Data Dictionary Creator 1.2 is out on CodePlex
We just released Data Dictionary Creator version 1.2 to CodePlex. Version 1.2 adds a lot of great features:
- Added documentation of tables as well as columns
- Changed Excel export from HTML based to XMLSpreadsheet to support separate worksheets for Table and Column documentation
- Improved error handling - detection of non-DBO logins, etc.
- (UI) - tab reorganization to fit workflow a little better
- (UI) - moved feedback and progress bars to statusbar for consistency
- Support for SQL 2000 and 2005 export scripts (there were several breaking changes from 2000 to 2005)
- Limited import functionality (SQL and XML)
- Added an Installer
DDC is a nice utility to help you document your databases. Even if that kind of thing doesn't appeal to you, you might want to check out the code if you're at all interested in using SQL Server Managment Objects (SMO) or saving data to multiple formats (Word via WordML, Excel SpreadsheetML, HTML) using XSLT.
Thanks to Ben Griswold (a.k.a. JohnnyCoder) who made this release possible, or at least kept it from being really crappy. Ben's been cleaning up my coding messes at three different jobs over the past nine years, and I was very happy to have his help for this release. Thanks, Ben!
Let me know if you'd like to contribute, or if you've got any ideas for making DDC better (I think the next big feature to be added is an import from Excel, but what do I know?).
I set up a walkthrough on the DDC Codeplex site, check it out!
You didn't check it out, did you? I thought you might not. No matter, I'm copying it below:
Documenting databases is fun again!
No, not really. But a least it's not a complete waste of time. Unlike those data documents you've written in the past, this one lives with your database (in SQL Server Extended Properties) so it stays up to date. Follow along and we'll show you how easy it is to create useful documentation for that good old Northwind database...
Make a connection
The first step is to connect to a database. You can enter a connection string or click on the "..." button to view the standard data connection dialog.
Hit the ground running - get advanced!
You can breeze right by the next tab (Advanced Settings) if you'd like, but it's got some neat gizmos that could save you some time. The two big features:
- Auto-Fill - this looks at you schema and adds descriptions for primary and foreign keys. You can customize the text these use.
- Additional Properties - By default, you're only filling in a simple "Description" tab. If you'd like add other columns to your documentation, you're going to want to look at Additional Properties.
Document that DB
Did you think we were going to do it for you? Nope! But we'll help:
- The user interface shows you column names and datatypes to help you remember what all those columns are used for.
- The datagrid lets you move around pretty quickly
- Your work is saved immediately, so you can work on it as time permits. Your edits are saved with the database.
Now that you've documented your database, you can export it to share with others. There are two ways to share it:
- Documentation formats (Word, Excel, HTML)
- Importable formats (T-SQL, XML) - these let other users import your documentation into their copy of the database
Here's what the export looks like in Excel. Note that the Table and Column documentation are on separate worksheets. Feel free to pick your favorite AutoFormat to pretty this up.
Here's the HTML export:
The next two formats are importable. The T-SQL export can be executed via Query Analyzer / SSMS, or it can be loaded by DDC.
Here's the XML format. The only reasons you'd want to use this are to import into another copy of the database via DDC, or to export to another format. All file exports actually start with XML and go through an XSL transform. You can check out the XSL folder and modify any of these, or create your own.
Copy that documentation with Import
You can use the Import tab to load previously exported documentation. Browser for a T-SQL or XML export from DDC. We do a few checks to make sure the file was created by DDC, then load the documentation into the currently connected database.