I was in your shoes just a few months/weeks ago, but now feel very
comfortable with the concepts and how to navigate around, so don't
worry, it will get better.
But to answer your questions - to build a NS instance & application,
you will need to create (or copy & modify from the samples) two XML
files. One called an Instance configuration file (ICF) and the other
called an application definition file (ADF). The ICF contains
information about the machine, and other "instance-level" type things.
"Instance" here does not mean the same as a SQL Instance, so be aware
of that. The ADF contains info about the subscriptions, notifications,
You can choose to build your XML files in any text editor, or Visual
Studio, but all they are is XML. If running SQL 2005, you can then
build your NS instance, by browsing down to Notification Services in
Management Studio, and choosing "New Notification Services
Instance...." and browsing to your ICF. If you're like me, then you'll
receive several compile errors, which you'll have to troubleshoot and
fix. Then you have to run through several steps regarding security,
registering your windows service, etc. but you can look at BOL for
If you have some $$ to buy some books, I would also recommend Joe
Webb's "Rational Guide to SQL Server Notification Services" (written
for SQL 2000, but shows the concepts well) (
) and also Shyam Pather's "Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Notification
). I have read most of Joe's book and some of Shyam's book, and they
are both great resources.