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SQL Server 'Juneau' Developer Tools Needs Testers

You can be among the first to get your hands on the cool new 'Juneau' database development tools if you're willing to test them and provide feedback to Microsoft.

The company is now courting TSQL developers to join the SQL Server Developer Tools Advisory Program. Those chosen to participate will get early access to the package, which features a beefed-up code editor integrated with Visual Studio, a new table designer and a single project type for multiple platforms, among many other improvements.

Earlier, I wrote about the company's similar program for "Denali," code-name for the next version of SQL Server, which will feature the Juneau tools.

The new Juneau-focused advisory program was announced in a blog by Microsoft's Tiffena Kou last week.

Kou said the improved TSQL editor, which will feature IntelliSense, code navigation and language support similar to that of C# and Visual Basic, is just one of the new features of Juneau that has been publicly announced, with more improvements to be revealed.

One new feature was revealed at the Tech-Ed conference in Atlanta last week in a keynote address and demonstrated further in a session hosted by Bill Gibson and Mark Wilson-Thomas. "It's a new local database runtime, which is a new feature in SQL Server Denali," explained Gibson, a principal PM architect at Microsoft, in a session titled "Database Development with SQL Server Developer Tools codename 'Juneau.'"

He described it as "a local database that you can run on your desktop, and it's a single-user, single-instance, on-demand activated version of SQL Server. An incredibly cool, lightweight, test-and-debug feature, if you will." The new feature was revealed when the duo did an F5 project build in Visual Studio and chose the database runtime as the deployment target. Gibson said the new runtime can be used for applications, but the main use for database developers will be for testing and debugging.

One cool aspect of the SQL Server Developer Tools (SSDT) demo was how Gibson and Wilson-Thomas worked while connected to a database via a new SQL Server node in the Server Explorer window on the left-hand side of the Visual Studio IDE. Right-clicking on a table in the node tree opened a new query window in which queries could be instantly executed, just like SQL Server Management Studio. But they also could take advantage of features such as a buffered declarative approach, model-based coding with error detection, a code-backed designer and the "modern TSQL coding experience" with IntelliSense, code coloring and so on.

Later, they switched to offline development, using the familiar Solution Explorer on the right-hand side of the Visual Studio IDE. They explained how this let them use "all the project goodness" while working on a source code-backed model rather than a database-backed model as they had done earlier with the Server Explorer on the left-hand side. This enabled source code control, application lifecycle management and other project-based features. They went on to cover new functionality such as drift detection, snapshots and publishing to SQL Azure.

If you're "interested in evaluating all the cool ideas we are toying with," as Microsoft's Kou phrased it, you can "self-nominate" with a Windows Live ID. You'll need to sign a non-disclosure agreement and give details about your company and database projects. "The Advisory program lasts for 6 months," Kou said. "Program participants will have access to SSDT product prototypes in videos and pictures every month, and participate in surveys to give us feedback on the new ideas we are showing."

Go here to sign up.

What do you think of Juneau/SSDT? Please comment here or drop me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 05/26/2011 at 1:15 PM


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