Prompt 2.0 valuable, but flawed;
being built from scratch the Red Gate way
I’ve been reading the interesting forum discussion on SQL
Server Central about the free version of SQL Prompt made available by Red Gate
in May. Steve Jones very kindly invited me to clear up any misunderstandings in an open
letter to the community.
When we acquired SQL Prompt we knew that it was a popular
piece of software – clearly it had great potential. It’s always seemed unfair
that SQL Server professionals were the only ones denied the benefits of
Intellisense. But, despite its potential and popularity, SQL Prompt was very
early in its life and contained a number of significant problems.
Our original plan was to sell the tool shortly after buying
it, but after spending more than a month with some of our best people working
on it, there were still a lot of problems – many of which stemmed from the
fundamental design of the software. Technically, the right thing to do was to
start again. But while all this was happening, we’d been telling people that
SQL Prompt would be available soon. We faced two choices: Remove the tool from
circulation and disappoint those for whom SQL Prompt was already a massive
productivity enhancer, or provide the tool and risk damaging our brand by
selling something that had quality and design problems.
After some heated discussions, we decided to distribute the
product, but didn’t feel that we could charge for it because of the quality
issues. SQL Prompt 2.0 is a completely free product that has no time bombs or
other restrictions. This was controversial inside Red Gate because we were in
danger of damaging our good reputation for quality. But in the end, we thought
this was the right thing to do for the SQL Server community.
I take blame for the fact that we failed to amend the
licensing agreement for SQL Prompt, which mistakenly implies that it’s a
paid-for product. This was a blooper. Just to reiterate, v2 is free and always
will be, but we will stop distributing it when v3 releases in September. Right
now, focusing our testing and development engineers on producing a really
robust and feature-rich new tool, rather than hacking around with the old one,
is the right thing to do.
Our team (which includes Bart Read, our development lead) is
confident of delivering a really excellent new tool, SQL Prompt 3, at the end
of September. The full list price will be $195, but between now and the release
date we’re offering pre-orders at $99.
We believe SQL Prompt 3 is going to hit the spot. Providing
fast, accurate, flexible Intellisense that works seamlessly even with very
large SQL Server databases is a challenge, but it’s just the sort of challenge
we like to meet.
All the best,
Joint-CEO, Red Gate Software
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