It's been a long road indeed. The wait for SQL Server 2005 has been the longest drought between versions since SQL Server was first introduced in the late 1980s. Even the complete rewrite of SQL Server that was accomplished with version 7.0 took only 3 1/2 years (we've been waiting on SQL Server 2005 for over five years).

Some things are, however, worth waiting for, and SQL Server 2005 falls squarely in that camp. The number and importance of new or rewritten features is almost staggering. This book is, however, about much more than just "what's new?"—it is about understanding in a very broad way a product that has grown to one of the largest, most diverse products in the marketplace. Perhaps even more importantly, it is about understanding how to develop systems and applications that both meet your performance needs and store your data in a fashion that maintains integrity of the data while keeping it reasonably usable.

For those of you that have read the previous versions of this book, there have been a few changes this time around. Specifically, the real "beginning" level discussion has been moved into its own Wrox book (Beginning SQL Server 2005 Programming). The beginning topics are still here for sake of completeness, but they have been condensed to be in more of a review model. Why? Well, in the previous version, we had a problem where the size of the book had grown to a point where it could not get any larger and still fit within bindery limits (in short, ...

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