VSTS for Database Professionals on my current project

On a current project I was interested in using VSTS for Database professionals to see if it could add any value with database management. Traditionally its been a very manual process as Visual Studio has not had any real support for it.

I also knew that Nick Weinholt is due to present at SDNUG on the topic of all things data related, one of which is VSTS for DB Pros, at the next meeting of SDNUG next Thursday, June 7th.

So I pinged Nick on MSN IM to get some of the early lowdown on the product. He quite liked the product and pointed out a few of its strengths like the Database schema comparisons (and by that I mean comparing db schema to another db schema OR to the schema defined in your Db project - its just another comparison), data generation, current data script generation, playing nice with source control tools, and full recognition of all the database aspects and objects.

So I installed it and started playing. All in all it looks very cool. Very script oriented in that everything works against .SQL scripts. There are .SQL scripts that represent all the objects within your DB and the final build produces a single .SQL script that is used to execute against your DB, or in the case of deploying your Db project, it just gets executed on your behalf. This includes any data related scripts, everything. That's right everything. Think of the project as an offline image of your database in script form.

One thing I did notice is that it keeps a temporary connection to a database that it seems to use for working with. This database gets created when you open the project, and removed when you close it. Not sure exactly as I haven't had time to figure out if its absolutely necessary yet.

The image here shows the -Database project with a GUID after it which is the temporary Db that DB Pro creates when I open the project.

I will say that it does take some getting used to. If you are going to use it, first install it, then download one of the many videos available from the DB Pro site that show what its all about. Work through the videos with the tool open, then you can apply it to a project of your own. I have also used red-gates SQL Compare tool and I think that Red-Gates tool is definitely easier to use. Without thinking, I can use the red-gate tool to compare a DB in a few minutes. VSTS DB Pro takes some getting used to. As to a proper comparison, VSTS DB Pro integrates fully with Visual Studio so its on a winner there but a full comparison is not something I could comfortably do just yet. At any rate, I am pretty impressed thus far.


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