RegexReplace in SQL Server

My last post was about SQL Server. Even 10+ years later, I’m continually amazed by features which are daily use features in MySQL and Postgresql which are missing from MS SQL Server.

Regular expression matching and replacing is a severely lacking feature.

Sql Server 2005 introduced a means to write user defined functions in .NET code, so this method is uploaded to a sql server and exposed as a function.

public static SqlString RegexReplace(SqlString input, SqlString pattern, SqlString replacement)
    var result = System.Text.RegularExpressions.Regex.Replace(input.Value, pattern.Value, replacement.Value);
    return new SqlString(result);


Now you can use it in select statements.

SELECT        Name, dbo.RegexReplace(Name, N'(?:\d+-)?\d+PPM’, N”) AS e
FROM            Table2


Or use it to update tables

update table2 set name=dbo.RegexReplace(Name, N'(?:\d+-)?\d+PPM’, N”)


I have absolutely no idea how any database developer could live without this kind of functionality.

SQL Server Command Line Administration

I don’t have SQL Management Studio installed. Perhaps I should install it, it would make my life easier.

Here are the commands I used to create a new database and add myself to it as administrator. I want to own the database too. I don’t want to have to be sa (root for you mysql folk) just to be able to create tables. I want to delegate the ownership of this database instance (not the whole sql server) to a non-admin user. This is just for me, for dev on my laptop.

C:\>osql -E -S .\SQLEXPRESS -V 2 -Q "create database test2"
C:\>osql -E -S .\SQLEXPRESS -V 2 -Q "use test2;exec sp_changedbowner [theknife\jrwren]"
C:\>osql -E -S .\SQLEXPRESS -V 2 -Q "exec sp_configure ‘clr enabled’, 1"
Configuration option ‘clr enabled’ changed from 0 to 1. Run the RECONFIGURE
statement to install.
C:\>osql -E -S .\SQLEXPRESS -V 2 -Q "reconfigure"

Finding this set of commands was the must frustrating experience that I have had in a VERY long time. It made me long for Postgresql or MySQL.

ASP.NET via Mono and Apache

In my last post I showed how to build Mono trunk on the latest Ubuntu. I pointed out that I am using it on a “server” install of Ubuntu. I don’t have GTK+ or GTK# installed. So what good is Mono? Its good for hosting ASP.NET web applications.

  1. Configure an apache development environment.
    sudo apt-get install apache2-prefork-dev
  2. Grab my mono-dev-update script and tell it to only do mod_mono
    ./mono-dev-update –m mod_mono
  3. Install the apache module
    pushd /opt/mono/src/mod_mono ; sudo make install ; popd
  4. Enable the apache module
    pushd /etc/apache2/mods-enabled;ln –s ../mod_mono.conf . ; popd
  5. Restart Apache
    sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  6. Test it
    echo ’<%=DateTime.Now%>’ |sudo tee /var/www/index.aspx
    curl localhost/index.aspx

You should see the current date and time displayed. If you don’t, you have done something wrong.  Note that quotes paste poorly out of wordpress, so you may need to type out some of these commands.

Mono trunk on Ubuntu Jaunty

With the release of Ubuntu 9.04 aka Jaunty later this month, I thought I’d share how to get a current version of Mono on the latest Ubuntu release.

For a number of reasons, Ubuntu always seems to be just a little behind current with its Mono packages. The largest reason IMO is the difficulty in properly packaging Mono for Debian/Ubuntu. I’ve tried and it is not easy.

  1. Make our install a tiny developer environment.
    sudo apt-get install build-essential subversion autoconf libtool bison gettext pkg-config libglib2.0-dev
  2. Install the old Mono 2.0 C# compiler from jaunty so that we can bootstrap the trunk compiler.
    sudo apt-get install mono-mcs
    ln –s /usr/bin/mcs1 /usr/bin/mcs
    This installs enough mono to let the C# compiler run. We will remove this and all its dependencies later.
  3. Fetch the source from SVN. I use a mono-dev-update script to checkout the first time and keep me updated. The script pulls and installs mono, mcs, xsp to /opt/mono on a default ubuntu server install once step 1 above has been performed. To build more parts of mono such as GTK# and MonoDevelop you will need more gtk+ library dependencies.
    sudo mkdir –p /opt/mono/src
    sudo chown $USER /opt/mono /opt/mono/src
  4. Remove the bootstrap mcs
    sudo apt-get remove binfmt-support cli-common libmono-corlib1.0-cil libmono-corlib2.0-cil libmono-i18n1.0-cil libmono-i18n2.0-cil libmono-security2.0-cil libmono-system1.0-cil libmono-system2.0-cil libmono0 mono-2.0-gac mono-2.0-runtime mono-common mono-gac mono-jit mono-mcs mono-runtime

The real work is done by the mono-dev-update script. Its a mess of bash script which has served me well for a couple of years now.

I’ll paste the current version of it here, but I’ll also try to keep it up to date for download here.

#Jay R. Wren <>
#   -s      skip svn operations. don't try to pull updates.
#   -f      force or configure to run.
#   -l n    set build level to value of 'n'. This controls optional package 
#           builds. Not used much
#   -n      no auto retry. if make fails, do not try to ./configure and 
#           make again.

export ACLOCAL_PATH=$MONO_PREFIX/share/aclocal
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$MONO_PREFIX/lib/pkgconfig:$GNOME_PREFIX/lib/pkgconfig
if [[ ! -d $MONO_PREFIX/src ]];then mkdir $MONO_PREFIX/src; fi
pushd $MONO_PREFIX/src

SVNDIRS="mcs mono xsp monodevelop gtk-sharp gtkmozembed-sharp type-reflector debugger banshee-sample-plugin olive mono-tools" 
MAKEDIRS="mono xsp debugger mono-tools monodevelop gtkmozembed-sharp "


while getopts :xvfsnd:t:cl:m: OPTS ;do
	if [[ $OPTS == "x" ]]; then outputStyle=xml ; optCount=$((optCount+1)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "v" ]]; then action=view ; optCount=$((optCount+1)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "f" ]]; then forceAGen="true" ; optCount=$((optCount+1)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "s" ]]; then skipsvn=1 ; optCount=$((optCount+1)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "n" ]]; then noautoretry="true" ; optCount=$((optCount+1)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "d" ]]; then DEBUG="$OPTARG" ; optCount=$((optCount+2)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "t" ]]; then transform="$OPTARG" ; optCount=$((optCount+2)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "c" ]]; then for i in $MAKEDIRS;do pushd $i ; make clean ; popd ; done ;exit ; optCount=$((optCount+1)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "l" ]]; then level="$OPTARG" ; optCount=$((optCount+2)) ; fi
	if [[ $OPTS == "m" ]]; then MAKEDIRS="$OPTARG" ; optCount=$((optCount+2));fi
if [[ $optCount != $((OPTIND-1)) ]] ; then echo "optcount($optCount) not equal to OPTIND($OPTIND)";fi

echo "using makedirs $MAKEDIRS"

echo "using prefix $MONO_PREFIX"

if [[ 1 > $skipsvn ]]; then
for i in $SVNDIRS
	echo -e "\e[1;31m pushd $i \e[m"
	if [[ -d $i ]];then
		pushd $i 
        if [[ ! -d .svn ]];then pushd .. ; svn co$i ;popd; fi
		echo -e "\e[1;31m svn info"
		svn info
		echo 'svn log -r `svn info|grep Revision|cut -f2 -d' '`:HEAD'
		echo -e "\e[m"
		svn log -r `svn info|grep Revision|cut -f2 -d' '`:HEAD
		echo svn up
		nice -n 20 svn up 
		if [ $? != 0 ]; then echo "ERROR: $?" ;popd ; break; fi
	echo "-s detected, skipping svn update"

#mono, xsp, MD, GTK# etc
function autogenAndMake () {
	echo "running for $*"
	for i in $*
		if [[ -d $i ]]; then
			echo -e "\e[1;31m pushd $i \e[m"
			pushd $i 
			if [[ -f "" ]];then
			if [[ "true" != $forceAGen ]]; then
				nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install  

			if [[ "true" != $noautoretry && $? != 0 || "true" == $forceAGen ]]; then 
				echo -e "\e[1;31m "
				echo 'make clean ; $PROG --prefix=$MONO_PREFIX --enable-aspnet --enable-aspnetedit --with-preview --with-moonlight && nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install'
				echo -e "\e[m"
				if [[ -f Makefile ]]; then make clean; fi
				$PROG --prefix=$MONO_PREFIX --enable-aspnet --enable-aspnetedit --with-preview --with-moonlight && nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install || break

#-l not  speced or even means build all - odd means build only banshee & olive
if [[ $((level % 2)) == 0 ]]; then 
autogenAndMake $MAKEDIRS

if [[ $level > 1 ]]; then
			echo -e "\e[1;31m pushd $i \e[m"
			pushd $i
			echo -e "\e[1;31m "
			echo 'make clean ; ./bootstrap-2.12 --prefix=$MONO_PREFIX  && nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install'
			echo -e "\e[m"
			if [[ -f Makefile ]]; then make clean ; fi
			./bootstrap-2.12 --prefix=$MONO_PREFIX  && nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install || break

if [[ $level > 1 ]];then
	for i in olive 
		if [[ -d $i ]] ; then
			echo -e "\e[1;31m pushd $i \e[m"
			pushd $i
			echo -e "\e[1;31m "
			echo 'make clean ; ./configure  --prefix=$MONO_PREFIX  && nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install'
			echo -e "\e[m"
			if [[ -f Makefile ]]; then make clean ; fi
			./configure  --prefix=$MONO_PREFIX  && nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install || break

if [[ $level > 1 ]];then
	if [[ -d banshee ]];then
	pushd banshee
		cvs up
		./configure --prefix=$MONO_PREFIX --disable-helix && nice -n 20 make && nice -n 20 make install || break


Excellence in Hiring and Practice

There was a Off Topic discussion on a mailing list recently which left me with these thoughts.

There is nothing wrong with expecting and even demanding excellence. It is these things which make society a better place. People do have a tendency of at least trying to live up to expectations. People want to succeed. The sad part is that there are so many employee positions which do not encourage or expect excellence. I feel it is not unreasonable that you have high expectations out of your interview candidates. I feel that it is important that we all recognize this problem in our community and recognize that it impacts the world as a whole.

While I’m not directly in the hiring position like some of the people ?venting? on the list, I will say that I’ve also been very impressed with a few of our straight out of college hires.(actually all, I credit good interviewing by the awesome people with which I work)

Extending this beyond just interviewing candidates, I was recently reminded of the importance of seeking excellence as we work. Sometimes as consultants we feel like doing things for our clients is a balancing act and that sometimes pursuing the best design isn’t the best thing for the client. Maybe sometimes that is true. But I think I realized that I was leaning toward the side of “settling” for non-excellent design. I shall not continue that. I shall provide a better balance of excellence.