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A new IDE for SQL Server?

By Phil Factor,

The Oslo project, now called ‘SQL Server Modeling’ promised a tool, a language, and a repository. The tool is called ‘Quadrant’, the language is M, and the repository seems to have become SQL Server. M is a simple modeling language for building domain models that aims to be independent of the repository, but the business decision seems to have been taken to tie it to SQL server and the Entity Data Model (Entity Framework and SSDS). It is now available in the ‘ SQL Server Modeling November 2009 release 3 CTP’ from Microsoft as part of Visual Studio 2010, and is planned to be shipped with a future release of SQL Server. It is well worth a look. I’m not sure whether Quadrant will morph into ‘SQL Studio’ , but it is a promising approach with novel ways of viewing, querying and editing data in a SQL database as a tree, list, table, or master/detail. Currently, it doesn’t replace SSMS entirely, but allows database creation, deletion, and some schema editing.

Why develop a new IDE? SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is a victory of ingenuity and energy by Microsoft in the face of an unpromising initial design. The result is that what you want is in there and yours for the taking if you know the rituals to get there. In its latest reincarnation, it provides a huge amount for the DBA with a memory for menu-paths and keystrokes, but frustration for the developer. Visual Studio provides a better platform for the occasional database developer, with the reassuring similarity to the procedural coding environment. However, there is definitely room for something that is more in tune with the way that database developers actually work. The current trend of providing different tools for the different roles, DBA and Developer, is bound to continue. There are interesting times ahead whilst the future of SSMS, currently built on the old pre-WPF version of Visual Studio, is determined. For me, Quadrant provides a nice simple interface, especially now they ditched the ribbon. We all have views about what we want for the next IDE for SQL Server and if you want your views heard, then why not try out the CTP and give the team your feedback?

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