1998

Dear SQL Server Professionals,

The purpose of this message is to provide you with the latest information
about the Heartland Users Groups' SQL Server SIG.  This e-mail message was
sent to you as a "blind copy" to protect your privacy.  Please feel free to
forward this message on to whomever you feel may have an interest in the
Heartland Users Groups and/or the SQL Server SIG.  If you wish to be removed
from this e-mail list simply send a reply to this message and indicate so.


RECAP OF DECEMBER 3rd SQL SERVER SIG MEETING:
************************************************************
We announced at this meeting that future SQL Server SIG Meetings in 1999
will commence at 6:00 PM instead of 5:30 PM.  We are hopeful that moving the
time forward will enable additional persons to attend the monthly SQL Server
SIG meetings.

Solutech Inc. will host the January and February 1999 SQL Server SIG
meetings.  Solutech is located on the first floor of the building at 7300
College BLVD, Suite 165 in Overland Park, Kansas.  Solutech is a leading
provider of vendor-certified consulting, technical education and software
product sales.  Solutech has offices in Nashville, Des Moines, Kansas City,
Louisville, Omaha and St. Louis.  In particular, Solutech is a
Microsoft-certified training and solutions provider.

Rob Kraft, leader of HUG's Visual Basic SIG, presented "Optimizing
Performance with RDO and DAO".  Rob explained how Microsoft's many different
SQL Server development standards have evolved over the past few years.  In
particular, Rob examined the development standards applicable to Visual
Basic and the Microsoft Access / Jet engine environments.

The ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) standard was developed to allow
greater portability of applications among a variety of different relational
database management systems (RDBMSs).  The development of the ODBC standard
was spearheaded by Microsoft and other software vendors but Microsoft is
generally recognized as ODBC's primary proponent.  ODBC is essentially a
compatibility layer between the application and the database-specific
drivers.  An application written to ODBC standards will perform similarly
regardless of which RDBMS it is run on so long as the end-user has
client-side ODBC drivers installed for that particular RDBMS.

There are numerous methods for writing applications to the ODBC standard.
One method is to write the application using direct ODBC API calls.
Applications written using the ODBC API perform relatively well but are
somewhat complex to develop and maintain.  As a result, Microsoft developed
a number of ODBC API 'wrappers' like DAO and RDO to make ODBC applications
simpler to develop.  DAO (Database Access Objects) was announced with Visual
Basic version 3.0.  DAO communicates with the Microsoft Access Jet database
engine, and in turn, the Jet engine communicates with an Access .MDB file or
an ODBC-compliant RDBMS.  Later releases of DAO supported ODBC Direct, which
allowed a DAO application or linked table to bypass the Jet engine entirely
and thus improve application performance.  RDO (Remote Data Objects) was
announced with Visual Basic version 4.0.  RDO is essentially DAO with ODBC
Direct because RDO communicates directly with ODBC without going through the
Access Jet engine.  Today, the DAO and RDO standards are still supported but
both are heading towards obsolescence.

Over time, Microsoft began to embrace the concept of UDA (universal data
access), which expands the idea of open data connectivity to include sources
of data that are not necessarily stored in relational database management
systems.  As a result, Microsoft developed the OLE-DB API.  OLE-DB allows
applications to access data residing in either ODBC or non-ODBC data
sources.  In other words, an application written to the OLE-DB standard
could access data residing in Excel worksheets, .INI files, the system
registry, etc. -- as well as ODBC-compliant RDBMSs like SQL Server.  As with
ODBC, a developer could write fast-performing applications by making direct
calls to the OLE-DB API; however, the tradeoff is that OLE-DB API
applications are relatively complicated to develop and maintain.  As an
alternative, Microsoft developed the ADO wrapper.  ADO (ActiveX Data
Objects) came onto the scene with Visual Basic version 5.0.  ADO
communicates with OLE-DB, which in turn communicates with ODBC and non-ODBC
data sources.  ADO also supports the concept of 'disconnected datasets'
which are useful when developing web-based applications.  ADO is currently
considered the best means for developing general-purpose applications for
SQL Server and Microsoft Access.

In addition to the choice of which of the above development methods,
application performance is further impacted by factors such as the type and
location of cursors, concurrency settings, query type, and size of the data.
To demonstrate this, Rob developed a Visual Basic program that performs a
number of tests using a table containing 77,280 rows.  Rob used this program
to measure the performance differences among different combinations of
development API wrappers, cursors, and queries.  The different types of
cursors Rob examined were "keyset" cursors, "forward only" cursors, and
"static" cursors.  Rob looked at cursors residing on the server-side,
client-side ODBC cursors, and DAO-linked tables.  Rob used the following
types of queries:  move last, get first, and get all rows.  The results of
Rob's tests are really only conclusive for this exact data set because there
are so many different variables to consider.  However, you can get your own
copy of the testing program by downloading the following 55k ZIP file from
the SQL Server SIG's web page:  http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/robtest.zip .
Please note that you will need to have the file MSVBVM50.DLL on the path of
your workstation.  This DLL comes with Visual Basic version 5.0.

Many thanks to Rob for being our presenter at this meeting.  Rob did a great
job of making sense out of the veritable "alphabet soup" of Microsoft APIs
and wrappers.  In addition, thanks to Analysts International Corporation for
hosting our meeting and providing refreshments and to Mary Beth Robeson of
Platinum Technologies for providing the giveaway tote-bags.  Finally,
congratulations to Price McCormick who won the main giveaway prize which was
a copy of "SQL Server 6.5 Database Design Study Guide" by Kevin Hough.


NEXT SQL SERVER SIG MEETING: Thursday, 01/07/1999
************************************************************
The January SQL Server SIG meeting will be held on Thursday, January 7, 1999
at 6:00 PM.  This meeting will be hosted at the offices of Solutech, Inc.
located at 7300 College BLVD, Suite 165, Overland Park, KS.  This building
is situated NORTHWEST of College BLVD and Metcalf AVE.  Solutech's offices
are on the first floor.  Parking in the building lot is FREE.  Lori Bird
will be presenting and demonstrating Platinum Technology's ERwin data
modeling tool.  Lori is a Senior Product Consultant for Platinum Technology
specializing in Platinum's enterprise modeling suite of applications.
Lori's previous experience was with the US Air Force as a software developer
and with Laboratory Information Management Systems as technical lead.  Lori
has a B.S. in Computer Information Science from Troy State University in
Montgomery, AL and an M.B.A. in Operations Research from Wright State
University (Dayton, OH).  


GENERAL INFORMATION
************************************************************
1. The regular meeting time for monthly SQL Server SIG meetings is 6:00
PM on the first Thursday of every month.

2. Here is the schedule for the next three SQL Server SIG meetings:

 a. Thursday, January 7, 1999 @ 6:00 PM at Solutech
    7300 College BLVD, Suite 165, Overland Park, KS

 b. Thursday, February 4, 1999 @ 6:00 PM at Solutech
    7300 College BLVD, Suite 165, Overland Park, KS

 c. Thursday, March 4, 1999 @ 6:00 PM at place TBA


VOLUNTEERS WANTED ! ! !
************************************************************
The SQL Server SIG board is looking for two volunteers to serve as the SIG's
membership chair and programs chair.  Please contact me or any other SQL
Server SIG officer if you would like to volunteer to serve in either
position.  See the following web page for descriptions of the duties of all
of the SQL Server SIG offices:  http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlofficers.html . 

Also, we are always looking for volunteers to be presenters for SQL Server
SIG meetings.  If you or someone you know is interested in presenting a
topic of interest to SQL Server professionals, please contact me or any
other SQL Server SIG officer.


UPCOMING EVENTS
*****************************************************************
All Heartland Users Groups' meetings are open to the general public.
Joining the Heartland Users Groups entitles you to receive door prizes and
the monthly newsletter.  Please consider joining -- an annual membership is
only $25.00.  You can obtain a membership form at any of the Heartland Users
Groups' events.

Tuesday, December 8, 1998 at 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM	
Solutech Inc. presents a Briefing about 
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software deployed on SQL Server 7.0
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
See http://www.solutechinc.com or call 800.676.9393 to register

Wednesday, December 16, 1998 at 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM	
Microsoft presents "Building Data Warehouse Solutions on SQL Server 7.0"
At Penn Valley Community College
3201 SW Trafficway
Kansas City, MO
Register at http://www.microsoft.com/midamerica/events 
or call 800.550.4300 or FAX 800.896.9329
Event code 21047

Monday, December 21, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
General Meeting - Holiday Networking Party
At Johnson County Community College
Room GEB 233
Overland Park, KS
see http://www.hugkc.org for details

Thursday, January 7, 1999 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM	
SQL Server SIG -- Lori Bird presents Platinum's ERwin data modeling tool
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
See http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html for details


MICROSOFT NEWS
************************************************************
See http://www.microsoft.com/mcp/certstep/mcdba.htm for details about
Microsoft's new Database Administrator certification program.  Exams and
courseware for this new track are expected to be available by the first
quarter of 1999.

Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 Overview:  This is the one-day course that
Microsoft is offering for $99.  See
http://www.microsoft.com/train_cert/sql7/oneday/ for details.

Get a voucher worth $500 towards the 5-day System Administration for
Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 course (course #832).  See
http://www.microsoft.com/train_cert/sql7/offer for details.


SQL SERVER JOB OPPORTUNITIES
************************************************************
Analysts International Corporation (AIC) is looking for two (2) SQL Server
professionals:  A SQL Server DBA and a SQL Server Developer.  Requirements
are 2-4 years of experience, knowledge of Crystal reports or other ODBC
reporting tools, and good oral and written communication skills.  These are
full-time contract-for-hire positions located in downtown Kansas City,
Missouri.  Analysts is a high energy high tech consulting firm.  Pay is
competitive and commensurate with experience.  Interested parties may e-mail
resumes to mailto:kc.jobs@analysts.com, FAX them to 816.531.5636, send them
via snail-mail to AIC, Broadway Summit Building, 3101 Broadway, Suite 101,
Kansas City, Missouri  64111-2416, or call 816.531.5050 for additional
details.


MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
************************************************************
The Heartland Users Groups' home page is at:  http://www.hugkc.org .

The SQL Server SIG's home page is at:
http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html .  Feel free to offer any ideas
for improving the SQL Server SIG's page or for adding any links.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, criticisms, and/or
referrals of persons who may be potentially interested in the SQL Server
SIG.  

Back to the main SQL Server SIG page