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Tatworth

Introduction

Having used SQL Prompt on previous contracts I was looking forward to reviewing the latest SQL Prompt.  By gracious permission of my client, I was able to load one of my review licences to use against a SQL2005 development database.  This allowed me to give a SQL Prompt a thorough test.

Installation / De-Installation

Installation was simple except for the fact that the installation file was for the SQL Toolbelt and not for just SQL Prompt.  Unless you have time to immediately evaluate the other tools, I suggest that you do not install them as the evaluation time is only 14 days.

One important point for contractors like myself who need to install and later de-install their own software on client sites, there is a deactivation tool that be downloaded from http://www.red-gate.com/deactivationtool.

Initial Reactions

Although I had previously used SQL Prompt, I was very impressed by the current version. (I was so impressed that at several times, I behaved in a somewhat unprofessional manner and exclaimed “Wow!”).

Usage

SQL Prompt provides very useful intellisense within the remit of TSQL syntax.  If you type a line like this:

SELECT * FROM FRED

As the table name is being typed, you get a list of the matching table names.  Still not sure about the table, place the cursor above the table name and you will get an option to display the table columns and their data types.  Once you hover the cursor above the asterisk, you get the prompt to press TAB to expand to the column names.

Hover the cursor over a table name and after a few seconds you get a prompt to view the table columns. Click the prompt link and a pop-up will appear which can be dragged to a convenient place on the screen.

When creating an insert (on and otherwise empty new query), SQL Prompt fills in all the columns and creates a values list with dummy values such an empty quoted string, a data string or a number depending on the data type.  To make the DBA’s task even simpler, comments are added specifying the data type of each column.  This makes creating such TSQL so much simpler and now there is no excuse whatsoever for creating an insert statement without an explicit column list.

Short-comings

I found a few minor problems using SQL Prompt.

The first related to the extensive use of User Defined data types within the particular database I was using.  When I hovered the cursor over the table name the column data types shown was the custom data type not the base data type.  I have raised a product enhancement request at http://redgate.uservoice.com/forums/94413-sql-prompt-feature-suggestions/suggestions/2130627-expand-user-defined-types-in-table-display

The second related the intellisense failing if there the TSQL was invalid.  This would not be an issue if SSMS gave feedback that the TSQL was invalid.

The third item was that when writing multi-table TSQL it was sometimes necessary to open a new query window in SSMS in order to get the next section.

The only other shortcoming lies not in the product itself but in the paucity of training videos.  I urge Redgate to invest in getting some demo videos done be either Learn Visual Studio or Training Spot.

Conclusions

I recommend SQL Prompt to all SQL Server Developers.  It is a product that I estimate will pay for itself with improved developer productivity in one to two months or less. Posted on Saturday, October 8, 2011 9:50 PM | Back to top


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