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Visual Studio Code SQL Server Tool Gets IntelliCode, Object Explorer

The mssql extension for Visual Studio Code, used to support SQL Server connections and T-SQL editing, has been updated with IntelliCode functionality and a new Object Explorer, among other new features.

Developers use the mssql for Visual Studio Code extension to create projects leveraging Microsoft SQL Server, Azure SQL Database and SQL Data Warehouse.

When writing T-SQL scripts, developers could utilize Go to Definition, T-SQL snippets, syntax colorizations, T-SQL error validations, GO batch separator and IntelliSense. With the new update, that IntelliSense functionality has been boosted to IntelliCode, the enhanced technology that adds artificial intelligence smarts for code completion tasks and more.

"Today we're sharing a wonderful collaborative effort with the Visual Studio Code IntelliCode team," said Alan Yu, SQL Server program manager, in an Oct. 17 blog post. "If you haven't heard of IntelliCode, we highly encourage you to read the general availability announcement from Build 2019. "IntelliCode is a set of AI-assisted capabilities that aims to improve developer productivity with features like contextual IntelliSense, code formatting, and style rule inference. With this release of the mssql extension, we now support IntelliCode in the mssql extension."

IntelliCode suggestions are listed at the top of IntelliSense code-completion lists, marked with stars. Now, developers can see IntelliCode suggestions for T-SQL reserved keywords including SELECT, FROM and WHERE, to name a few of the most popular choices. Using IntelliCode in VS Code requires first installing the Visual Studio IDE IntelliCode extension in the Visual Studio Marketplace.

Also new in the mssql VS Code tool are what Yu described as the No. 1 and No 2 most-requested features as identified in developer feedback over the past two years: SQL Server Management Studio Object Explorer and SQL Server command line (SQLCMD) support.

"An object explorer allows developers to easily make connections to their SQL servers and databases and explore the hierarchy of the SQL Server instance," Yu explained. "Users can also easily launch new query windows for specific databases or even run a basic SELECT TOP 1000 on a table. This makes it much easier for developers to explore the structure of a database."

A new SQLCMD mode, meanwhile, helps developers write and edit queries as SQLCMD scripts, and then execute them.

Other new features in the update include various bug fixes and support for the Microsoft.Data.SqlClient client access library, which is replacing the old System.Data.SqlClient, the ADO.NET provider used to access SQL Server or Azure SQL Databases in the old .NET Framework, being subsumed by .NET Core.

More information can be found in a new tutorial titled "Use Visual Studio Code to create and run Transact-SQL scripts."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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