OK, this is really the first thing “I” hate about SQL Denali, but I bet a fair number of you will hate this too. Once again, Microsoft has enforced the dictum that everyone must be either a Developer or an IT Pro. As Data Professionals, many of us have suffered as our employers can’t figure out where to hang us in the company Organization Chart, usually sticking us between Dev and Ops and letting the managers (and us) sort it out. This time, Microsoft has decided we are “Developers” and we shall get our help via the Web. Admittedly, Google makes a better index for Books-On-Line (BOL) than BOL index, but that is no excuse for crippling the documentation.
If you want a local copy of BOL, you will have to go through an insane number of steps to get it on your machine fully. It gets worse if this is a production machine (or operating under production protocols) where you don’t have direct Internet access. Let’s step through a BOL install to see just how bad it is.
First, you have to find BOL. It isn’t in the main download (CTP3). Tickle a search engine with the magic words “SQL Denali Feature Pack” and you will find yourself here eventually:
OK. Hit the “Download” button.
Gotcha!! You jumped to the actual feature pack page (http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/confirmation.aspx?id=26726
) while downloading a file with the following essential instructions:
Thanks Microsoft, I never would have figured that out on my own.
Scroll waaaayyy down and eventually get to here:
It is right between the Remote Blob Store download and the Upgrade Advisor Download, exactly where you would expect it to be.
Note this does not download any files (despite the essential instructions downloaded to get you here), it takes you to yet another download page:
Jackpot, not only do we get a real download, we finally get an explanation:
OK, Click the download and 200 MB later we have an install executable. Well, not exactly. We have a self-extracting ZIP file that copies its contents somewhere (Default is down in an AppData temp folder. )
Note the folder size and the file download size are identical. Yes, zero compression. A little digging tells us why:
Cab files. They are already compressed.
Meanwhile most of us are waiting for the installer phase to start. And waiting…. And waiting…..
Hmm. No installer app. Remember the web page above? No installer, we have to go to an app and yet another unique step to install local help.
For this part to work, you have to have loaded the DenaliCPT3 SQL Server Management Studio.
Bring up the Help Library Manager. You can do this from Management Studio or from the Start menu.
First, you have to tell it to use local help because that isn’t the default:
Then you have to actually LOAD the help (for those counting, we are now up to three copies; the raw download, the source folders, and the actual local copy).
Hang on, we are almost there. Browse to the files you extracted from the self-extracting archive (you do remember where you put them, right?)
One more “Simon Says” moment while you tell help manager to add the files you took four web pages to find, then had to download , then had to extract.
Simple, obvious, and easy. NOT!!!!
Given install paths like this, Oracle can win the usability wars just by standing still.