Today we’re talking to William Burrows, a professor emeritus of the Foster Business School at the University of Washington and a Microsoft MVP for Visual Basic. He publishes tutorials on Microsoft technologies on his site, myVBProf.com.
Hi, William! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I am retired from the faculty at the Foster Business School at the University of Washington where I taught a variety of courses in the Information Systems area for a 25 year period. These courses ranged from introductory-level IS concepts to graduate-level courses on systems development.
After retiring, I taught several courses in our master’s-level IS program where the students were employed full-time. I started putting together online tutorials that the students could watch when it was convenient for them and it turned out that this approach worked quite well.
When I “really” retired, I decided to produce tutorials on emerging Microsoft technologies for the Visual Basic community. Since these tutorials were not specifically targeted for Foster students, I needed to find a hosting service, and that brought me to DiscountASP.NET.
When did you first become interested in web technologies?
My interest in web technologies started in the early 1990’s with the advent of the Mozilla browser. I started introducing HTML and active server pages into my courses in the mid 1990’s. That interest continued as Microsoft introduced ASP.NET and others introduced JavaServer Pages. My interests have continued to evolve with Silverlight and now Windows Store applications.
Which technologies are you using for myVBProf.com?
My site started as an ASP.NET forms site where I used Visual Studio. When Silverlight 3 was released, I decided to switch my site to that technology. With the release of Visual Studio 2012, I decided to switch back to ASP.NET forms using HTML5 for markup. The tutorial videos can be viewed with either the Flash plugin or an HTML 5 compatible viewer, so now the tutorials can be viewed in browsers that do not support plugins.
Since my tutorials are free, I have not needed a database to support registration of other activities. I maintain a site for a non-profit also hosted by DiscountASP.NET that uses SQL Server and I have had no problems creating and maintaining the database.
How did you come to choose DiscountASP.NET?
I started my site in 2004 with a different hosting company. I experienced a number of problems with this hosting company (technical issues, poor performance, and poor support.) I am a Microsoft MVP so I asked a number of MVPs for their recommendations and DiscountASP.NET rose to the top. Based on the MVPs recommendations, I switched to DiscountASP.NET and have been very pleased ever since.
We’re always glad to hear that! What do you like about our service?
There are a number of benefits. The first is reliability – the site has never gone down to my knowledge. Although I have not needed to use support very often, I have always found their responses to be fast and very helpful. Since I try to provide instruction on emerging technologies, I have appreciated the fact that DiscountASP.NET often provides “sandboxes” to experiment with technologies that are not yet released. These accounts are free and really help one get a better understanding of the new technology.
Now that you’re “really” retired, what have you been up to?
My wife and I live on a small island in Washington’s beautiful Puget Sound. I have been volunteering with local organizations that focus on maintaining a healthy ecosystem in Puget Sound.
Thanks for your time and support, William. We really appreciate it!
That is where we made the first public announcement of our new service we are calling Snapp. Snapp is our version of a .NET PaaS and for more information on Snapp head on over to SnappHQ.com and also check out the Snapp Blog.
Here are some pictures from the event. Since I worked the event/table solo, I didn’t have time to get a lot of pictures. But they had a photographer walking about so those pictures should be showing up online soon.
Sometimes our users make the mistake of restoring the wrong version of SQL Server to their database add-on. It’s really an honest mistake to overlook, especially if you’re a developer who works with different versions of SQL Server and is rushed for time.
The hard part for us as support staff is to decipher what the error message trapped actually means. Here’s the general error that is thrown when there is a mismatch in SQL Server version:
“The media family on device ‘Path to database file’ is incorrectly formed. SQL Server cannot process this media family.“
Not really indicative of the actual problem, is it? I’ve included a table which shows when this error is thrown:
|Database Backed Up From||Database Restored To|
|SQL Server 2012||SQL Server 2005|
|SQL Server 2012||SQL Server 2008|
|SQL Server 2012||SQL Server 2008 R2|
|SQL Server 2008 R2||SQL Server 2005|
|SQL Server 2008||SQL Server 2005|
An exception to this rule is when you try to restore a SQL Server 2008 R2 database to SQL Server 2008. This is the error thrown which is definitely a better message:
“The database was backed up on a server running version 10.50.1617. That version is incompatible with this server, which is running version 10.00.5828. Either restore the database on a server that supports the backup, or use a backup that is compatible with this server.”
Generally speaking, SQL Server databases are forward compatible (i.e. you can restore a lower version to a higher version) without any problems with the exception of SQL Server 2000. You cannot restore a SQL Server 2000 database directly to SQL Server 2012. It will throw this error:
“The database was backed up on a server running version 8.00.2305. That version is incompatible with this server, which is running version 11.00.3339. Either restore the database on a server that supports the backup, or use a backup that is compatible with this server.”
To restore a SQL Server 2000 database to SQL Server 2012, you will need to perform a 2 step process. You will need to restore it to SQL Server 2005, 2008, or SQL 2008 R2 first and then perform a backup. From that backup, you can restore it to SQL Server 2012.
You can always find out what version number of SQL Server that you are running by executing this T-SQL statement in SQL Server Management Studio:
Or there are nifty tables around the Internet which you can reference:
Now, if you want to restore a database from a higher version to a lower version, you can do so by generating a script. I won’t provide a step-by-step walk-through here as there are already many great guides on how to do this on the Internet:
At this time, we are in a beta phase and developers can sign up for FREE to test out the PaaS platform and provide us with feedback and suggestions. During the beta, we will continually be introducing new features and will be improving the system.
What is Snapp?
Our PaaS solution is an elastic cloud hosting platform for .NET applications. Snapp provides a scalable hosting platform where developers can increase or decrease the number of workers, but there is much more…
What is different about Snapp?
1. Deployment Options – Developers can deploy applications the way they want to without a learning curve. Snapp supports web standard FTP, web deploy, GIT, and Team Foundation Server.
2. Staging Done Right – Snapp is the first PaaS that comes with a configurable staging and production environment for every application. Developers can actually test their applications before it goes live.
3. Exception Management – Snapp comes with an exception management system to help developers identify issues with their application.
4. Easy Rollback – Eveytime an application is published from staging to production, we’ll keep a snapshot of the application in a repository. If anything unforseen should happen in production, rolling back to a previously working snapshot is just a click away.
Why launch a .NET PaaS?
Our focus at DiscountASP.NET from inception has been to empower .NET developers with hosting solutions. So we’ve been providing cutting-edge shared hosting solutions for .NET developers for the past decade.
But — we’ve also seen the needs of developers change over the last decade. And we will evolve too.
We’ve seen improvements in back-end cloud hosting technologies and changes in application lifecycle management with the adoption of a more agile and continuous development rhythm, and the increase in development activities in mobile web applications. When we asked ourselves what kind of cloud hosting solution we could offer to help make developers lives more productive, we kept converging on a Platform-as-a-Service solution.
Snapp is built on top of Antares, code name for Azure Services for Windows Servers. Antares is the same technology Microsoft uses to run Azure Web Sites, which is being made available to hosting partners. We’ve been working with Microsoft over the past year+ on Antares.
Call to Action -We need your help
Thank you for reading this blog post to the very end. Please help us by signing up for our FREE beta and taking Snapp for a spin. What we have here is still bare bones and please excuse the dust. We have plenty of great ideas cooking to make Snapp really rock and we could use all the feedback from you to help us improve Snapp and help prioritize the feature enhancements, to ultimately make your work more productive.