Jerry Dixon

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Top Stories by Jerry Dixon

In a previous article (DNDJ Volume 3, issue 4), I discussed an application that had to load, process, and transmit data received from multiple customers. The system had to perform a specific set of tasks or steps for each customer. Because of the diverse needs of each customer, however, the actual implementation of each step could vary widely, often on a per-customer basis. In addition, new customers would be added long after the application was completed, and the unique requirements of these new customers would also have to be met. The system accomplished these goals by allowing each step to dynamically load an appropriate object from disk. A database kept track of which object would perform a particular step for a particular customer. Because these objects were loaded dynamically, new objects could be developed as needed, allowing new customers to be serviced wit... (more)


SQL Server 2005 has many new and improved features. So many, in fact, that it would be very difficult to cover them all thoroughly. Therefore, I've been concentrating on those features that I feel will have the most impact on developers. Because of this, I want to present two more new T-SQL features. They were left out of my first T-SQL article because of space limitations. However, I believe that interest in these capabilities has grown, and that they deserve some coverage here. I'm including the first one, the PIVOT clause, because it has generated a lot of interest on the Int... (more)

A Point of Order: Organize Your Data with SQL Ranking Functions

Sequential numbers. Sooner or later, you'll find a process that requires you to generate a series of sequential numbers. As a matter of fact, most database engines provide at least one method of producing such numbers. Microsoft Access, for example, has AutoNumber columns, while SQL Server has IDENTITY columns. However, these are features of tables. There are times when you need some sequential numbers, but creating a table is inconvenient or inefficient. So how does one proceed? How does one obtain a list of sequential numbers without creating tables? SQL Server 2000 has always... (more)

T-SQL Grows Up

Have you ever heard the expression "I want it so bad that I can taste it?" Well, that's the way I feel about SQL Server 2005. I've been looking forward to the official release for quite some time. When people ask me why, I usually say "SELECT TOP X." In addition to generating some funny looks, this response gets my point across rather nicely. The next version of SQL Server supports many enhancements to the T-SQL language, and the ability to pass a variable to the TOP clause is just one of them. While changes such as this may seem small and insignificant, they can have a large imp... (more)

SQL Server Web Services

These days, applications built around a service-oriented architecture (SOA) are all the rage. Complex systems can be written as a collection of services that communicate with each other through standard protocols. When implemented properly, these systems can become immensely flexible, scalable, and easy to maintain. The most common SOA designs utilize Web services as the communications medium, because they can be created and consumed by disparate systems and platforms. This highly useful capability has made Web services a very important part of today's information systems. Up un... (more)