Friday, February 23, 2007

Finally Using "Data Dude"

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals:

I've had it installed ever since the product RTM, but up to this point, I have resisted using it to actually manage my database projects.  But, today, I decided to bite the bullet and see exactly what it could do for me.

Ever since I saw the first demos at TechEd, I've been a fan of the features of VSTEDP.  Especially appealing to me is having full source control around every single database object, as well as the refactoring capabilities like renaming a table or column and have every reference (i.e., in views and stored procedures) also change to reflect the new name.  I imagine that deploying a schema change will be a delight, but truthfully, I haven't gotten that far yet (this is a real SQL 2000-based project that I'm working on, btw).

In fact, VSTEDP appears to be the first "Team Edition" SKU that adds value to Visual Studio that even a small ISV can take advantage of right out of the box.  I'm not easily impressed by the functionality of the other VSTE SKUs.

Despite all that it is, "Data Dude" apparently does not include all of the functionality that you are used to for managing live databases using Management Studio, or even Visual Studio's Server Explorer for that matter. 

My case-in-point for today's experience is the fact that everything in VSTEDP appears to be SQL-only.  There's no graphical capabilities for editing tables or relationships (Table Designer), etc.  Everything that you do (aside from the Rename Refactoring, as it would appear) results in a DDL script appearing in a code editing window.  Heck, even clicking on a Column name in Schema View doesn't let you edit any of the properties that show up in the Property list.

For what it's worth, I'm not DDL-dumb.  But, by the same token, I've gotten used to using the Table Designer to do my work, since I've been doing this using SEM since SQL 7.  I just shouldn't need to abandon that design paradigm in order to take advantage of "Data Dude's" useful features.