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The benefits of this would be being able to demonstrate differences in indexing strategies and constraints. Also, creating views, stored procedures and UDFs for architectural questions.

This would obviously need to be carefully monitored and carefully designed.

If all users have access through a single SQL Azure login, you need to ensure that any user cannot change the password through T-SQL: ALTER LOGIN.

Everyone logging on as effectively the same person makes it difficult for people's work not to be stepped on, since typically ownership of an object you create means you can do most anything to it, and if everyone is logging on identically...

SQL Azure does support DDL triggers, so log tables could be made to keep track of when objects are created. Objects which are around for a certain amount of time could eventually be dropped automatically - however, obviously constraints may stop objects from being dropping in the incorrect order, so dependencies would have to be searched.

Perhaps the database could be restricted to only certain approved users, or perhaps objects could be nominated for moving into permanent demo schemas which demonstrate certain techniques to become part of a canonical data set.

Another possibility is to require users to develop in their own Azure database which the GUI can connect to (as a read-only user with all details supplied by the owner of the database), and then if their work is to be promoted into an official demo space, then it is pulled into the demo space. Thus the user is responsible for their own database, but Data Explorer can connect to it to demo some particular feature.

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Could you clearly state the feature request, hopefully as close to the top of the text as possible? The title should be a summary, you need to restate it in the body. No need for "Data Explorer" in the title, it's already in the tags. –  Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 4:36

2 Answers 2

I like this idea:

Take my proposal for a creating a standard pared-down version of the data dump. Allow anyone to spin up a new private Azure instance of that pared-down database with write access. But then only keep it alive one session at a time, so when you go away you lose your changes.

Then charge users who want their private copy to persist (keep their changes) or for a writable copy of the full data. Then also grant these customer the ability to choose whether or not to share read access to their persisted instance with the world.

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As a user, wouldn't it just be easier for me to setup a local DB? (Sqlite works if a heavier server isn't desired.) I have to be proficient in SQL syntax already, anyway. –  Gnome Jun 3 '10 at 4:58
    
I think there will be little tinkering with SO data and more demos of different indexing strategies on designs for other systems which users propose. i.e. they can be spun up empty. –  Cade Roux Jun 3 '10 at 5:20
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@The Cat The discussion on the main Data Explorer question centered on being able to have live demos for answers to questions which users ask where just table variables are not sufficient. –  Cade Roux Jun 3 '10 at 5:21
    
@TheCat - it's not exactly easy or quick to copy down a 4GB database. –  Joel Coehoorn Jun 3 '10 at 13:08

As a first step, support for #temporary tables would be nice. They only exist for the current connection (i.e. one web page request), but you can create indexes for them.

UPDATE: Confirming #temporary tables, indexes and procedures are now supported.

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@waffles I don't know if you've done something, or if I never checked before (checking old 'recent' queries... can't quickly find evidence), but #temporary tables are working now! cloudexchange.cloudapp.net/meta/q/2311 –  Mark Hurd Jun 5 '10 at 10:34
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wtf, I did nothing, azure must have just added support. wow –  waffles Jun 5 '10 at 12:10
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note GO support was hacked in by me –  waffles Jun 5 '10 at 22:30

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