Auto Generate Your Database Documentation

  • Thanks so much for the post. Interestingly enough, the subject of using extended properties for documentation came up just last week at work. As with most new features I learn about, I've been very interested in them for a while now, but haven't really gotten comfortable saying with confidence when I would or wouldn't want to use them. IMHO, the benefits seem to be:

    1. The functionality comes with every database
    2. The interface for interacting with them is the same
    3. It's independent of source control
    4. It's tied directly to the object it's documenting. Hard to argue against documenting right at the source.

    The drawbacks that comes to mind are is that
    1. Anything that can be dynamically updated can be derived from existing system views or dmvs, so doing so seems redundant ("this is column A on table dbo.B")
    2. Anything that can't be dynamically updated requires a squishy human to maintain
    3. Without a policy around what is (or isn't) documented, and how (naming conventions, etc.) and by extension, buy-in from all devs, I could see them becoming a messy dumping ground of unstructured data
    4. Hopefully not, but I could also see over reliance upon them in lieu of proper database design (e.g "This column really shouldn't contain negative numbers" as opposed to a Check constraint)

    I know this article specifically avoided concrete use cases, but I'd be interested to hear how others have found working with them.

    Executive Junior Cowboy Developer, Esq.[/url]

  • The implementation of documentation is more about getting the right information than how to deploy it. These aren't big bang problems, they are ongoing needs for everyone to communicate. We document with an PDF and HTML system. There is a column for descriptions.

    412-977-3526 call/text

  • You can have a extended property that serves as a URL to a Sharepoint site or other shared resource with the actual columns documentation. Hence you at least here create a trail if not the actual documentation.


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