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Watching the Sands of Suggestion in #SQLPrompt

I enjoy themes, and when I ran across the SQL Prompt Treasure Island, I had to take a few minutes and go through it. I wrote about Code Snippet Code recently, and this post continues to move across the map.

Incredible Suggestions

The first thing that most people notice after they install SQL Prompt is the suggestions that pop up as you type SQL code. This was one of the first things that captivated my interest after I started using the product. Seeing lists of tables, of columns, of valid syntax, pop up as I type is so useful that I struggle when I don’t get the suggestion box. By default, this appears quickly, and one of my customizations is that I have slowed it slightly so that quick typos don’t pop the box if I get rid of them immediately.

However, as the Treasure Map shows, it’s not just suggestions, but also the fact that I can hover over a suggestion and get more data, like the code that defines a table, view, or procedure. This is especially handy when using views, as I’ll look to see if I’m starting to nest views in queries.

I do find that CTRL+Shift+D is one of the shortcuts that I often need. I may create a table or run some code in another tab, and I don’t get refreshed suggestions automatically. There is an experimental feature to auto refresh suggestions, but this means more polling of the database, and I try to avoid adding more load to processes that are running. The shortcut works well for me.

The Dependencies Tip

SQL Prompt has lots of features, and plenty that I don’t use. A few I don’t use because I don’t know about them. The dependencies tip is one of these. I didn’t know about it until I read the Treasure Map post, but now I think that’s a really cool features. If I’m looking to alter my schema, one of the important things to know is what dependencies I have. Certainly I could use SQL Search, but being able to quickly decide what objects I need to consider, or where I need to make other changes, is great.

The Treasure Map describes this, but I had to experiment a bit to understand how this works. I’ve added a short animation to show this.

dependencies

Now that I know this, I’ll get the list, copy it, and use it as a TODO list of things to alter in this same commit. I’ll also know where to test changes before I actually commit this code to a shared repo where others will see it.

There are plenty of other small features in this list, and you ought to experiment with these if you write a lot of T-SQL. You’ll find them to be helpful and handy.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

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