Many database services are deployed that require human action when a certain threshold is reached or an event occurs. Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Notification Services provides a set of tools that allow developers to build applications that can utilize these services to create the mechanism for real time messaging: be it in the form of a pager or cell phone, on a Pocket PC, a pop-up in a customer facing application, or an embedded message on a Web page. The Notification Services are meant to be both highly reliable and highly scaleable, leveraging Microsoft .NET Framework and its Common Language Runtime (CLR). Notification programs can be built using push or pull, or using a subscription model.
Notification Services let developers generate notification messages in their application using a declarative program inside an Application Definition file that stores the logic of the required notification scheme. This file can contain logic written in XML, SQL joins, or with XSLTs (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations), all of which are rapid deployment methods. Developers will be able to deploy -- on a single server or group of servers -- notification applications that can generate millions of messages using cell phone's Short Messaging Service (SMS), e-mail over SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), Instant Messaging (IM using Microsoft Messenger, for example), or with .NET Alerts, along with other channels.
You'll find a technical overview of the Notification Service at: www.microsoft.com/sql/techinfo/development/2000/sqlnsto.asp; and information about the different editions of the service at: www.microsoft.com/sql/ns/NSChooseEd.asp. The Notification Service is sold on a per-server or per-seat basis.
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.