Sample Databases – Ye Olde Way!

Last week I was working on a SQL Server presentation, to explain the basic of databases and how SQL Server works to a few colleagues. At the end of my presentation, I wanted to show some demo queries. Normally I would create my own tables with sample data, but I want to give them the opportunity to repeat the demos again on their own.

Nowadays Microsoft offers you the AdventureWorks database as extra download for all new versions of SQL Server. But for some examples I just want a smaller database. In “Ye Olde Days” I worked with Pubs and Northwind. Those were small databases, that were still understandable for starters. My first encounter with SQL Server was on the pubs database, and it still sticks to me as “fun and easy”.

But if you try to find them, you need to download an MSI file that extracts the files to your local system. It contains the .MDF and .LDF file of both the Pubs and Northwind databases, and a ReadMe file. But if you try to attach these databases to a SQL 2012 instance, you’ll get an error. SQL 2000 databases can’t be automatically converted to be SQL 2012 compatible.

I’m glad that they decided to add the create script to the .MSI installer. There’s only 1 thing that doesn’t work if you run the scripts. Both scripts contain a call to sp_dboption. This is a way to change database options in SQL 2000-2008. This is removed in SQL 2012, and MSDN advises you to remove this functionality as soon as possible if you still use it in old systems. So after deleting these from the script, it works perfect. One thing I added for my own use, is after the databases are created, I set them to Read-Only. You can delete this from the script, or undo this after the generation of the database(s).

I’ve also included the ERD (Entity-Relationship Diagram) for both databases. This makes it a little bit easier to start using these databases. I found the diagrams by searching in Google for the name. In this case DataMasker hosted the files I wanted.

The reason to share these scripts is because I’m probably not the only one that still wants to use these databases occasionally. So you can download them by clicking the links below. If you want a backup or the .MDF and .LDF files of the databases, please contact me and we’ll work something out.

PubsCreation Script (.sql)
Pubs ERD (.pdf)

Northwind Creation Script (.sql)
Northwind ERD (.pdf)


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