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A Wish list for the Microsoft Flying Squad

By Tony Davis,

One hears that Microsoft makes great efforts to listen to DBAs, regardless of experience or background. They have a dedicated team whose job it is to fly all over the world, visiting organizations big and small, watching and learning how they work, and finding out what tools they need. The problem is not that Microsoft isn't willing to lend its ear to new feature requests, but rather that they sometimes forget to finish off the ones we've got.

Often, a really good idea gets developed to the point where it is almost very useful, but its development is then suspended, tantalizingly, and never finished off. It is as if the attention of the developers was distracted by a shiny initiative elsewhere and they never returned to finish the job. Here are some examples of what I mean.

Extended Properties

Extended properties were a good idea, and they certainly work, but they have never been widely adopted because they are difficult to use programmatically, and never integrated into IntelliSense.

Proper support for structured headers

It would be great for the thinking behind SQL Metal and DBML to be integrated with XMLDocs. This would allow for sensible use of structured headers in SQL Code, which in turn will then allow 'tooltips' intellisense in SSMS

Parameter substitution in SSMS templates

I love the idea behind Templates, but parameters can only be supplied to the template via a form. The use of the data type has never been thought through and isn’t used even to validate the input from the form.

Finish off SQLCMD

SQLCMD is let down by the reluctance of Microsoft to finish it off and extend its use. It is frustrating to use because of its shortcomings and the differences between ODBC and SSMS 'SQLCMD-Mode'. As a result, it has great potential that has never been realised.

Provide an ODBC text driver to Conformance level 2

What about an ODBC TEXT driver can write out text or alter it? Wouldn't it be great to have a text driver as versatile as the others? When one considers how much work is done every day, by DBAs trying to get data into and out of text format, surely this would be a big win?

I invite readers to add their suggestions to the list!



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