There’s a new version of SQL Server Developer Tools, codenamed Juneau. They are still at the community preview stage, but the new version is more stable and has a variety of improvements.
The improvements start with the addition of an object explorer for Visual Studio that lets you explore the tables and views of the database you’re connected to. Called SQL Server Object Explorer (SSOX), this works in a similar way to SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio).
In addition to viewing objects, you can create new ones, with an integrated table designer, for example. You can also create keys and indexes.
The T-SQL Editor has also been improved ‘as a result of some strong feedback’, as the SQL Server Data Tools Team blog post announcing the CTP puts it! The previous release lacked a number of basic options such as being able to see a schema view, and was criticised for its perceived awkwardness.
The new version is cleaner with more intuitive toolbars and menus. This is unlikely to be the way the editor looks in the final version, though, as the blog post says
“Although we have made a lot of improvements in this space, we are far from done, so expect more great things to come!”
New in this version is support for working offline and unconnected to your target database. This is intended partially for developing against SQL Azure databases. The way it works is that while connected, you run a wizard that creates scripts that you can then run to create a local copy of the data structures you’re programming against.
You can then work locally, including making changes to the data structures. There’s a schema compare option so you can see how your local copy varies from the original, and a refactor menu. If you are considering making a change to an object (renaming a table, for example), you can ask to refactor the change, and you’ll be shown every statement that will be affected. You’re also given a ‘change’ script that you can run to make the necessary changes.
The schema compare option has been improved from the previous version, with easier navigation and filtering.
More minor changes include the addition of a SQL menu to Visual Studio 2010 Database Projects rather than using its existing Data menu, and a new Data Tools Operations Window where you can see both progress and results of operations you’re carrying out in SSDT. The new release also provides support for all SQL Server 2012 object types, and updated support for SQL Azure.
You can find out more about the new release in the SQL Server Data Tools FAQ, and to try it for yourself it can be downloaded from the Data Developer Center.
What's new in SQL Server Data Tools CTP4?
SQL Server releases (Denali) available
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