Microsoft updates tools for SQL, BizTalk

Microsoft Corp. released two developer toolkits Wednesday for building Web services on top of SQL Server 2000, its database product, and BizTalk Server, its software for tying together business applications.

The releases coincide with the launch of Microsoft’s Visual Studio .Net, which was rolled out this morning at an event in San Francisco by Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates, and is the company’s main suite of tools for building Web services applications.

The toolkit for SQL Server 2000 is supposed to provide a way for developers to turn applications written for Microsoft’s database into Web services, meaning they would be able to interact with applications at other companies or elsewhere in an organization regardless of who created the applications and what platforms they run on.

Called the SQL Server 2000 Web Services Toolkit for Microsoft .Net, it packages existing related white papers and Web casts with code samples and Version 3.0 of SQL XML, an update to Microsoft’s software for managing XML (Extensible Markup Language) data in a database, said Stan Sorensen, Microsoft director of SQL Server product management

Microsoft has been “dribbling” out updates to the kit in recent months, and today’s release is intended to put all of its latest technology in one place, he said. The company hopes the white papers and other materials will convince developers that building Web services isn’t as hard as many think it is, Sorensen said.

Developers can use the tools to expose stored procedures – the database functions invoked when an application is running – and server-side XML templates as Web services. They can also generate automatically the WSDL (Web Services Description Language) code describing the interfaces of a Web service, he said, allowing it to work with other applications.

The toolkit is available for download now for free at Microsoft offers technical support for users of the SQL toolkit, Sorensen said, although it doesn’t offer technical support for those working with its BizTalk toolkit, according to information on Microsoft’s Web site.

That kit, called the BizTalk Server 2002 Web Services Toolkit, serves a similar purpose as the SQL Server tool kit, helping developers turn BizTalk server business processes into Web services. It includes code samples written in both C# and Visual Basic .Net, the company said.

C# is a fairly new programming language that Microsoft developed and is promoting for building Web services. Many of its rivals, including IBM Corp., Oracle Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and BEA Systems Inc., have rallied around Sun’s Java.

The BizTalk kit ships with BizTalk Server 2002 and can also be downloaded at

Microsoft Canada Co. in Mississauga, Ont., is at