IN THIS CHAPTER
On June 22, 2000, Microsoft announced a new development platform named ".NET" (pronounced "dot-net") at the Forum 2000 conference in Redmond, Washington. The .NET platform vision was then shared with around 6,500 developers at the eighth Microsoft Professional Developer Conference (PDC) in Orlando, Florida, in July 2000. Bill Gates addressed the developers by saying, "The transition to .NET is as dramatic a transition as the move from MS-DOS to Windows." Announcements about a new programming language, C# (pronounced "c-sharp"); a new development toolkit, Visual Studio .NET; and several other features of the .NET Framework were made around the same time. Since then, Microsoft .NET has become the premier platform for building Windows, web-based, and mobile applications. For the past five years, developers have leveraged the Visual Studio .NET toolkit and the object-oriented classes provided by the .NET Framework library to build Windows Forms applications, ASP.NET web applications, mobile applications, and XML web services. As a matter of fact, almost all GUI tools provided with SQL Server 2005 are built using the Microsoft .NET Framework.
The .NET Framework is now integrated with the SQL Server 2005 database engine, allowing developers to write stored procedures, functions, triggers, userdefined aggregates, and user-defined types by using .NET languages such as C# and Visual Basic .NET. This chapter explores the .NET integration feature in detail from a database administrator's perspective. In this chapter you will learn about the benefits and challenges of allowing .NET code to run inside SQL Server 2005. Two examples in the final section of this chapter illustrate how to write stored procedure and functions using C#.
Let's begin with an overview of the .NET Framework and the common language runtime (CLR). If you are not familiar with .NET, then carefully read the following pages in order to better understand the integration of the .NET Framework with SQL Server 2005.