Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Getting data snapshots with the MassDataHandler

[This was originally posted at]

The other day I had a to investigate some data corruption. A certain table started out with one set of data, I ran an upgrade process, and QA told me it wasn't upgrading correctly. The problem was that I needed to compare two snapshots of SQL data, from the same table. I know there are many ways to solve this problem. The way I solved it was with the open-source MassDataHandler.

One of the main purposes of this free tool is to convert data back and forth between an Xml format and stored SQL data in a database. So, with the "Use Existing Data" feature, I took a snapshot of the table (using a select clause to specify the columns and order) and saved it as an Xml file. I then ran some black-box upgrade process, and took a second snapshot of the table. Because I now had two xml files, I could easily just diff them (I prefer using Beyond Compare for this).

The idea was to reduce the problem from an unknown state (how to compare Sql data) to a known one (how to compare two Xml files).

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