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Microsoft Previews Cross Platform Tool for Working with SQL Server

| by David Iffland Follow 3 Followers on Nov 21, 2017. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

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Microsoft has released a preview version of SQL Operations Studio, their new cross platform database development tool.

The new tool was forked from Microsoft's successful cross platform code editor, Visual Studio Code, allowing it to run on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Given that SQL Server 2017 runs on both Linux and Docker; such a tool was necessary to make developing on those platforms easier. While there is a SQL extension for VS Code (vscode-mssql), Microsoft's SQL Server Management Studio only runs on Windows, so developing for SQL Server on non-Windows environments was awkward.

Microsoft has no plans to deprecate SSMS, just as they have no plans to deprecate Visual Studio. "The goal is to offer customers the choice of using the tools they want on the platforms of their choice for their scenarios."

Currently, SQL Operations Studio only supports SQL Server, Azure SQL, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse. Microsoft doesn't have any current plans to add JDBC support, but the product is extensible and could support other database platforms.

Some of the important features SqlOps provides include a T-SQL editor with autosuggestions and error checking, a robust query results viewer that can export to CSV and Excel (along with graphical query plan viewing), and the ability to manually insert/edit/delete rows directly on the table. An integrated object explorer lets developers browse through a SQL Server and view tables, views, stored procedures and more.

From an ops perspective, DMO query results can be viewed as a chart right inside the environment and added to a custom dashboard, though this process is currently a bit fussy.

Other cross-platform database tools exist, such as Dbeaver and JetBrains DataGrip. These support more than just Microsoft databases, but neither option is a silver bullet. DataGrip isn't free, and Dbeaver requires Java. But for developers that only work with Microsoft's database engine, this new tool is an obvious choice.

Both SqlOps and the mssql VS Code extension use the new SQL Tools API service under the hood, which in turn uses a subset of the SQL Management APIs that were ported to .NET Core (so they could run on non-Windows). This service is a VS Code Language Server, that provides the hooks necessary for VS Code to provide features such as language validation and error detection.

SQL Operations Studio is available on GitHub. This is just a public preview and the tool has a long way to go. Many suggestions have been registered on the GitHub repository, so the team will no doubt have plenty of work over the coming years. For now, you may not be able to put away SSMS for good, but for occasional and simple use, SQL Operations Studio may fit the bill.

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