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SQL Server Data Tools Now Supports SQL Server 2014

Fresh on the heels of SQL Server 2014 being released to manufacturing, the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) team yesterday announced support for the new version, along with numerous other enhancements.

One benefit of SSDT is that it lets database developers do more work in Visual Studio, without having to switch back and forth between the IDE and other applications such as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), among other things.

"The most important new feature is support for SQL Server 2014," noted Microsoft's Kevin Cunnane in a blog post announcing the new release. "We also have a number of new features for users of any SQL Server release, including Windows Azure SQL Database, plus plenty of bug fixes for issues raised by customers."

Among those other new features are: the extensibility of static code analysis; filter capabilities in an editable data grid; the ability to save data compare settings to a file (.dcmp); and more Transact-SQL Editor connection actions. Specifics include:

  • Code analysis has been improved by letting developers write custom rules to find issues that might not be detected by the static code analysis rules and validation functionality built into the database tooling.
  • Developers can now use a Filter and Sort Dialog Box to locate specific information that might not be readily discoverable when using SQL Server Object Explorer to "View Data" on a table. Cunnane said developers can now: hide specific columns from view; filer on column values; add alias for a column; and sort on one or multiple columns.
  • The Transact-SQL editor has been improved by the addition of "Disconnect All Queries" and "Change Connection" suboptions to the "Connection" menu option. The Disconnect All Queries suboption lets developers immediately disconnect all open query windows, while the Change Connection option can be used to switch to a different server connection in one step, without having to disconnect first and then reconnect. "This makes the editor more consistent with the experience in [SSMS]," Cunnane said.
  • Developers can now save Data Compare settings with one click, creating a .dcmp file to store all the required data.

Cunnane also noted changes to database tools extensibility capabilities. "With the new release of [SSDT] the core DacFx components are now installed directly inside Visual Studio," he said. "This has the benefit of supporting multiple Visual Studio versions (for example, VS 2010, 2012 and 2013) side by side on the same machine without requiring every version to be compatible with the same DacFx binaries."

Another improvement is better integration with Windows Azure. Cunnane noted that support for finding and navigating to Windows Azure SQL Database nodes was built into Visual Studio 2013. Now, developers have an option to right-click on a cloud database and choose to "Open in SQL Server Object Explorer."

"With this feature you no longer need to figure out the server name for your database or configure a firewall rule for your machine in the [Windows] Azure Management Portal," Cunnane said. "This simplifies keeping your Windows Azure SQL Databases in sync with your development environment." He also noted developers working in Visual Studio can now navigate directly to a database in the cloud and work on it in the Windows Azure Management Portal by right-clicking on the database and selecting "Open in Management Portal...."

The new version is available as a Web download for Visual Studio 2012, Cunnane said, while in the next few days developers should be able to access the Visual Studio 2013 download via the Visual Studio update channel with the commands: Tools | Extensions and Updates | Updates. In Visual Studio 2012, the commands will be SQL | Check for Updates.

Developers can use the Microsoft Connect site to submit feedback, ask questions or request bug fixes or seek further help in the SQL Server Forums.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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