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I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

Building an SSMS Add-In Using Redgate Ecosystem

On Friday I was finally able to spend a couple hours looking at the Redgate Ecosystem, which is essentially a framework for building an SSMS add-in. In about 3 hours I was able to download the framework, take the sample solution and change it to run a script to generate a database snapshot of the selected database, and distribute it to a couple other people via an installer. Some quick notes:

  • Documentation is very sparse.
  • Example is really just to get to menus, nothing that does anything. I’d like to see it have a couple real actions packaged into a class library so the new user would have a better template for adding a new one.
  • Example is in C#. Nothing wrong with that, but I learned in VB so the {‘s and ;’s and case sensitivity slow me down some.
  • The installer in VS2012 doesn’t seem to support adding in the framework msi, so the user has to do two installs
  • Once you see where the code goes, I’d call doing the implementation close to trivial
  • The current (as of Friday) framework requires SmartAssembly which isn’t free. Found out the hard way when a test user downloaded the framework and it was a different version from what I built on!
  • If you can write some .net code you can do this

Most people probably use a script to generate a snapshot script, works well enough that way. Is having it a right-click away better? Arguably maybe! It’s definitely convenient. I can see without much work being able to right click to run a whole variety of scripts that are commonly used, easy and low hanging fruit. Better value probably calls from launching a real dialog (think replication, partitioning, log shipping) to do common if annoying tasks.

I’m not clear how much effort is abstracted by using the framework. I know back in SQL 2005 it was considered non-trivial, not sure if that has changed. Using it definitely let me focus on the task and not the plumbing. I suspect the success of the ecosystem idea may depend on that answer.


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