Had to write about another thing that "caught my ear" at TechEd during a chalktalk by Rick Negrin about Service Broker usage patterns.

Service Broker supports "internal activation", that is, associate a stored procedure that gets invoked when a queue has messages to process as well as "external activiation". When using external activation, an event notification occurs when a queue has messages to process, and this notification is picked up by an external application; the external application processes the queue messages, out-of-process to SQL Server.

There is an SSMS template (see template explorer) for an internal activator procedure and an engine sample implementation of a class library to support SQLCLR activator procs. In addition, Remus Rusanu has written some excellent blog entries on activation program message processing patterns.

There is a sample implementation of an external activator as well. Rick mentioned "productizing the external activator for SQL Server 2008". This would mean making the activator part of the SQL Server product, along with the extensive testing and support that go along with it.

That's great news, and a supported, standard, configurable, external activator would make a great addition for SQL Server 2008. Now, about improved broker diagnostic and configuration utilities…and that SQLCLR support library….and improved SSMS support. Those would help things out too (some people are never satisfied).