SQL Server 2008 Books Online Release Cadence

The January 2009 update to the SQL Server 2008 Books Online has now been published to the MSDN Library, TechNet Library, and the Microsoft Download Center. The lists of new topics and updated topics with significant changes are available at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd408738.aspx.

Although this release has been published to MSDN, TechNet, and the Download Center, the SQL Server documentation team has changed its processes to more quickly deliver documentation updates to the Web, so some updates will be delivered only to the MSDN Library and TechNet Library.


We plan to publish Web updates to the SQL Server 2008 Books Online every 4 to 8 weeks. Depending on the amount of critical content changes, these updates may be English-only. We will deliver translated  updates to the different Books Online languages (German, Japanese, Spanish, and so on) only if a Web-only update contains critical content changes, such as important security information or content addressing issues that generate a lot of support calls.


We plan to publish our updates to the Microsoft Download Center and Microsoft Update on a quarterly basis. Each of these quarterly updates will be a rollup of all Web-only releases since the last quarterly rollup. The quarterly updates will be translated to all languages, published to the Web, and published to both the Microsoft Download Center and Microsoft Update.


The general pattern should look like this:


Books Online Update 1 – Web-only, translated if critical content.

Books Online Update 2 – Web-only, translated if critical content, includes all changes from Books Online Update1 .

Books Online Update 3 – Web + Microsoft Download Center + Microsoft Update, translated to all languages, includes all changes from Books Online Updates 1 and 2.



With our new processes, information in the Web-only updates will be available on the Web one or two months earlier than it would have been with our old processes. For SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 we did not publish Books Online updates unless we could also deliver each update to local copies through the Microsoft Download Center and Microsoft Update. In practice, the resources needed to build and test the download files limited us to, at best, quarterly updates.


We are carrying forward our conventions for marking new and updated topics. New topics and topics with significant changes are added to the list of New and Updated Topics. We add a line at the top of the topic saying either New: 23 January 2009 or Updated: 23 January 2009. We also add a change history table entry at the bottom of the topic. Topics with minor changes, such as a correction to a single word, are not marked as updated.




Tai Yee and Alan Brewer

SQL Server User Education

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