4326 is an example of a Spatial Reference ID (SRID) and the STGeomFromText() method recognizes it and treats the incoming latitude and longitude values appropriately. In past Project Watches, I have suggested that competent IT people could write their own spatial data types, and that's true. However here, in this one method that can recognize and deal with 389 (including WGS 84) different spatial systems, you can see why it would be a great deal of work.
That's the geography related data, then, but what of SQL Server 2008 itself?
Microsoft's approach to security has become very rigorous of late, which is excellent. However, the security policy has clearly not had time to become completely integrated with the rest of the company's policies, as has been highlighted in our work with these core additions to the Microsoft stack.
As an example, Microsoft is keen that we make use of online help - so every time we used the help system Internet Explorer accessed the web. However, by default, the server is configured with IE Enhanced Security Configuration (Esc) set to "on". So all attempts to use the online help system got blocked.
You can, of course, try to add the site to the trusted sites (although this is somewhat tortuous) but it doesn't help because the help system is based upon manifold URLs. So you cannot realistically use the help system unless you disable Esc; which is what we have done. We do understand that you can have Esc "on" for the server and "off" for the workstations but in practice it is still a major inconvenience.
As a side issue, surely anyone who names a security enhancement "escape" either has a very advanced sense of humor or none at all. It is not clear which in this case.
Security aside, where are the stories of smoke, horror and woe in implementing the system on new editions of Microsoft software? You may notice that, so far, I have not said much about how the whole software stack has been running.
Remarkably, this is because - at least until now - the whole stack has been working far, far better than we'd anticipated. We have experienced no catastrophic crashes: neither the SQL Server 2008 database engine nor the Windows Sever 2008 operating system have ever crashed. On two occasions a process crashed in Visual Studio 2008, causing it to run very slowly thereafter. Both times this was cured by the time-honored practice of rebooting the server.
Given that all of the software on the machine is a community technology preview (CTP), and given the hammering it has had, I'm very pleased with this performance. I wouldn't be happy with it in production software but this is CTP. We're using it for development not production and it has proved eminently suitable for the job.®
Follow Register Developer regular Mark Whitehorn next time on Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 as he continues to roll out a spanking-new 1TB database for several thousand users on Microsoft's SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008.
Outdated concept, speed of light? Any proof of that (like Science or Nature papers, not Wikipedia or blogosphere stuff)? As Einstein (and Lorentz) would have it, and they may of course be wrong, it is not the speed of light in vacuum(!) that changes, it is the metric of space-time itself that changes in the presence of concentrations of mass/energy. I know there are theories out there stating speed of light may vary, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. In any dielectric medium, the speed of light differs from that in vacuum by a factor given by the index of refraction.
BTW the so-called superluminal expansion of certain quasars is NOT proof the light speed is different there, it can readily be explained by special relativity.
Meat and drink
Yes, this is all meat and drink to spatial IT types. When you try and squish a round earth onto a flat map you end up with all sorts of hideous complications. It isn't helped by the fact that the earth actually isn't round. And no, it's not exactly an (oblate) spheroid either. It's all lumpy and squished in funny ways. Dealing with those complications (and the historical legacy of past attempts) makes for interesting times and very ugly maths. A telling datapoint, the list of coordinate systems on my laptop (/usr/share/proj/epsg) lists over 3,200 different options (ok, so that includes projected and unprojected as opposed to the 388 unprojected from MS). Projected and unprojected? Yes, another wrinkle. Is it any wonder seasoned spatial operatives sigh when non spatial people proclaim it can't be all that hard and launch another wreck-in-waiting?
As to the second part of the article being the more informative, that's a matter of opinion. MS is so late to the spatial game, they're not going to make a huge difference. My feeling is at best they're going to stem migrations away from existing SQL Server environments where new apps require a spatial focus. Hopefully the benefit of this article may well be to stop general IT types from assuming spatial is a piece of cake, and consider calling in someone who's done it once or twice before.
outdated concept: speed of light
Light has been shown to travel at different speeds in different parts of the universe - we could do with returning to the good ol' reliable reference "stick" so as not to confuse matters :-p