Interview with Rob Vieira

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You recently spoke at the Amsterdam conference. Which is more fulfilling - writing books or speaking at conferences, and why?

Tough question. Speaking gives the more immediate gratification of seeing someone face to face, answering their questions, and knowing that you really helped someone - it's simply more "real". Book writing, however, has the sheer mass advantage. It's hard to beat the literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have contacted me to personally say thanks.

What would you say are the major developments in SQL 2000?

Ouch - another tough one. The difficulty is in defining "major". For me, the single biggest addition was definitely User Defined Functions. This is a feature that's going to impact about every project out there. After that, the XML integration and INSTEAD OF triggers are probably the biggies.

What further improvements would you hope/expect to see in the new few months/next version?

I'm very much looking forward to the XML Updategrams release and also seeing XML support added to the OLAP functionality. For Yukon (the next release of SQL Server), I'm looking forward to the additional language support.

SQL Server's support for data warehousing and mining has been improved, can you outline some of the new features?

Probably the glitziest of all the new features is the new data mining functionality. Microsoft has added some features here that are normally only found is outrageously expensive (often 6 figures per seat) software. Data Mining allows you to see relationships that are not always intuitive (answer questions you didn't even know you should be asking) and can even do some predictive modeling.

On more general use, however, is the new parent-child hierarchy. One of the problems with the old OLAP Services (what Analysis Services was called under 7.0) was that it couldn't handle what is called a "ragged hierarchy" – that is, a hierarchy where the depth of the hierarchy was variable – often totally unpredictable. The new parent-child approach deals with this problem rather elegantly.

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James Crowley

James Crowley United Kingdom

James first started this website when learning Visual Basic back in 1999 whilst studying his GCSEs. The site grew steadily over the years while being run as a hobby - to a regular monthly audien...

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