Letters from Readers

Pros and Cons of SQLXML

Roger Jennings answers a reader who asserts that using the SQLXML interface to provide HTTP access to SQL Server is not appropriate for high-performance, enterprise solutions.

Stop Losing Session State
We're running a Web farm and using SQL session state; we came across an issue where we were losing session state between servers. After much searching, I found the solution on Microsoft's Web site and wanted to share this important information that goes along with Leonard Lobel's ASP.NET column, "Manage Session State on the Server" [October 2003].

You need to check a couple things if you're losing your session state in a Web farm. Leonard describes one method in his article: You need to make sure you have a consistent machine key across all machines by modifying the "machine.config" file. We made this change in our "web.config" instead of the "machine.config." However, you should look at this next solution if you still have problems. This fix can be a little trickier, because it requires changing the IIS metabase. The problem is that the application path of the Web site "\LM\W3SVC\2" must be the same for all Web servers. If you add more Web sites to one server than the other and then you put them in a Web farm, your application instance ID will probably be different. The fix is fairly simple but requires that you change the IIS metabase and change the instance ID.

I recommend the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 325056 for detailed information on both of these problems and how to fix them.

I hope this information we found the hard way will help your readers.

Eric Renken, Niles, Mich.

Whidbey Doesn't Wow All
Your interview with Microsoft's Ari Bixhorn, "Climbing the Road to Whidbey" [December 2003], reeks of enthusiasm for Microsoft's Whidbey. I guess if you have your head in the Microsoft universe, the .NET product line looks like an alphabet soup of innovation. Yet, these advances have been around for years (yes, years). Features such as refactoring, code templates, auto-fixing code, and so on have been around so long that they've entered the mainstream of open source with products like Eclipse. (I've been using these features in Eclipse for the last 18 months for free.)

So why would I want to suffer with Whidbey? Can I easily glue my technology into the editor for free? Will I have to wait years for the next wave of improvements to catch up with Microsoft?

I appreciate that the publication is about Visual Studio and you're forced to preach the "gospel." But it would be nice to see some objective perspective and not all the yellow journalism. Putting Whidbey in the "wow" category is difficult to stomach. Wait, doesn't Microsoft own FTP?

Malcolm G. Davis, Birmingham, Ala.

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