Deborah's Developer MindScape

         Tips and Techniques for Web and .NET developers.

July 29, 2013

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT)

We all use some type of data in our applications: configuration information, game scores, map coordinates, shopping cart details, or line of business information. All of that data needs to be stored somewhere and readily retrieved.

If that “somewhere” is Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or above, then the SQL Server Developer Tools (abbreviated as SSDT) are for you.

When working on an application that interacts with SQL Server, you may find yourself with two tools open. You have to work in SQL Server Management Studio to build and edit the tables, stored procedures, and views, then move to Visual Studio to write the code that accesses those tables, stored procedures, and views.

With the new SSDT features, it’s two tools in one! You can now do everything you need (plus more) in Visual Studio alone.

The new data features within Visual Studio include:

SQL Server Object Explorer

  • A mini SQL Server Management Studio within Visual Studio
  • It provides access to the majority of SQL Server Management Studio features that you need during development
  • No need for two separate tools.

The new SQL Server Database Project

  • This is different from the new database project that was introduced in Visual Studio 2010.
  • This new project type is much more than just database scripts.
  • It provides many features to help manage, version, and publish your scripts.

The SQL menu options

  • Schema Compare
  • Data Compare
  • Transaction-SQL Editor

The following blog posts provide more information:


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