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SQL Server Developers Get Taste of 'Juneau' Goodies

Here's good news if you're a database developer who doesn't like working with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS): You may not have to use it too much longer.

At the recent PASS Summit, Microsoft showed a packed roomful of database developers how the next version of SQL Server--code-named "Denali"--will include a unified development environment based on Visual Studio.

Officially called SQL Server Developer Tools code-named "Juneau," the new bells and whistles were demonstrated by Microsoft's Don Box during a PASS keynote address by Quentin Clark.

"What we're trying to do with Juneau is really advance the state of the art of database development," Box said as he demonstrated the new functionality in a Visual Studio shell. "What we're doing is, we're looking at all the stuff we've done in the past, all the stuff that's been done in Visual Studio, around doing things like .NET, C++, C<--we're trying to bring that goodness to the database development world," Box said.

Working in the Visual Studio shell, Box said, lets developers "take advantage of the new shell, the new WPF-based text editor, new language services. All those accrue value to the SQL Server product. And this also accrues value to business intelligence, so the BIDS assets are going to be in the same shell as our relational database assets."

With a nod to those who happen to like SSMS, Box demonstrated the "connected experience that an SSMS user is going to be used to, inside of Juneau."

Box showed how Juneau lets developers use the Server Explorer to drill down into a database and get the same preview that SSMS provides. "I can say new query and I get the new text editor with new language services on top of T-SQL based on the database I'm deployed against," he said. He showed a simple Execute command and said, "I also can do execute with debugging, so basically anywhere I see SQL text in a text editor, I can select it and either execute it directly against the database, or I can execute under debugging and just start doing step into or step over, anyplace I see text."

A new table designer was also demoed that used the Visual Studio style panes of code, design or a split between the two. When changes were made to the design pane, they were immediately reflected in the text editor pane, and vice versa.

Also, Box noted that the table designer lets developers easily see subordinate objects such as check constraints, primary constraints and indices. As he clicked through these items, the relevant T-SQL code was brought up in the text editor, with the affected columns highlighted.

And in some ways, Juneau will surpass SSMS. When using a CREATE view, Box noted that it's not idempotent, so any changes made would normally involve transcribing them into ALTER commands. "One of the things that we do in the tool which is an advance of what I have in SSMS today, is I have the ability to take all these pending changes which I've been accruing and say 'figure out the ALTER script for me.' So if I say commit all to database, we actually do analysis of all the source text that you've now accrued vs. the actual catalog in the database and we figure out what needs to be done to make this so."

Plenty of other cool things were shown, also, including FileTable file storage, semantic searching and version-awareness and edition-awareness, which means Juneau enforces language constraints depending on your target, be it Denali, SQL Server 2008 or SQL Azure. And speaking of Azure and the cloud, while Box didn't address it directly, one of the aims of Juneau is to "is to make developing for SQL Azure and on-site SQL exactly the same," according to a recent interview with Clark by The Register.

You can register and see the Box demo yourself--along with other presentations--at the PASS Web site.

While the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Denali was released at the Summit, developers will have to wait a bit to get their hands on the Juneau technology--it's scheduled to be included in the next CTP, with no expected timeline provided.

Posted by David Ramel on 11/15/2010 at 1:15 PM


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