Articles

(Latest revision: December 18, 2013)

On this blog you’ll find a mix of typical blog posts and some longer posts as well.  These longer posts are what I’d like to call articles, and they’re usually written in tutorial-style.

This page is meant to contain a list of all the articles, grouped by category and sorted chronologically with the newest first.  This makes it easier for everyone to find them and gives an easy-to-use overview of what’s available.

SQL Server

.NET CLR

Calling A Web Service From SQL Server 2005 (2008/11/11)

Learn how you can get results from a web service inside a stored procedure.  Involves the creation of a custom CLR procedure in C#.

T-SQL

Aggregating Data With The OVER Clause (2010/06/01)

Did you know that you don’t necessarily need to use GROUP BY to aggregate your data by something?  Find out how to use the OVER clause in combination with PARTITION BY and make those queries more readable, easier to maintain, …

Management Studio (SSMS)

SSMS: Connect To Several Servers In One Click (Okay, Two) (2012/11/24)

Since I discovered this trick I use it every time I open the Management Studio at the customer, so useful!

Reporting Services (SSRS)

The "Select ALL" parameter option [SSRS] (2013/12/18)

Read this article and find out how to implement a custom “All” item for both single and multi-valued report parameters.  You’ll also discover how you can check if “All” is selected.

Creating Multi-Column Reports: The Top-Down Version [SSRS] (2013/07/17)

Follow-up article on Creating Multiple-Column Reports.  Read this article to find out how you can create “top-down newsletter-style reports” in which the data gets spread over multiple columns from top to bottom!

Formatting Dates [SSRS] (2013/07/12)

In a previous article I explained in detail how to format numbers, in this one history repeats itself but in the context of date and time data!

Formatting Numbers [SSRS] (2013/06/12)

If you’ve ever wondered how to get a number formatted in a certain way then here’s your definitive guide!  And you’ll even learn a couple of tricks along the way, such as formatting mixed currencies with the right symbol and finding the right description page for a particular function.

Hidden Collections in SSRS (2013/03/19)

You’re probably already familiar with some of the collections such as ReportItems and Parameters.  But did you know that there are two hidden collections?  Find out what they’re called in this article!

Filtering Data Without Changing Dataset [SSRS] (2013/03/02)

The most practical way to limit your recordset is by using a WHERE clause in the dataset query.  However, sometimes you’re in a situation where this is not an option.  Find out what you can do to achieve the same result without modifying the dataset query, including filtering on multiple values!

Shall We Join Or Shall We Split Now? (2012/12/11)

Find you all you ever need to know about two very useful functions: Join() and it’s twin Split().

Creating Multiple-Column Reports (2012/11/01)

Would you like to get your multi-column, aka newsletter-style, reports to work with all renderers?  Then have a look at this article, it explains how to achieve newsletter-style behavior by just using regular tablixes.

Displaying Checkboxes In An SSRS Report (2012/08/04) (CP/EEA/EC/Nexus 7 Contest Winner)

Ever needed to display a checkbox on your report? You know, the “Yes or No” control? Find out three different ways of accomplishing that goal in this article, including one that uses the Indicator control!

Building Reports With Dynamic Datasets (2012/03/20)

How can you deal with a dataset which doesn’t always return the same fields, if that’s even possible at all?  Find out in this article!

Where The Sheets Have A Name (2011/03/23)

Export your reports to Excel while giving the sheets a customized name suitable to your needs, as of SQL Server 2008 R2 it’s possible!

Cascading Calculated Fields (2011/03/07)

We all know cascading parameters, right?  How about cascading calculated fields?  Can one calculated field depend on another one?  Find out in this article!

Hide/Show Items Dependant On Export Format (2011/01/18)

Sometimes you want your report to behave differently when it gets exported to another format.  Before SQL Server 2008 R2 this was quite a challenge.  Not anymore thanks to the Globals!RenderFormat field!

Put Some Images On Those SSRS Reports (2010/07/07) (EE)

The article shows you three different ways of adding images to your reports.  If you’re struggling with your images, or you just haven’t done that before: this article is for you.

Implementing Data Bars In A Grouped Table (2010/05/27) (EEA)

Make your data tables more graphical by using the Data Bar, a new feature in SSRS 2008 R2.  Explains how they can be customized over the different levels of a grouped table.

Looking Up Data On Different Sources (2010/05/16) (CP/EEA)

Demonstrates how the Lookup functions – new in SQL Server 2008 R2 – can be used to retrieve data from a other datasets to be displayed inside your favorite data region.

Your First OLAP Report (2010/01/24) (CP/EEA)

Aimed at SSRS developers who are new to reporting off SSAS cubes.  You’re introduced to some typical terms from the OLAP world, shown how to set up your first report with data from a cube and given an explanation on why certain features are working the way they do.

Reporting On Data From Stored Procedures (part 2) (2009/11/21) (EEA)

Explains how to set up a multi-value parameter in your report and use it in combination with a stored procedure.  Shows how those multi-value parameters are working behind the SSRS scenes.

Reporting On Data From Stored Procedures (part 1) (2009/11/10) (CP/EEA/EC)

Introduction for people new to SSRS.  Explains how data can be retrieved using a stored procedure.  Starts with an explanation of what stored procedures are, continues by implementing a simple stored procedure call and finishes by adding a parameter to the stored procedure.

Pie Chart Techniques (2009/10/25) (CP/EEA)

Several techniques on optimizing the pie chart in SSRS 2008.  How to sort the numbers, making it readable by putting the smallest pieces into one separate item, show percentages in the labels, rotate it, put the labels on the outside and how the colors can be customized and even made dynamic.

Adding an Else to Your Switch (2009/09/14) (CP/EEA)

As you are aware, the IIF() function in Reporting Services has got a THEN and an ELSE part, similar to any IF functionality in other languages.  The more advanced SWITCH() function does not seem to have the ELSE part functionality.  Well, maybe it doesn’t but with some creativity you can create the ELSE functionality yourself!

Chart Optimization Tips (2009/07/20) (CP/EEA)

Read here about some optimization techniques to improve your SSRS 2008 column charts, such as showing all labels, rotating those labels, making numbers on the Y-axis readable and moving it to the other side.

SSRS and MDX: Detecting Missing Fields (2009/07/06) (EEA/EC)

Find out how you can retrieve data from an OLAP cube (SSAS 2008) while taking empty cells into account.  It also shows you how to color your data by using customizable thresholds.

The Power Of The Placeholder (2009/04/07) (EE)

The Placeholder is a new feature of SSRS 2008 and allows mixing different font styles in one textbox.  Find out how it works.

Integration Services (SSIS)

Exploring the System.Object Package Variable [SSIS] (2013/09/26)

Find out how to dump a record set into a package variable and then explore it in a .NET Script Task!

Counters In SSIS: What Are Your Options? (2012/07/21)

Ever needed to keep track of a count in Integration Services?  Find out three different methods and why I prefer just one of those three.  Demonstrates the new Expression task (SQL 2012).

SSIS, Flat Files And Accents (é, è, …) (2012/05/03)

Importing text with special characters (such as you have in the French language) from flat files can sometimes be troublesome.  Have a read through this article if you’ve ever struggled with getting those accents imported properly.

Passing A DateTime Parameter Into The Execute SQL Task (2011/06/11)

Passing parameters into the Execute SQL Task is fairly straightforward, except … when the data type of the parameter is DateTime!  Find out what your options are to get this working by reading the article.

Loading Complex XML Using SSIS (2011/04/20) (EEA)

What if your XML is too complex for the XML Source component to handle it decently?  Fear not because in this article I demonstrate an alternative method using XSLT!  Shows how the XML Task component can be used to apply XSLT to an XML document.

Loading XML Using SSIS (2011/04/07) (EEA)

Introduction into using the XML Source component to get some XML imported into the database.  Starts with an easy example, continues using a second example with some added complexity.

Calculating LastXMonths Aggregations Using T-SQL and SSIS (2010/08/26)

Need to know how to calculate running values using T-SQL and SSIS?  Then this is one for you!

The article demonstrates how to use the Merge Join SSIS data flow transformation component, and uses Common Table Expressions in T-SQL.

Importing Excel Data Using Integration Services (2010/04/20) (EEA)

If you’re looking for a way to get your Excel information imported into a database then this is one for you!  Shows how the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard makes use of SSIS while importing an Excel file.

Master Data Services (MDS)

Finding Similar Strings With Fuzzy Logic Functions Built Into MDS (2011/02/05)

During ETL processes you may come across strings that need to get compared to each other.  But what if those strings are not 100% identical and you still want them to match?  That’s where fuzzy logic comes in handy!  This article is all about that, and the Similarity function that ships with MDS.

Acronym Legend

Some of my articles have been republished at other sites such as Experts Exchange and SQLServerPedia.  Following acronyms are used to indicated where they’ve been republished and any accolades which they have received.

Acronym Meaning
EE Published at Experts Exchange
SSP Published at SQLServerPedia
CP Community Pick at Experts Exchange
EEA EE Approved at Experts Exchange
EC Editor’s Choice at Experts Exchange
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