Having endured 20 inches of snow in the past three days, there are a few things on our minds here. Warm beaches, swaying palm trees, and tropical drinks sipped slowly out of pineapples top the list. We're also trying to figure out where all that fluffy Manhattan snow magically goes by Monday morning. We had a foot and a half over the weekend, and all that remains on the street are a few slush puddles in the building crevices. Years ago, we'd have endless hedgerows of snow, taunting us for months, daring us to cross the street without being splashed by the crosstown bus. Is there some lot out in Canarsie that has a 50-story-tall mountain of gray slush sitting there, waiting until May to melt?
Instead of worrying about such globally important issues, the snow has brought us to our world-famous "lousy segue" as we look to the frozen north and Yukon. We're assuming you've looked at the cover of this issue, and have figured out that Yukon as we're using it is the code name for the next version of SQL Server, not the region of northwestern Canada. This issue contains our first coverage of some of the cool new features in Yukon.
SQL Server has always let you do some neat stuff. For instance, SQL Server 2000 included XML querying capabilities (FROM XML AUTO) that let you change the return type of a query into well-formed XML. This, in turn, led to some creative solutions, as developers could combine this XML with some clever stylesheets and come up with, say, GIS-based graphics. (We never get tired of pushing this page—SQL Server 2000: New XML Features Streamline Web-centric App Development
Very nice, if we do say so ourselves. Of course, the world of computing never stands still. The .NET Framework was announced and released after SQL Server 2000, and they've been first cousins until now. But Yukon changes everything. Arguably the biggest new feature of this release of SQL Server will be the integration of the CLR with the database engine itself. As you can imagine, this opens up a world of possibilities, the best of which is the ability for we application programmers to engineer a takeover of the world of database work! Are you with us here?
For too long, we've been sitting around waiting for some admin to set up our test database the way we want it. Oh no, they say, it's far too complicated for you to touch! But wait! Now the CLR is integrated into the database. We can design our own .NET-compliant data types. We can write stored procedures in C#. We can take over the world! And since we have a head start in obfuscating our C#, there's nothing they can do to read it once we get a full head of steam going!
Sorry—maybe we got a bit carried away there. Still, we are excited about Yukon because of all the enhancements planned for it. In this issue, we'll discuss some of the highlights of this new database programming platform. The major topics we'll present are the addition of CLR hosting (did we mention that already?), enhanced XML support (with an XML data type and XQuery support), and some major improvements to the T-SQL query language.
This issue is intended to give you a look ahead at Yukon. As the beta program and final release draw closer, we'll continue our coverage with topics relevant to developers. There are so many new features that it would be pointless to list all of them here. Lucky for us, there's now a Top 30 list of new features on Microsoft.com. It's an impressive list of features, even the weird-sounding databasey stuff that developers only hear about as they congregate around the Jolt cooler at work.
The product info page has lots of other resources if you're looking at Yukon for the first time. There are book chapters, guides, news and reviews, and at press time, there was even a 10-minute video demo of Yukon. We get the feeling this is going to be "must have" information in the years to come, so you should get ahead of the curve now.
Finally, we would like to officially introduce Stephen Toub, our new technical editor. Steve claims to be excited about joining the MSDN Magazine team. Most recently, he worked as a developer consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services, building enterprise apps for companies such as GE, McGraw-Hill, BankOne, and JetBlue. He was a developer for Microsoft Outlook as well as for the Microsoft Office Solution Accelerators. Prior to joining Microsoft, Steve taught computer science at Harvard, where he also received a degree in CS. Welcome!
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