Monthly Archives: April 2017

Graphic effect formatting across documents and applications

Microsoft introduced themes back in Office 2007, but sad to say, most people don’t understand themes today any better than they did back then. They could tell you that a theme has something to do with styles, formatting, and colors, but if you press them for details, you get averted eyes and foot-shuffling. Is a theme built into a document, or is it a separate file? Is a theme the same thing as a template? How do you share themes between applications? In this article, I hope to clear up some of the persistent confusion around what exactly a theme is and how it does its magic.


What is a Theme?

A theme is a named group of settings that you can apply to a document to change its appearance. At a minimum, it includes three elements: colors, fonts, and effects. (In PowerPoint, your choice of theme also affects a couple of other aspects of the presentation, such as background image and variants.) Themes have names, such as Facet, Integral, and Ion; these names are the same across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, so you can use the same theme in each application for consistency.

A theme is not the same as a template. A template is an entire document file (or workbook, or presentation), but with a different extension to designate it a template rather than a regular document. It’s a full-fledged reusable sample. A theme, on the other hand, is just a collection of settings that can be applied to a document.

Is a theme a separate file? Well, it depends on what you mean by theme. The word can refer to the current theme settings in a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document file, and in that sense, a theme is contained within the document to which it is applied. But theme can also refer to a file with a .thmx extension that stores theme settings independently of any data file.

AlwaysOn and Availability Groups

With SQL Server 2014, Microsoft continues to push the high-availability (HA) and performance (scale-out) bar higher and higher. Extensive HA options such as AlwaysOn Availability Groups and AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances, coupled with a variety of Windows Server family enhancements, provide almost everyone with a chance at achieving the mythical five-nines (that is, 99.999% uptime). We’ll dive into the AlwaysOn new features in this chapter. This capability is taking the database world by storm. It is truly the next generation of HA and scale-out for existing and new database tiers of any kind. Some of the concepts and technical approaches in AlwaysOn and availability groups might seem a bit reminiscent of SQL clustering and database mirroring because they are. Both of these earlier features paved the way for what we now know as AlwaysOn and availability groups.


What’s New in SQL Server AlwaysOn and Availability Groups

Now, with a couple of years under their belt with these features, Microsoft is starting to open up several of the previously tight limitations such as the number of secondaries allowed.

  • You can use AlwaysOn and availability groups with complex data managed through FILESTREAM, even when using Remote Blog Storage and FileTable.
  • Up to 8 secondary replicas can be defined for any one availability group. This used to be 4 secondary replicas max.
  • There can be up to 3 Synchronous Commit replicas.
  • And, client applications can achieve failover across multiple subnets (as many as 64) almost as fast as they can achieve failover within a single subnet.