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UPDATE: Getting Visual Studio 2012 and SSDT to Work Together

In the midst of my playing around with the new SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT), the Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate came out. So I thought I'd upgrade to the RC. Silly me. One of these days, I'm going to learn to do a little advance research before blindly plunging into these kinds of projects.

I spent hours repairing, removing and re-installing various packages until I seemingly got it to work correctly (except for the SSDT Power Tools' Schema View functionality). Unfortunately, I didn't take notes because I didn't think it was going to be that much of a problem, but it turns out a lot of other people have experienced the exact same issues. A reader on the Visual Studio blog announcing the RC summed it up nicely: "Avoid this for now if you have SSDT installed, you are greeted with a lot of errors both in VS 2012 AND VS 2010 after upgrading."

I wouldn't say you should avoid the upgrade, though. They do work together. More information on the problems experienced and how some users got the two products to play nicely together can be found on this forum thread. Definitely read it before you install the RC with SSDT.

Also, note the following from the "Visual Studio 2012 RC Compatibility" page in the MSDN Library about compatibility with Visual Studio 2010 Database (.dbproj) projects:

If you convert the project to a SQL Server Data Tools Database project, you can open it in Visual Studio 2012 RC. However, Visual Studio 2012 RC doesn't support the following artifacts:

  • unit tests
  • data-generation plans
  • data-comparison files
  • custom rule extensions for static code analysis
  • server.sqlsettings
  • .sqlcmd files
  • custom deployment extensions
  • partial projects (.files)

If you install SQL Server Data Tools, you can open the project in Visual Studio 2010 with SP1 after the migration. For more information, see Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools.

It's a different story for Visual Studio 2008 database projects, though, as noted in the RC Read Me file:

1.3.5 Database Development
1.3.5.1 Upgrade of Visual Studio 2008 database projects to SSDT is not supported

When a Visual Studio 2008 database project is opened in Visual Studio 2012 RC, the user is prompted to upgrade. Completion of the upgrade steps appears to succeed, but the project still cannot be loaded because an upgrade to SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is not supported.

To resolve this issue:
There is no workaround.

I'm not slamming Microsoft here at all. These issues happen all the time with pre-release products. Considering the complexity of the software involved and the myriad possible configurations and setups of user systems, I'm frankly amazed that they work as well as they do. I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort by slowing down, getting organized, doing advanced research and taking notes while I proceed, preferably on a virtual machine in case something goes wrong. Lesson learned.

Yeah, right.

What do you think about the RC? Why are so many developers so upset about the use of ALL CAP menus? Comment here or drop me a line.

UPDATE: Janet Yeilding on Thursday posted a blog item explaining the issue: symptoms, cause and workaround. The workaround, taken directly from her post:

To fix your installation, find Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Data-Tier App Framework in Programs and Features and Repair it. You may have multiple versions of DacFx, so make sure to repair version 11.0.2100.60 (note that on x64 machines, there will be two entries for 11.0.21.00.60 and both should be repaired). After this step, SSDT should load successfully in all Visual Studio shells.

-- DR

Posted by David Ramel on 06/05/2012 at 1:15 PM


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