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Category: Tools

Database Delegation with Power Apps

Deborah Melkin shares a note about Power Apps:

When I write a SQL Query, I never have to worry if the way I’m writing a query will automatically create a limit on the number of records being returned if I’m not specifying TOP or OFFSET…FETCH. If my query wants to return 1 million records, it will return 1 million records.

PowerApps doesn’t work that way.

Click through to see how it does work, including some of the limitations around it.

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What’s New in SSMS 20

Erin Stellato gives us the skinny:

We expect that the first two posts, combined with the release notes and the new Connect with SQL Server Management Studio page, provide the details you need about the changes in SSMS 20 GA.  As such, the focus of this post is the roadmap for SSMS.  Our roadmap is heavily influenced by the evolving capabilities of SQL Server and Azure SQL, and feedback from SSMS users.  We’re currently collecting general feedback at, and feedback on Copilot in SSMS at  Please comment and upvote on items that you would like to see in SSMS!

With SSMS 20 now being generally available, you can download it and try it out in your own environment. Erin quells any fears that Microsoft is abandoning SSMS and covers some of the big-ticket items on the roadmap.

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Taking a Billion Taxi Rides with DuckDB

Mark Litwintschik tries out DuckDB:

DuckDB is an in-process database. Rather than relying on a server of its own, it’s used as a client. The client can work with data in memory, within DuckDB’s internal file format, database servers from other software developers and cloud storage services such as AWS S3.

This choice to not centralise DuckDB’s data within its own server, paired with being distributed as a single binary, makes installing and working with DuckDB much less complex than say, standing up a Hadoop Cluster.

The project isn’t aimed at very large datasets. Despite this, its ergonomics are enticing enough and it does so much to reduce engineering time that workarounds are worth considering. The rising popularity of analysis-ready, cloud-optimised Parquet files is removing the need for substantial hardware when dealing with datasets in the 100s of GBs or larger.

Read on to learn more about DuckDB, how it differs from SQLite, and a bit of nuttiness around how far you can push an in-memory database.

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Choosing a Data Platform Technology

Jenn Junod builds a flow chart:

From a structural perspective you can think of data as existing on a continuum or gradient: on the one side, there’s highly structured data, like customer profiles. Each customer has a known name, address, phone number, and we can expect those to fall within certain formatting constraints. For example, a phone number will always be a set of numbers and special characters. On the other side, there’s unstructured data: the contents of an email, for example, are unstructured.

The shape of the data should define what kind of software you use to store and manipulate it.

Read on for several questions along these lines and recommendations based on your answers.

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Data Management with Open Table Formats

Anandaganesh Balakrishnan covers a few open-source products and formats:

Apache Iceberg is an open-source table format designed for large-scale data lakes, aiming to improve data reliability, performance, and scalability. Its architecture introduces several key components and concepts that address the challenges commonly associated with big data processing and analytics, such as managing large datasets, schema evolution, efficient querying, and ensuring transactional integrity. Here’s a deep dive into the core components and architectural design of Apache Iceberg:

Click through for a review of Iceberg, Hudi, and the Delta Lake format.

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Recovering Deleted Oracle Connections in Visual Studio Code

Brendan Tierney goes on a search and rescue mission:

With the current early release, there is no way to organise your Database connections like you can in the full Oracle SQL Developer. We are told this will/might be possible in a future release but it might be later this year (or longer) before that feature will be available.

In a previous post, I showed how to import your connections from the full SQL Developer into SQL Dev VS Code. While this is a bit of a fudge, yet relatively straight forward to do, you may or may not want all those connections in your SQL Dev VS Code environment. Typically, you will use different tools, such as SQLcl, SQL*Plus, SQL Developer, etc to perform different tasks, and will only want those connections set up in one of those tools.

Click through to see what it takes to recover these.

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Oracle SQL Developer for Visual Studio Code

Brendan Tierney takes a look at a new extension for VS Code:

We now have a new/different tool for developers to access their Oracle Databases. Traditionally, developers have been using Oracle SQL Developer for maybe 20+ years (if you started using Project Raptor). SQL Developer has developed into a bit of a big beast of a tool, with it trying to be everything to everyone including developers, DBAs, and others. But it does seem like SQL Developer might be coming to an end of life, although that could be for some years to come as it is so wildly used. There have been many challenges with SQL Developer over the years and one of the main challenges is getting new developers to use it. From my experience, developers tell me they just didn’t like it, didn’t like the look and feel of it, it was difficult to use, etc., etc. The list would go on and on and most of those developers would prefer to use other tools (for example DBeaver). For those that are terminal/command line only person, you have SQL*Plus and the modern version called SQLCl (SQL Command Line).

Read on for a review of how the extension is today, with the promise of regular improvements from Oracle over time.

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Buy that Keyboard

Andy Levy shares some good advice:

The holidays have passed and it’s a new year. You probably have a gift card or two and haven’t decided how to use it yet. Allow me to help:

Buy that fancy keyboard you’ve been coveting. Yes, the $100+ model. And get the good mouse/trackball while you’re at it. Just do it.

Back in my formative days, I would often get the cheapest keyboard and mouse to add a little “budget” flair to my custom PC builds. But nowadays, I highly recommend against that approach for the same reasons Andy does. A $100 keyboard isn’t guaranteed to be better than a $50 keyboard, but they’re both typically going to be better than a $10 keyboard. And if you have a nice enough computer store around, go try some of these out and see what fits best. I love mechanical keyboards—especially when I had the chance to annoy the people around me with a buckling spring keyboard—and there are a variety of types with different required levels of pressure. Do a little digging and find the keyboard and mouse that work best for you.

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