Taking a gamble on Azure Data Studio Notebooks


If you’re a data professional or application developer chances are you’ve run into Microsoft SQL Server once or twice.

I would think that the majority of SQL Server professionals primarily use SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) to do everything they need in their day-to-day work and I’ll wager that many have never tried using Azure Data Studio; but, they should.

This post isn’t about why you should give Azure Data Studio a try. Instead, I’d like to focus on a new feature called Notebooks. If you’re unfamiliar with the notebook concept don’t worry they are easy to work with and actually quite cool.

A few things to know

  1. To start using Notebooks in Azure Data Studio, simply press CTRL-SHIFT-N or choose New Notebook from the File menu.
  2. You can add code or text blocks and they can be added before or after existing blocks.
  3. Each code block is similar to a stored proc in that declared variables and table variables are only available in the block itself and are not accessible to any other block of code.
  4. Temp tables are at the connection level and they can be used at anytime by another code block as long as they have been created before use. Nothing new here.
  5. You don’t have to use T-SQL. In fact you can change the kernel to several different types such as python. image

As it turns out I was on a six hour flight from NYC to Seattle on an old Alaska plane that didn’t have any screens in the seats. Having nothing better to do I thought I’d gamble with Notebooks or at least see if I could make a gambling game to use for demo purposes. ??  First thing you’ll need is Azure Data Studio installed. Once that’s done you can check out my Black Jack notebook.

I believe learning should be fun and often times unconventional ways of learning are the best. While the code for the game is not “production ready”, it’s not meant to be either. My hopes are that the game gives you a few scenarios that help you quickly acclimate to this new cool feature. Enjoy!

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