6 Sources of Information on SQL Server 2008
Given the popularity of Microsoft SQL Server, it should come as no surprise that tons of helpful resources are available for SQL Server database designers, developers, and administrators. Here are a few of the best sources of insight for SQL Server 2008.
Microsoft SQL Server website: This is a great place to get started learning more about SQL Server. Aside from the usual marketing-flavored imagery, you find a variety of valuable product and technical details that you can use to further your understanding of all things SQL Server.
Microsoft SQL Server Developer Center: In an effort to support software developers, Microsoft offers a comprehensive set of services known as the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). This content-rich website offers a broad suite of software available for purchase to anyone, not just subscribers. It contains white papers, technical briefs, and a deep knowledge base that you can search to get answers to your questions.
Wikipedia: This Internet-based, open source encyclopedia is a great source of information about all technology topics, including relational database theory and practical application. For example, here's a link to a very comprehensive article on database normalization in theory and practice.
Newsgroups: These collaborative spaces are an immense help when you're struggling with a technical problem. Chances are that someone here can address your question. In the past few years, Google has done a great job helping to organize and rescue Usenet. It's easier than ever to access these groups via your browser.
User Groups: These gatherings of like-minded individuals are a great place to enhance your understanding of SQL Server 2008. Some groups meet virtually, while others have physical events; some groups span both realms. Here are two of the better and most relevant, Internet-focused user groups:
If you'd rather meet and greet your counterparts face-to-face, chances are that an Internet search can locate a good user group not too far from you.
Data generation tools: Generating sample data by hand is one of the more tedious tasks you face when building and testing an application for your SQL Server 2008 installation. Fortunately, tools are available that can automate this for you, freeing you to spend time developing and then tuning your application. To list one example, many programmers have had great success with the DTM Data Generator.