MS Azure – SQL Azure – Reliability update 001 (38 days) – using Azure Logic App to execute a Stored Procedure

So a month ago in an non critical application I set up a trigger for a stored procedure to copy records (about 3000) from one table to another 6 times a day.

Approximately 38 days in and I have 100% reliability.

I have firewalled the required IP addresses listed by Microsoft
Azure Logic Apps list of IPs for Firewalls

I will keep running this for testing purposes to identify the reliability and report back

MS Azure – TSQL a simple example using a Common Table Expression (CTE)

A common table expression (CTE) is a temporary result set that you can reference within a SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, or CREATE VIEW statement. A CTE is similar to a derived table in that it is not stored as an object and exists only for the duration of the query.

I’m finding them useful as you can use them within a view to contain all the references required for that particular view. This I feel makes things more maintainable.

An example of a simple common table expression (CTE) in T-SQL:

WITH CTE_EmployeeSalaries AS
(
    SELECT EmployeeID, Salary
    FROM Employees
    WHERE Salary > 50000
)
SELECT *
FROM CTE_EmployeeSalaries;

This CTE defines a virtual table named CTE_EmployeeSalaries that contains all employees with a salary greater than 50,000. The CTE is then used to select all rows from this virtual table.

Common table expressions (CTEs) have several advantages:

1.Improved readability: can make complex queries easier to read and understand by breaking them up into smaller, more manageable pieces.
2.Improved maintainability: Because CTEs are self-contained, they can be easily modified or replaced without affecting the rest of the query.
3.Improved performance: In some cases can improve query performance by reducing the need for subqueries.
4.Recursive queries: CTEs can be used to perform recursive queries, which are useful for querying hierarchical data such as an organizational chart or a bill of materials.
5.Temporary results: can be used to store intermediate results that are used multiple times within a single query. This can be more efficient than repeatedly calculating the same intermediate results.
6.Better alternative to view: CTEs can be used as an alternative to views, which can be difficult to modify and are not always optimized for performance.
7.Reusable: CTEs can be defined once and used multiple times within a single query or in multiple queries within the same session.

MS Azure TSQL writing comments

In TSQL, comments can be added to code in two ways:

1.Single-line comments: These start with two hyphens (–) and continue until the end of the line. For example:

-- This is a single-line comment

2.Multi-line comments: These start with a forward slash and an asterisk (/) and continue until the closing asterisk and forward slash (/). For example:

/*
This is a multi-line comment. It can span
multiple lines and is often used to provide
detailed explanations or to comment out large
blocks of code.
*/

When writing comments, it’s important to keep them clear and concise, and to use them to explain why something is being done rather than how it is being done. This helps to make your code more readable and easier to understand for other developers who may be reading it.

SQL Azure – Using Azure Logic Apps to execute a Stored Procedure in SQL Azure

It is important in a lot of systems to be able to run queries on a regular schedule. Previously I have outlined that this can be done using an automation account. It is also possible to accomplish this using an Azure Logic App to call a Stored Procedure.

The procedure is
Create Logic App
Add items to it

Firstly using SSMS connect to the database and create an example stored procedure.

CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[TestInsert]
AS
BEGIN
SET NOCOUNT ON

INSERT INTO dbo.T0003NLPRSitesTarget
(sitename)
SELECT Sitename from dbo.T0003NLPRSites
END
GO

Next log into your Azure Portal and identify the following icon

Select it and then hit the Add button..

You will be presented with the following screen

Now you should be taken to an overview showing that the logic app has been created

Hit Go to resource

You should be presented with the following screen

Here we choose Recurrence

You will be presented with the following Logic Apps Designer

Here is an example
Interval is like how many times the logic app will run over what Frequency
So if we put 3 in Interval and Frequency Day it would run once every 3 days
At these hours – sets specific times when the logic app will run within the set Frequency
On these days – allows for you to set what days the logic app will run At these hours

To explain the logic app running work from the bottom up. So the below example

On Monday, Tuesday , Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16 and 17 hours

Every week this will run (If Interval had been set to 3 it would have been every three weeks on Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the hours 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16 and 17 hours it would run.

Now hit next step and then type in execute stored procedure

You will first need to set up the connection to the database and then enter the parameters of the server database name database username and password or your chosen security to connect to the database and then you will be taken to the appropriate item.

You will need to set up the firewall on the server to ensure otherwise the logic app is likely to stop working at somepoint..

You can get a list of the appropriate firewall rules to set up by going here..

Managed connectors outbound IP addresses

So after further testing with the following parameters I discovered that in practice SQL Azure is a bit loose about the hours recurrence option. For example the following

Has been runnnig at 43minutes past the hour. Which is indicative of when I hit a run trigger at..

I will be checking to see when it next runs but I suspect it is going to be 17:43

SQL Azure (Basic notes on backup operation)

If you are running things on the cloud you always want to be thinking about backups and ensure that you are really aware of what is happening with backups and how to restore from backups. You should regularly check what is happening with backups and regularly practice restoring databases.

Basic / Standard and Premium SQL Azure has two basic options for restore.

Point in Time Restore and
Long Term Retention

They perform the same task – they collect old databases that can be used to restore to a server if need be but what varies in the UI by which you restore them.

First point – Long Term Retention Policy is attached to the server and you go into it by first navigating to your server and then looking to the left hand section marked as Data management.

Select Backups and you will be presented with a list of all the long term backups of the databases on that server. The following are a couple of basic dtu databases and what can bee seen on the fictional server 01SeverName

In the above table you can see that Long Term Retention policy has NOT been set. How do you change this.

Firstly ensure that you are on the retention policies tab and then tick the particular database you would like to set the retention policy for in the lower section this will allow you to Configure a policy for that particular database.

Here are the options for a BASIC DTU database

Compare this with the options for a database in the Standard Tier

Set it up and then hit apply and you should be good to go.

MS SQL Azure – CREATE USER with read only access to 2 tables

In a lot of situations you may need a satellite website feeding off the main website with greatly reduced access.

It is a good idea to only give that user access to only what they need and limit it down to the bare minimum.
Here I have an azure database called LandRegister and I connect to it in the usual way through SSMS.

Use LandRegister

USE LandRegister
GO

CREATE user TestUserRestricted with password = 'Password01';

Next you can go to the security section after a refresh to see if the user has been added.

And then grant access to the tables you wish them to see.

USE LandRegister
GO

GRANT SELECT on dbo.T0003NLPRSites to TestUserRestricted
GRANT SELECT on dbo.T0024Authority to TestUserRestricted;

TestUserRestricted can now be used by your web application without any fear that
1) A USER cannot login to a server through SQL Server Management Studio
2) That they can see anything except the tables listed.
3) That in this case they can do anything except select statements on the stated tables. (So no write delete or updates on table)

Here I give full access to the table

USE LandRegister
GO

GRANT INSERT,SELECT,DELETE,UPDATE ON 
dbo.T039Country to TestUserRestricted;

And it works with views as well

Use LandRegister
GO

GRANT SELECT on dbo.v032 to TestUserRestricted;

MS Azure & Web Applications – TSQL Create a check constraint on nvarchar column specifying a minimum length in DB and through the front end ensure enforce OWASP security

Double security!
Enforce length in database and then through the front end by validating in this case password values (PHPRunner example).

First the backend
You have a nvarchar(128) column in MS Azure SQL Database (or any Microsoft SQL Server database) and you wish to add a check constraint that does not allow a value in the column to be less than lets say 15 characters long.

tablename = users
field = userpassword

ALTER TABLE dbo.users
ADD CONSTRAINT [MinLengthConstraint] 
CHECK (DATALENGTH([userpassword]))>14;

And then a good way to check the constraints on an individual table using TSQL through SSMS for MS AZURE.

SELECT TABLE_NAME, 
CONSTRAINT_TYPE, 
CONSTRAINT_NAME 
FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLE_CONSTRAINTS 
WHERE TABLE_NAME ='users';

Front End
Now for double security in your web application use a regular expression to prevent users entering a weak password.

^(?=.*\d)(?=.*[a-z])(?=.*[A-Z]).{15,128}$
^               # start of the string
(?=.*\d)        # a digit must occur at least once
(?=.*[a-z])     # a lower case letter must occur at least once
(?=.*[A-Z])     # an upper case letter must occur at least once
.{15,128}       # 15-128 character password must be a minimum of 15 characters and a maximum of 128
$               # end of the string

OWASP – Open Web Application Security Project

SQL Azure – Creating a numbers table using a Cartesian Product and then expanding dates between two field values for individual records

The following code uses a Common Table Expression to create a numbers table ,which is then used to expand all dates between two date values of an individual record. This structure could be used in a variety of circumstances where you are needing to charge costs to a product over a period of time or if you are needing to record consecutive dated values between two dates.

I am using Whisky Casks as an example here. Imagine a cask came in on a day and needs to be matured for a period and there will be a charge for every day that the cask is being stored to an account. Clearly going forward you might want to set up an overnight process to create the daily charges. But what happens where you wish to retrospectively create charges. Charge records will build up quickly and it will be difficult to manually keep on top of the required record correction.

Firstly I create a table that will hold a single record for each date a cask is in bond between the two tables. There are additional columns here as I need them for my use case (casks in bond).

SET ANSI_NULLS ON
GO

SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
GO

CREATE TABLE [dbo].[t066tempexpand](
	[pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
	[chargedate] [datetime] NULL,
	[accountcode] [nvarchar](16) NULL,
	[pkidt002] [int] NULL,
	[pkidt053dailystoragecharge] [int] NULL,
	[locationwarehouse] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
 CONSTRAINT [PK_0000temp] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED 
(
	[pkid] ASC
)WITH (PAD_INDEX = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS = ON, ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS = ON) ON [PRIMARY]
) ON [PRIMARY]
GO

Next we create a CTE numbers table and use this to explode a single record for each dated day between the two dates in this case bondindate and a disgorge date. I have an extra filter here that filters what casks are being put into the table (here pkid>2000). Other filters could be where disgorgedate is not null. The following line will be used to identify the charge date.
dateadd(day,v.number,d.bondindate)
and
join Numbers v on v.number between 0 and datediff(day, bondindate, disgorgedate)
The first line shows the date that will be charged. The join is particularly elegant as it filters or restricts the records within the numbers table stored as a common table expression to multiple records of an individual cask based on all dates between two field values. The starting date identifies where to explode from and the second identifies the ending date (in this case the disgorge date) identifies where it must end. Another example if you were wanting to bring it up to todays date or the day before today , if you have an overnight process running at midnight getdate()-1.

The cross join in the common table expression definition is used to create a cartesian join on itself, from my investigations there is no particular significance to the sys.columns table used other than this is a system table that holds all columns in all tables in the database and therefore is likely to be somewhat large. It so happens in the database that I am using there are a lot of tables and a lot of columns so a single self cross join creates more than enough numbers than I will ever need. If you wish to create further records you can further cross join the sys.columns table on itself by repeating cross join line with subsequent aliases eg (cross join sys.columns c). After experimentation I discovered for instance if I left out the cross join there were only some 4,000 records in my numbers table. This is suspect reflects the fact that I have 4,000 columns in the tables of my database. In my case 4,000 X 4,000 or the cartesian product of the sys.columns table on itself results in 16 million records more than enough numbers for me. It should be noted that I am restricting the CTE numbers table to the top 20,000 anyway which in our case relates to over 54 years which is more back dating than I think I will ever need. It should be noted the original code I discovered had three cross joins presumably because the number of tables and so columns in the database was much smaller.

;WITH Numbers(number) AS (
  select top(20000) row_number() over (order by (select 0))-1
  from sys.columns a
  cross join sys.columns b
)

INSERT into t066tempexpand
(chargedate,
accountcode,
pkidt002,
pkidt053dailystoragecharge,
locationwarehouse)
select 
dateadd(day,v.number,d.bondindate) 
chargedate,
accountcode, 
pkid,
pkidt053dailystoragecharge,
locationwarehouse
  from t002caskfill d
  join Numbers v on v.number between 0 and datediff(day, bondindate, disgorgedate)
  where pkid > 2000

Here I am joining with an extra table to find out the daily storage charge and this is just a test.

select
a.chargedate,
a.accountcode,
a.pkidt002,
b.dailycharge,
a.pkidt053dailystoragecharge,
a.locationwarehouse,
b.chargecode
from dbo.t0000temp a
join dbo.v128dailycaskstoragelk023 b on a.pkidt053dailystoragecharge=b.pkid 
order by pkidt002,chargedate;

And lastly I insert all this information into a Charge history table.

INSERT INTO dbo.t0032chargehistory
(chargedate,
accountcode,
pkidt002cask,
chargedamount,
pkidt053chargecode,
locationwarehouse,
chargecode)
select
a.chargedate,
a.accountcode,
a.pkidt002,
b.dailycharge,
a.pkidt053dailystoragecharge,
a.locationwarehouse,
b.chargecode
from dbo.t066tempexpand a
join dbo.v128dailycaskstoragelk023 b on a.pkidt053dailystoragecharge=b.pkid 
order by pkidt002,chargedate;

SQL Azure – Create a Function that uses multiple If Else statements

Example create function code / SQL Azure / that uses the IF ELSE statement to calculate dates between three parameters(referenced to fields) to determine an integer difference between dates – in this case whisky in a bond we are calculating number of days and the parameters are – date cask arrived in bond, date cask out of the bond and date cask is disgorged.
In English I am calculating number of days in a bond from the bond in date to todays date if there is no bond out date or disgorge date. If either of those dates exist the number of days in bond is the bond in date to the earlier of either of those dates.

I add in an extra day so that if a cask comes in on Tuesday and goes out the following days the number of days is counted as 2.

Clearly this is a nice structure that can be used in multiple contexts with different factors. I use the most common option in the first switch in the thought that this will speed things up on the server.

CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[calculatedaysinbondcorrect]
(
@datebondin Date,
@datebondout Date,
@datedisgorge Date
)
RETURNS integer
as
BEGIN
DECLARE @date1 DATE, @date2 DATE, @date3 DATE;
DECLARE @daysinbond INT;

SET @date1 = DATEADD(DAY,-1,@datebondin)
SET @date2 = @datedisgorge
SET @date3 = @datebondout

IF ((@date2 is null) and (@date3 is null))
	BEGIN 
		SET @date2 = getdate()
	END
ELSE If ((@date3 is null) and (@date2 is not null))
	Begin
		Set @date2 = @datedisgorge
	END
ELSE IF  ((@date3 is not null) and (@date2 is null))
    BEGIN
		SET @date2 = @datebondout
	END	
ELSE IF (@date2 > @date3)
	BEGIN 
		SET @date2 = @datebondout
	END
ELSE IF (@date2 < @date3)
	BEGIN 
		SET @date2 = @datedisgorge
	END
ELSE IF (@date2 = @date3)
	BEGIN 
		SET @date2 = @datedisgorge
	END

SELECT @daysinbond = DATEDIFF(dd, @date1, @date2)

RETURN @daysinbond;
END

SQL Azure – Script to identify all Users in a SQL Azure DATABASE and how to remove Users

SELECT name AS username, 
     create_date, modify_date, 
     type_desc AS type, 
     authentication_type_DESC AS authentication_type 
FROM sys.database_principals 
WHERE type NOT IN ('A', 'G', 'R', 'X') 
     AND
          sid IS NOT null ORDER BY username;

And to remove a user one of the easiest ways both to see all the users and remove any of the individual users. After connecting to your Azure Database within the database in question identify the Security Branch and then the Users branch – right click on the user you wish to remove and select DELETE.

This follows on from the post whereby we were trying to creat a user see here
Creating Contained Users

SQL Azure – Azure Automation Hybrid Worker Setup and RunAs Account

The highs and lows.

You’re flying high – you’ve created a stored procedure that you’ve managed to reference in your automation account within a powershell runbook and you’ve got it nicely churning over on an extremely regular basis. You want to run it daily or weekly but as a test you run it hourly just to ensure that it works before releasing it to production. A day passes ok and you think wow this is really great. Then you forget about it and come back to it a week later. You find that somehow it stopped working at 1 am on Tuesday.

What happened????

Sorry you got hit by a block resulting from dynamic IP change on the runbook in the Automation Account – DAMN.
(there is probably a good reason for having a dynamic IP on automation accounts but damn it was really going too well)

So after quite a lot of investigation I found those in the know seemed to be saying the solution is.
Azure Automation linked to a Hybrid Worker

I kept investigating this and I kept getting directed to Microsoft documentation which although really extensive was just not helping me really get my head around things. It wasn’t until I found Travis Roberts that things started to click… I link to three of his videos below.

So the downsides of Hybrid Worker setup..

  • Despite being the recommended solution configuration is complicated.
  • You need to create a VM with a static IP just to run the hybrid worker (and then grant firewall access to the databaseserver for that VM)
  • That VM needs to have 2 cores and 4Gb of Ram (yes unfortunately not the smallest VM so you could be looking at $25 a month charge)
  • You need to set up log analytics
  • It is recommended that log analytics is in the SAME Azure location as the sample database BUT not all Azure locations have log analytics set up… Use UK South! Hands up who has already set up their server and just realised it is in a location that doesn’t allow log analytics.
  • So I was really struggling with this after my runbook unexpectedly started failing. After several days of reading and searching I found Travis Roberts. Hallelujah for MVPs.

    So I haven’t done it yet but I think the procedure can all be defined in here.

    1. Setting up an Azure VM with a fixed IP (It can be any VM but Azure is good for me)
    Setup VM with static IP
    The server you setup will need to have internet connectivity with SSL outbound on port 443

    2. Setting up Azure Log Analytics a step by step guide
    Setting up Azure Log Analytics a step by step guide

    3. Azure Automation Setup and Linking Log Analytics to your Automation account
    Set up Azure Automation and link it to Log Analytics

    4. Configuring an Azure Automation Hybrid Runbook Worker to run your runbook.
    Installation of Hybrid Runbook Worker
    Includes information about Runbook Worker Group and
    RunAsAccount
    You add credentials to the Runbook Worker Group

    Firstly a big thank you to Travis Roberts for putting out those videos he has loads of Azure Centric content on his youtube channel which you can find here

    CAVEAT I haven’t implemented this myself properly and at the time of writing(December 2021) those videos are a couple of years old now. At the start of one of the Videos Travis indicates that things are changing quickly in the space and expect that there has been changes since these videos. Lets face it this should really be easier to do Azure is just frustrating their users with this complicated configuration.

    SQL Azure – Using Azure Automation and Runbooks to Schedule an Azure SQL Stored Procedure

    Its vital to be able to run stored procedures on a schedule it can be extremely important for doing daily housekeeping.

    This site was where I learned how to do this.
    How to Schedule an Azure SQL Database’s Stored Procedure

    Runbooks sit in Azure Automation and a Runbook consists of a script that performs a task.

    Runbooks can be written in Python or Powershell. See the last part of this post for an important additional issue.

    "Data Source=01server.database.windows.net;Initial Catalog=database;Integrated Security=False;User ID=01userid;Password=JK12jl423;Connect Timeout=60;Encrypt=False;TrustServerCertificate=False"
    
    # Instantiate the connection to the SQL Database
    $sqlConnection = new-object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection
    $sqlConnection.ConnectionString = "Data Source=servername.database.windows.net;Initial Catalog=database;Integrated Security=False;User ID=userid;Password=password;Connect Timeout=60;Encrypt=False;TrustServerCertificate=False"
    
    $sqlConnection.Open()
    Write-Output "Azure SQL database connection opened"
    
    # Define the SQL command to run
    $sqlCommand = new-object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlCommand
    $sqlCommand.CommandTimeout = 120
    $sqlCommand.Connection = $sqlConnection
    
    Write-Output "Issuing command to run stored procedure"
    
    # Execute the SQL command
    $sqlCommand.CommandText= 'exec [dbo].[storedProcedure]'
    $result = $sqlCommand.ExecuteNonQuery()
    Write-Output "Stored procedure execution completed"
    
    # Close the SQL connection
    $sqlConnection.Close()
    
    Write-Output "Run completed"
    

    Honestly the hardest part is getting the code setting up the scheduling after that is relatively easy.

    WARNING : Runbooks have dynamic IPs so although you can set grant access to an IP your runbook will only run for a certain period before it stops working unless you either have a Hybrid Runbook Worker setup OR you allow Azure services and resources to access this server (which isn’t recommended) The next post I will do is my initial notes on how to configure a Hybrid Runbook Worker.

    SQL AZURE – Group records or widgets in Sets of a Specific Number

    Useful if you have factory products that are being packed into sets of a specfic number. In our case sixes.

    Swap out to a different amount if you need to. The last group in the record set will have a remainder level if the recordset is not perfectly divisible by the set integer.

    SELECT pkid,
    floor(((ROW_NUMBER() OVER(ORDER BY pkid))-1)/6)+1 as grpNum
    FROM t002caskfill
    

    Here is a screenshot of the above code being run on a table.

    SQL Azure – Dynamic SQL – Using a parameterized Stored Procedure to Create a View

    There are situations where you need to create SQL on the fly from a record that you are currently dealing with. This is sometimes referred to as Dynamic SQL. Here I start investigating creating a dynamically created SQL view using a stored procedure. In my case I was doing this so that I could create some particularly valuable values.

    Here we have a table called T0001Persons that has the following three fields

    PKID
    Firstname
    DateCreated

    How do we create a stored procedure that will Create a view

    USE yourdatabasename
    GO
    
    SET ANSI_NULLS ON
    GO
    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
    GO
    
    ALTER   PROCEDURE [dbo].[auditselection]
    (@firstname nvarchar(15),
    @Dcreate datetime)
    AS
    BEGIN
    SET NOCOUNT ON
    
    EXEC ('CREATE or ALTER VIEW v01 AS SELECT dbo.T0001Persons.PKID,
     dbo.T0001Persons.Firstname, 
    dbo.T0001Persons.DateCreated
    FROM
    dbo.T0001Persons WHERE dbo.T0001Persons.Firstname=' + '''' 
    + @firstname + '''' + ' AND dbo.T0001Persons.DateCreated < 
    ' + '''' + @Dcreate + '''' +
    '')
    END
    

    and then an example execution is

    EXEC auditselection 'Mark', '2021-10-03'
    

    Using the script as facility in SSMS we can identify the query that has been created by EXEC auditselection 'Mark', '2021-10-03'.

    SELECT dbo.T0001Persons.PKID, 
    dbo.T0001Persons.Firstname, dbo.T0001Persons.DateCreated
    FROM
    dbo.T0001Persons WHERE dbo.T0001Persons.Firstname='Mark'AND dbo.T0001Persons.DateCreated<'Oct  3 2021 12:00AM'
    

    Several things should be noted here

    Within the EXEC statement we use a single quote to escape the string and then a plus sign followed by the parameter to insert the parameter into the SQL that will be executed. A single quote is then used again to escape the code to go back into the string.

    But what if the SQL we want to run needs to include a single quote (which is often the case). I tried escaping the the string with a single quote and then a plus sign and then a Unicode Character references (only tried 39) surrounding a single quote but that didn’t really work.

    What did work was to have four single quotes with two pluses on either side.

    + '''' +

    Here a single quote escapes the code and starts the string again. Two single quotes together are interpreted as a single quote (clearly some kind of special interpretation is happening in the background) and then the last single quote escapes the string back into code.

    From a discussion on Stackoverflow I also found the option to SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER switch.

    If escaping your single quote with another single quote isn’t working for you (like it didn’t for one of my recent REPLACE() queries), you can use SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER OFF before your query, then SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON after your query.

    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER OFF;
    
    UPDATE TABLE SET NAME = REPLACE(NAME, "'S", "S");
    
    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON;
    -- set OFF then ON again
    

    Next up I will be passing parameters to parameterized stored procedure via PHP Runner where the parameters are taken from an onscreen record.

    PHPRunner create an event to pass parameters to a stored procedure

    This looks promising
    Passing one of the field values as a parameter:

    $sql = DB::PrepareSQL( "EXEC StoredProcNameHere ':1'", $values["FieldName"] );
    DB::Exec( $sql );
    

    and I have discovered that the :1 is considered a placeholder for the following variable and so passing two variables would come in as the following assuming both first and second parameters are text values. If :1 was the target of an integer instead of ‘:1’ we would have :1.

    $sql = DB::PrepareSQL( "EXEC auditselection ':1',':2'", $values["FieldName1"], $values["FieldName2"]);
    DB::Exec( $sql );
    

    This is php here the single quotes DO NOT escape the string. They will form part of the string that will be executed which is what I want.
    The string is not escaped until the double quotes. Confusingly two single quotes look EXACTLY the same as a double quote but they are completely different. If you use your cursor you can see that the double quote is a single character which is interpreted completely differently by the php engine.

    The following link may be important as well in determining what can be achieved
    Grid row Javascript API

    SQL Azure – Convert UTC to your local time – and an interesting observation

    Not unsurprisingly SQL Azure GetDate() stores datetime as a UTC value.

    If your application is hosted in a specific country it is likely you will wish to return that value to the local user in the local time.
    Here I host in the UK and want to display in the UK so my choice is simple enough.

    The default CONVERT() statement in the SQL Azure library will do this for you.

    An example of the statement with parameters is here (slightly confusingly here I have the field name as a reserved word but just ensure that your field name is in the square brackets)

    CONVERT(datetime, 
    SWITCHOFFSET([datetime], 
    DATEPART(TZOFFSET, 
    [datetime] AT TIME ZONE 'GMT Standard Time'))) 
    as UKTime

    And here is that statement included in a full query.

    And here is an SQL statement to determine all time zones currently observing daylight saving on your server.
    This query can also be used to identify the pre-defined text string parameter you should have for your convert statement.

    SELECT
      name,
      current_utc_offset
    FROM sys.time_zone_info
    WHERE is_currently_dst = 1;
    

    Running this I get the following..

    Now what is interesting about this is that the text string defined by Microsoft is GMT Standard Time and according to my investigations it definitely adjusts for British Summer Time (which most of the time is what I want!). OK but if you go to Wikipedia you get the following definition of what GMT is :-

    Greenwich Mean Time or GMT is the time displayed by the Shepherd Gate Clock at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. When the sun is at its highest point exactly above the Prime Meridian, it is 12:00 noon at Greenwich.

    GMT is not affected by Daylight Saving Time (DST) clock changes.
    The Greenwich Meridian (Prime Meridian or Longitude Zero degrees) is the reference point for every Time Zone in the world.

    Every 15° longitude represents one hour’s difference in time: (24 x 15 = 360, the degrees of a circle). You can work out the time at every location on earth if you know how many degrees it is east or west of Greenwich.

    GMT is not affected by Daylight Saving Time (DST) clock change -> So obviously that contradicts the definition in SQL Server – fair play to the engineer who set up the sys.table he just wasn’t aware. Probably won’t be changed now but its indicative of the danger there is in dealing with time when you need to be ultra accurate. Users tend to think that dealing with time is straight forward but in reality its not!

    SQL Azure – Trying to Alter Computed Column definition

    The situation – I have a computed column that I want to alter in SQL Azure

    After googling away it turns out you cannot alter a computed column what you have to do is drop it and then re-create it again..

    Bit disappointing – I then thought maybe I can just alter the function – Foiled AGAIN – that MIGHT have been possible but for the fact I needed to introduce an additional parameter into the function and that won’t work as I have to alter the parameter definition in the column definition which again is an alteration of the column..

    Oh well

    You might want to take a minute to compose yourself / make sure you’ve got a backup and then I guess go for it!

    ALTER TABLE dbo.t002table1
    	DROP COLUMN DistillPeriod
    ALTER TABLE dbo.t002table1 ADD DistillPeriod AS ([dbo].[calculatematuration]([t002table1].[dateoffill],getdate(),[t002table1].[disgorgedate]));
    

    SQL Azure – a short note on BAK and Bacpac files

    I note that for local SQL Express and I believe enterprise SQL Server there is the additional option of creating a Backup in SQL Express. I also note that from my reading Baks are considered preferable to bacpac files because they have enforced ACID compliance and that for large databases that are constantly being used they are recommended to bacpac files. SQL Azure doesn’t allow BAK file backups through SSMS from what I can see so if this is an issue for you consider temporarily disconnecting front ends from the database while a bacpac is conducted. If you need a bak file for some reason you can attach locally to a SQL Server instance and from there take a bak file.

    Something to be aware of..

    See this link for further information
    Blobeater blog post

    ASP Net Runner – Run a SQL Azure Stored Procedure from the web client

    Firstly create the stored procedure you wish to run in Azure SQL

    Here’s a simple procedure which triggers and update query that inserts records into table 34 from a view based on a flag in the table saying transform is 1 it then runs another query to set the transform field to 0 to prevent the insert happening again the next time.

    SET ANSI_NULLS ON
    GO
    
    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
    GO
    
    CREATE Procedure [dbo].[transformemail]
    AS 
    SET NOCOUNT ON;
    INSERT INTO t034 (pkid,body1,eplanno,money4,trandate,payref,wlcref,tranid,email,updated)
    SELECT pkid,body1,eplanno,money4,trandate,payref,wlcref,tranid,email,updated 
    FROM v031;
    UPDATE t032email
    SET transform = 0
    WHERE t032email.transform = 1;
    GO 

    Firstly navigate to the form you wish to put the code into and insert a button into that form.

    Next using your mouse select the button and on the right hit the button marked Edit button code

    This reveals the Button Properties window dialogue

    Please note there are three tabs at the top here marked

    Client Before Server and Client After – we will be placing code in all of them so take note

    In the Client Before tab I enter.

    params["txt"] = "Transformation";
    ajax.setMessage("Sending request to server...");
     // Uncomment the following line to prevent execution of "Server" and "Client After" events.
     // return false;

    In the Server tab I enter

    tDAL.CustomQuery ("EXEC dbo.transformemail");
    result["txt"] = parameters["txt"].ToString() + " complete";

    And in the Client after tab I enter

    // Put your code here.
    var message = result["txt"] + " !!!";
    ajax.setMessage(message);
    

    Now build the project and when you hit the button on the web client your procedure will be run on the server.

    SQL Azure – TSQL Script – Address table

    Designed to be used in conjunction with previous post Persons table. Will allow for multiple addresses for individuals. Country field to draw from Country table but I would not foreign key the value to country table identity but reference it to the actual name. Personal naming convention to name foreign keys after the pkid[tablename] I find that works well for me and seems very logical. I have a large system at work which simply names foreign keys fkid can be difficult to find what table it refers to resulted in me thinking hard about a naming convention for foreign keys.
    I like pkid[tableprefix]. I usually leave it at that have expanded below because its a single script and may or may not be used with an actual persons t0001 table.

    /****** Object:  Table [dbo].[t0002address]    Script Date: 01/12/2020 08:12:51 ******/
    SET ANSI_NULLS ON
    GO
    
    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
    GO
    
    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[t0002address](
    	[pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    	[flatfloorno] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
    	[housebuildingno] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
    	[streetname] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
    	[throughstreet] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
    	[locality] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
    	[towncity] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
    	[districtcountyregionstate] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
    	[country] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
    	[postcode] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
    	[dateentry] [date] NULL,
    	[dateexit] [date] NULL,
    	[currenta] [bit] NULL,
    	[currentset] [date] NULL,
    	[pkidt0001people] [int] NULL,
    	[updated] [date] NULL,
    	[created] [date] NULL,
     CONSTRAINT [PK_t0002address] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED 
    (
    	[PKID] ASC
    )WITH (STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF) ON [PRIMARY]
    ) ON [PRIMARY]
    GO
    
    ALTER TABLE [dbo].[t0002address] ADD  CONSTRAINT [DF_t0002address_updated]  DEFAULT (getdate()) FOR [updated]
    GO
    
    ALTER TABLE [dbo].[t0002address] ADD  CONSTRAINT [DF_t0002address_created]  DEFAULT (getdate()) FOR [created]
    GO
    

    SQL Azure – TSQL Script – Persons table

    A TSQL script to create a table to act as list of customers , application user list and for lookups for particular lookups.

    The automatestart and automatefinish will allow the automation of entry to an application starting and ending on specific dates.

    /****** Object:  Table [dbo].[t0001people]    Script Date: 29/11/2020 12:39:05 ******/
    SET ANSI_NULLS ON
    GO
     
    SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER ON
    GO
     
    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[t0001people](
        [pkid] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
        [title] [nvarchar](10) NULL,
        [firstname] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [middlename] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [surname] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [gender] [nvarchar] (1) NULL,
        [dateofbirth] [date] NULL,
        [username] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [email01] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
        [email02] [nvarchar](100) NULL,
        [mobile01] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
        [mobile01intcode] [nvarchar](4) NULL,
        [mobile02] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
        [mobile02intcode] [nvarchar](4) NULL,
        [landline] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
        [userpassword] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [clientlk] [bit] NULL,
        [userlk] [bit] NULL,
        [securitypermission] [nvarchar](50) NULL,
        [automatestart] [date] NULL,
        [automatefinish] [date] NULL,
        [nationalinsuranceno] [nvarchar](20) NULL,
        [pkidt0001mother] [int] NULL,
        [pkidt0001father] [int] NULL,
        [updated] [datetime] NULL,
        [created] [datetime] NULL,
     CONSTRAINT [PK_t0001people] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED 
    (
        [pkid] ASC
    )WITH (STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF) ON [PRIMARY]
    ) ON [PRIMARY]
    GO
     
    ALTER TABLE [dbo].[t0001people] ADD  CONSTRAINT [DF_t0001people_updated]  DEFAULT (getdate()) FOR [updated]
    GO
     
    ALTER TABLE [dbo].[t0001people] ADD  CONSTRAINT [DF_t0001people_created]  DEFAULT (getdate()) FOR [created]
    GO