Database Development – What is it to you?

As I mentioned in a recent editor's note, one topic that you said you would like to see more of is database development.  While this request was not entirely unexpected, it's not all that clearly defined in my mind either.  I think that the reason has more to do with the length of time that I've been at Microsoft than it does how clear the topic is defined.  To elaborate, internally we tend to look at database development as more the function of somebody in the "IT Professional" classification.  Practically (and historically), that means that articles fitting into this genre are better suited for TechNet Magazine than they are for MSDN Magazine.  We currently run the "Data Points" column which focuses on data access - but from our recent reader survey results, it seems like that's not covering all of what's needed.

That said, I understand that the reality is that you as developers wear many hats - and designing and implementing databases is one of them.

So, the bottom line is that I could use your help in scoping this a little better.  What specific kinds of topics related to database development are you looking for in MSDN Magazine?

Comments (4)

  1. Mike Marsh says:

    Database development encompases design (schema), coding (stored procedures, views, functions, triggers), testing, tuning, and finding "your place" in the overall application architecture.  Since we can now develop web services in SQL server, a db developer has potential to develop well into the middle tiers of the application and not just the back end.

  2. DM says:

    As you said, developers wear many hats, when you work for a small shop you need to know every detail about everything… and that can be really hard when you’re on your first job.  That chapter of my career is over but when you think about it… what about all those new faces out there that are just waiting for their big break in a "small shop".  With no experience, they make small mistakes that cause major problems juste because they didn’t think of the long term impact of their decisions.

    I know there’s a huge amount of books out there where we can learn lots of stuff about databases but sometimes you just need something to start and then another small part, and then another… but all those "parts" come from different books for different contexts.

    You end up with a lot of knowledge but without a clear understanding of the "how" to apply all that knowledge on your next project… because now, you "know too much" about too much stuff.

    Lot’s of times, articles describe how you can "do this" or "do that" but they explain concepts in only "small scale" projects.  They end by saying "this is how you do it" but they don’t say how the practices described will "scale" if you try to implement them on a bigger project or other types of projects.

    I know first-hand that large database projects can be hard to manage.

    But it would be nice to be able to get good advice on "how to do it" and "how to make sure the database scales well on large projects" all of this without huge complexities… I know, I may be dreamin’ it all up.

    But hey!

    You asked for it 🙂

  3. Klem says:

    I think if you are going to start doing articles on SQL more intensely you need to first focus on two things: 1) Good methods of creating a database/log and things to watch out for. 2) You need to be able to backup/restore a database to another server, same server, fix a suspect database, and all the other backup/restore general issues that you run into. It’s just common sense that you would start here for newbs. Sure we can talk about some pretty pictures and make general statements about how an animal/cat/tiger is specific to OOD or how SOA is "fantastic" (just really a confusing name to standard technology) but I think newbs don’t focus on their basics enough.

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