The Linux / Docker platforms are just one of the core targets of Microsoft’s recent release of SQL Server 2017. This release also introduces a number of new powerful and exciting features that enable rigorous data treatments, management, analytics, and improved performance for all users of SQL Server alike.
Though some aspects of SQL Server 2017 are shared here, you can visit Microsoft’s “What’s new in SQL Server 2017” web page for a complete list of changes and features that SQL Server has to offer. Running SQL Server on my MacBook Pro is certainly a welcome change.
As discussed in “SQL Server 2017 Adds Python, Graph Processing and Runs on Linux” by Andrew Brust, the three titled features clearly differentiate SQL Server 2017 from it’s predecessors and competitors alike. A question commonly asked is “What programming language should I learn next?” If not already on your list, that R and now Python are integrated with SQL Server should be more than telling.
The introduction of Graph Processing using nodes and edges to represent data and it’s structure presents a fresh perspective for creating relationships between data elements and for scripting queries in kind. Writing queries to take advantage of this technology is sure to require some worthwhile time to learn.
For those interested in a more in-depth technical and advanced review of SQL Server 2017 features, watch these videos:
- SQL Server 2017: What’s New in the Database Engine?
- Everything you need to know about SQL Server 2017, Microsoft Mechanics Live!
- SQL Server 2017: Adaptive Query Processing
- SQL Server 2017: Building applications using graph data, Shreya Verma, Program Manager
To get started with SQL Server 2017, visit Microsoft’s SQL Server downloads page and choose from the three options presented: Free trial evaluation, Developer and Express. Note that several editions of SQL Server are available depending on your requirements:
- Enterprise – Premium large scale, high performance database capabilities
- Standard – Basic small / medium scale data / business management
- Web – Small to large scale web hosting
- Developer – Enterprise level functionality and capabilities for application development and testing
- Express – Entry level edition for desktop and small scale applications.
Visit the “Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2017” page at Microsoft.com for more information and detailed discussion.
I installed SQL Express and the Developer Edition on my local Windows and MacBook Pro machines. The download and installation process will take a relatively considerable amount of time and I encourage you to read the supporting documentation to fully appreciate what SQL Server 2017 has to offer. I look forward to working with the latest enhancements to T-SQL, the added language support / integration for Python, and the amazing Graph database capabilities.
Of all the T-SQL functions that exist the ever missing TRIM function has finally arrived and we can finally replace the typical LTRIM(RTRIM(‘ Too many spaces ‘)) to remove extra spaces. Other T-SQL functions like Concat_WS (Concatenate with Separator), Translate, and String_AGG can also simplify some common tasks that otherwise require clever programming tricks to accomplish .
SQL Server Tools and Connectors
Download the latest version SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server Management Studio. At a minimum, download SQL Server Management Studio 2017 as it is also compatible with previous version of SQL Server (2008 – 2017) and can co-exist with previous versions of SSMS. Download the SQL Server Data Tools if you are working with Business Intelligence services as a developer and / or user.
Establishing a connection to SQL Server through your application can be menacing at times especially if you’re a developer. The available connectors for SQL Server include:
- Microsoft ADO.NET
- Microsoft JDBC Driver
- Microsoft ODBC Driver
- Node.js Driver for SQL
- Python Driver for SQL
- pyodbc (Microsoft’s preferred connector)
- Ruby Driver for SQL
Visual Studio integration with SQL Server greatly enhances your ability to work with your databases and to develop SQL Server applications. Visual Studio is one of my primary IDE’s (Interactive Development Environment) for this very reason among others.
Installing SQL Server 2017 is more time consuming than it is difficult. I highly encourage you to read the documentation and information pages available on the Microsoft SQL Server 2017 web page to ensure your installation is successful and configured correctly.
If you’re new to SQL Server, the experience is a manageable challenge if you take the time to understand and familiarize yourself with the many components that comprise the SQL Server ecosystem.
There is so much more that can be mentioned that is beyond the scope and intent of this post. At a minimum, you are at least aware that Microsoft’s SQL Server 2017 is released and offers numerous features and capabilities that continues to make it my relational database management system of choice.
Until Next Time,
Related Articles and Resources
- SQL Server 2017 Adds Python, Graph Processing and Runs On Linux by Andrew Brust for Big on Data (25-Sep-2017) – ZDNet.com
- Connection modules for Microsoft SQL databases, Microsoft.com
- Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2017, Microsoft.com
- Download DQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Microsoft.com
- Python power comes to SQL Server 2017, by Serdar Yegulalp, Senior Writer, InfoWorld.com (20-Apr-2017)