Notification, CE SQL Server Betas Unveiled

NEW ORLEANS -- Beta versions of a SQL Server-based notification service and a new Windows CE edition of the database made their first public appearances at Microsoft TechEd 2002 on Wednesday.

Microsoft senior vice president for developer and platform evangelism Eric Rudder announced the new software during the opening keynote for the 10th annual Microsoft-centric developers' conference.

SQL Server 2000 Notification Services

Notification Services in SQL Server will provide corporate developers with the means and back-end to produce alerts similar to what Microsoft uses to power its consumer-oriented .NET Alerts. Unlike traditional database alerting, the service will not consist of pager flares to warn DBAs of a stopped service.

The focus is much broader and more flexible, allowing developers to create applications that alert partners or customers about supply chain changes or new products through e-mail, phone messages, instant messaging and other transmission methods.

"This can be used to program those alerts," explains SQL Server product manager Sheryl Tullis. "It takes advantage of the .NET Framework for developing Web services, but it also takes advantage of the scalability of SQL Server. When your peak times come, the platform is really scalable."

Microsoft already uses the new SQL-based services to run the alerting for MSN Mobile, MSN Music and CarPoint. The .NET Alerts code was built previously and has not been migrated yet.

Beta code for SQL Server 2000 Notification Services is available today, Tullis said. The beta version is a free download from the Microsoft site, but company officials have not determined whether or not they will charge SQL Server 2000 customers for the final version of the service.

The nomination page for the Notification Services beta code, along with other SQL beta programs, is at

Notification Services will definitely be rolled into the Yukon release of SQL Server, scheduled for 2003, at no additional cost, Tullis said.

SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition, version 2.0

About a year after the release of the first version of SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition, Microsoft is working on a second edition of the database for mobile devices to add support for the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework and improve usability.

Beta code for the CE edition of SQL Server won't be available for another month, Tullis said, but users can nominate themselves to receive it by sending e-mail to [email protected]. The final version will be available this summer.

The Microsoft .NET Compact Framework extends the .NET Framework to devices and phones. Adding the framework to SQL CE allows users to take advantage of new capabilities developers can write for the devices with Visual Studio .NET Smart Device Extensions.

Another Web services-related enhancement to version 2.0 is support for a Web services feature recently added to the full-size versions of SQL Server -- the ability to turn stored procedures into Web services. SQL CE users will now be able to turn such stored procedures on the home server into Web services from their CE device on the road.

Several other enhancements focus on bringing the CE version to parity with the full-size versions, such as character limits in fields and the number of indexes per table. "It makes replication easier," Tullis said. Wizards and technology have also been added to ease backup and security.

"If you know SQL Server, you know SQL Server CE," Rudder said of the new 1.1 MB footprint version during the keynote.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.


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