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Refactoring and Static Analysis Added to "Data Dude"

by Jonathan Allen on Sep 11, 2007 |

Microsoft has released the first set of power tools for VSDBPro, a.k.a Data Dude. These include refactoring, static analysis, MSBuild tasks for data and schema comparison, and a dependency walker.

Data Dude, formally known as Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals, is an IDE for database developers who need more control over how and when schema changes are applied. The basic premise is that database developers should be able to work like software developers with changes being tested locally and applied via change-sets rather than ad-hock scripts.

The Power Tools for Data Dude has a number of enhancements that are sorely missing from the baseline product. The first in the list is a dependency viewer. It is not very interesting, but it is essential when trying to determine the impact of a change.

The refactoring support, while still limited, is definitely growing. The original release only contained a Rename operation. With the Power Tools installed, you also get:

  • Move Schema; this allows you to move an object between existing schemas
  • Wildcard Expansion; this will take any SELECT * and convert it in to a properly defined column list, if the table or view is referenced through an alias we will use the alias the properly expand the column list otherwise we propend the fully qualified table or view name
  • Fully Qualify Name; this will fully qualify each object reference, this disambiguates the your query statements completely

If a solution contains both a traditional C# or VB project and a database project, the refactorings can be applied across project boundaries. With this release it can only keep strongly-typed datasets in sync.

A new data generator has also been added. Data generators are used to populate tables with random test data, which is especially helpful when very large datasets are needed.

We added a new generator named the "Sequential Data Bound Generator", the big difference with the Data Bound Generator is that, this one only has a single row in memory at a given time and rows are dispatched in the order they are retrieved from the query results. The Data Bound Generator uses the query to fill a dictionary, holds this in memory for the duration of the generation and randomly select values from the dictionary.

MSBuild tasks have been added for comparing schema and data.

Finally, there is a static code analysis tool for T-SQL. Of the 82 rules identified, only 15 are included in this release. Still, DBAs and database developers are sure to find it just as invaluable as software developers find tools like FxCop.

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