The Guru's Guide To SQL Server Stored Procedures, XML, and HTML

By Robbe D. Morris

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Robbe Morris
Robbe & Melisa Morris
The Guru's Guide To SQL Server Stored Procedures, XML, and HTML by Ken W. Henderson is the second book of his that I've read so far.  The first being The Guru's Guide To Transact-SQL.  This latest release has secured him as my favorite SQL Server author.  Unlike his first release, Ken really lets his writing talents loose when discussing SQL Server's features and capabilities that are important to developers.  Not only did I find the information incredibly useful, his commentary was insightful and entertaining.  Chapter 16 .NET and the Coming Revolution is a classic example of this.  Here are some of my favorite chapters:

Chapter 11 HTML digs into SQL Server's intrinsic support for generating HTML straight out of the database using either Transact-SQL or sp_makewebtask.  In certain situations, you may be able to use sp_makewebtask to automatically regenerate moderately static pages on your web site and improve performance.  Ken gives a few great examples of how to implement both of these options.
Chapter 13 XML and SQL Server: HTTP Queries does a great job of explaining how to use this new feature in SQL Server.  He discusses various hurdles such as security, properly formed querystrings, XPath queries, and even attaching XSL files as part of the return values.  I've been looking for an easy to understand overview of this feature for a long time and Ken has provided us with a great one.  However, I wish he had spent more time on security with HTTP Queries.  At first glance, this feature appears to have far too many security holes in it to be useful even in an intranet environment.  I'd feel more comfortable implementing this if I knew more about how to lock it down.
Chapter 15 XML and SQL Server: OPENXML shows us how to work with XML documents within our stored procedures.  I work on a couple of projects that could benefit from this feature as our XML is stored in SQL Server tables.  Ken covers all the in's and out's of this process including obstacles to implementation.  In fact, he goes so far as to write workaround procedures for you.
Chapter 17 Performance Considerations discusses much more than just creating indexes as many books do.  Ken explains how SQL Server stores and access data as well as exactly how indexes work.  He also covers defragmenting indexes in great detail.  I'd read this chapter the first day you buy the book.  You may have some old and large indexes in SQL Server that are likely to benefit from defragmentation and greatly improve performance.
This is only a small sample of the information contained in this book.  Ken covers quite a few other subjects such as arrays, undocumented procedures, error handling, and much more.  If you want to take your development skills to the next level, pick this book up today.  You'll be surprised at just how little you know and how easy Mr. Henderson has made it for you to learn.

Robbe has been a Microsoft MVP in C# since 2004.  He is also the co-founder of which provides .NET articles, book reviews, software reviews, and software download and purchase advice.