SQL Prompt IntelliSense for SQL Server

  • I tried this product a month ago. The CPU utilization goes up to 99% when it's sucking all the relational data in, but it drops back down after that. Which is pretty much fine, although kind of brutish.

    But I uninstalled it anyway. Maybe I'm just a fast coder, but it's way to slow! If they speed it up it could be pretty cool.

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  • I have to agree with the majority of posters here. I installed it but haven't really found it to be beneficial.

    It hasn't been a real resource hog that I've noticed, but it just doesn't work that well. I just expect different things than it is listing while I type. Overall I find that it doesn't save any time or keystrokes because it is never suggesting what I'm looking for.

  • I do alot of development in addition to writting SQL code and have really gotten hooked on intellisence.  I know that in a perfect world, rules would be followed so all the naming conventions were the same.  As it stands we have multiple naming conventions in place, which makes it very difficult to remember exactly what convention was used for a given database or table.  Also in SQL2000 (probubly 2005 as well), when writing SQL code you had to ensure that you were writing case sensitive code if you wanted SQL server to be able to reuse its execution plans correctly.  Having intellisense helps me get things done right.

    However, I have worked in SQL for so long without intelisense that I wouldn't be all that handycapped not to have it.

    I haven't taken the time to customize my menus yet so I won't comment on that one.  The one annoying bug I have found so far is in SQL2005's management studio.  It occurs when I open a table, select a column name from the criteria pane, and press tab to move off of the selection.  Management studio freezes for several seconds before a I get a .NET runtime error which asks me if I want to terminate the program or continue with it.  So far I have just told it to ignore the error and continue which has worked fine, however I have tried to cut down on my use of the tab key in this area.  I did try going into SQL Prompts options and disabled the tab key.  This fix didn't work at the time, however I have recently rebooted my computer and can't recreate the problem so maybe it is fixed now.

  • A few points:

    An early beta of Yukon (first beta iirc) did indeed have intellisense.  It was awesome.

    SQL Prompt was resource intensive so even though it was very cool, I quit using it.  No problem, I can live without it, but I liked the idea.

    And as to the complaint of some people that intellisense is intrusive, unnecessary, whatever:  turn it off if you don't like it.  I don't know of any development app where you can't turn it off if you want to, but for me, it's useful to be able to browse through all the methods, function, properties, etc, and darned handy to save typing.



    John Scarborough

  • That would have been great, bummer they took it out.  I know they removed it because of a time crunch but do you know if they are planning on adding it back in with a service pack?

  • An intersting mix of commentary unfortunately mostly negative .

    I bought  a license for the older incarnation as PromptSQL and loved it . It too had the quoted memory implications .

    Having loaded and used the new SQLPrompt version much of the slowness has been overcome , I work with it a 512Mb Laptop and a 768Mb desktop and do notice the difference but only just. Add more memory and i suspect it would go away totally.

    For those who have condemned SQLPropmt , it maybe they didn't spend sufficient time setting up the options.

    In my experience any slowness of response is on the initial load of the db schema as you initially change to a new Db. In my work I have to support upwards of 10 db daily and I see this regularly. Once the schema is there its seamless.

    You gather I am a Vast Fan , maybe I just type slowly or I am a lousy typist but as with intellisence in vs2005 I would be without it for productivity reasons. Add SQLprompt to the query designer in VS2005 and what more do you want ??

  • Interesting thread here, and I think all the comments that have been made are fair. We're very aware of the issues with SQL Prompt 2, and that's a big part of the reason it's free. We decided that we wouldn't be happy to charge for it in its present state.

    However we're also very aware that SQL intellisense functionality is something that a lot of people are after, and that whilst there are various offerings out there, including SQL Prompt 2, none of them provides a really definitive or satisfactory solution. This is mainly because it's a really hard problem to solve. And if you don't believe me just listen to some of the Microsoft guys talking about it here:


    This webcast is actually about the new Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals, but there's a discussion about intellisense roughly 25 minutes into the show. It makes for pretty interesting listening.

    Obviously we're working on a new version of SQL Prompt right now, and being slightly cagey about the whole thing to boot. We're aiming to address all the issues people have with SQL Prompt 2, and generally to provide a much more comprehensive intellisense solution. We're also looking at how we can better support very large databases since in this context intellisense would probably be at its most useful. Anybody can find their way around a database with a few dozen tables, although intellisense would obviously help, but what if you have several thousand tables? Something like intellisense becomes almost essential.

    I can't be too specific about dates at this point, however we are aiming to get a beta of version 3 out sometime in the first couple of weeks in August. You can find more details about the beta program at http://www.red-gate.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=2567.

    If all goes well the final release should be available at the end of September or very early in October. The beta is relatively soon in order to give us more time to respond to user feedback and incorporate any necessary changes into the final version.

    On the memory front I think I probably need to say something about this now in order to avoid disappointment later, as it were. To do intellisense properly in any language is a tricky thing, and to do it well, and keep it responsive (remember, it has to keep up with your typing speed) requires the use of some slightly hairy data structures. Dynamic arrays and linked lists just aren't going to cut it here. Let's say your candidate list has popped up and it's got 20000 objects in it, and now you press a key and that list has to *instantly* be filtered down to contain only candidates starting with whatever character you just typed. So you have to have a fast data structure, and you have to keep a lot of the information in physical memory to keep the intellisense responsive. Obviously you throw as much as possible onto disk to keep the footprint down, but there's no getting away from the fact that you need a lot of memory to make it work properly.

    Now you might be feeling slightly sceptical at this point, which is fair enough, but consider this. I currently have instances of Visual Studio 2005, Query Analyzer, and SQL Server Management Studio open. In VS 2005 I'm working on a C# project with roughly 11000 lines of code, plus about another 5000 lines of comments spread across 50 or 60 files. I'm also referencing maybe half a dozen other DLLs. At the moment I have only one file open, defining a single type, which is less than 300 lines. VS 2005 is currently using 137MB of memory, and so far I haven't done anything except open the project. Query Analyzer has a couple of query windows open with active connections to my local SQL Server 2000 instance. One of these windows contains a script with about 1100 lines of SQL in it. Currently QA is using just over 8MB of RAM. SSMS has one active connection and a single open SQL script, which again weighs in at around 1000 lines. SSMS is currently using 62MB of RAM.

    So why the big differences? Well QA is basically, and I mean no disrespect in saying this, not much more than a glorified text editor. It's got a bit of SQL Server-centric functionality bolted on to it, but like I say, it's a relatively simple application, and therefore it's small and fast. SSMS on the other hand is basically a locked down, and somewhat cut-down, version of Visual Studio 2005, and Visual Studio 2005 is a fully-functional IDE, and that's a lot of overhead to be carrying. Hence: 62MB. So why the extra 70MB for VS2005, bearing in mind that the project I'm working on is a back-end DLL with no UI components or anything like that (no need for the forms designer)? You can bet a big chunk of that extra memory is used by intellisense. Now admittedly I'm using ReSharper rather than the intellisense built in to VS2005, but the situation isn't so very different if I switch back to VS2005 intellisense.

    And so with SQL Prompt we're basically bolting a big chunk of the functionality provided by a modern IDE onto Query Analyzer or SSMS or whatever, and when you think of it in those terms it's not so surprising that it chews up quite a bit of memory. You think it should be small because it's sort of like a plug-in. It's not the main event at all, it's just there to help, but that discounts the complexity of what it's doing. Seriously, try any modern IDE on a project of any size and watch it chew through your memory: VS 2005, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans, *anything* from Borland. Unfortunately it's the nature of the beast. Clearly though we are doing everything we can to keep the memory footprint as small as possible.

    Also, all of that said, we believe there is a bug in SQL Prompt 2 that means sometimes it uses up hundreds of megabytes for no apparent reason for even moderately sized databases. It's pretty rare though, and is usually cured just by restarting SQL Prompt.

    Anyway, I hope that goes some way to answering some of the questions and concerns raised on this thread, and if you've got anything else I'm more than happy for you to come back at me.

    Finally, and before I forget, somebody (grasshopper?) asked me about licensing. Unfortunately I can't really answer that at this stage: typically that kind of thing gets decided quite late in the project lifecycle after months of wrangling. What I'd suggest is that nearer the release date you get in touch with our sales team at sales@red-gate.com and they'll be able to give you a definitive answer. Sorry I can't be more help than that for now.

    Kind regards,

  • A quick update on the licensing issue. I just spoke to our marketing director Simon Galbraith about what we'll do for people who purchased PromptSQL just before Red Gate acquired it and released SQL Prompt. The official line is that for anyone who purchased a PromptSQL license from Atadore, we will discount the amount paid for that license from the price paid for a SQL Prompt 3 license, whatever that might turn out to be.

    Hope that helps.


  • I've been experimenting with SQL prompt since yesterday and find that, for me, it is very helpful. While I am a very fast typist, my SQL skills and memory for field names are not quite as fast. So I don't have an issue with typing slowly and making full use of the product.

    Also, I'm running a desktop pc at work that has a gigabyte of ram, so I don't notice the memory impact as much.

    I'll recommend it to a few of our other (less-experienced) developers; I showed it to our Integration Analyst (Database administrator) and he liked it, but didn't feel he had a need for it. Of course, he's a young pup with a working memory.



  • Further to my earlier comments, I seem to have stirred up a frenzy of decision-making in the office today, and as a result I am now able give you full pricing and upgrade details for SQL Prompt 3.

    You can find the announcement at:


    However, the short version is that SQL Prompt 3 will cost $195, with an introductory $99 offer for pre-orders placed on or before September 28th. In addition the discounts for those who purchased the original PromptSQL are as described in my previous post.

    Hope that helps.

    Many thanks,

  • I just went to try this product.

    Because it's being installed on a company pc and knowing what the implications of installing product that claims to be free I actually read the licence documentation.

    DON'T INSTALL THIS IF YOU ARE CONSTRAINED BY LICENCING ISSUES.  The licence grants a 14 DAY licence after which fees must be paid.

    This is NOT what the article says and in my humble opinion is false and misleading and could result in severe penalties.

    Not only could the company I work for have been subjected to fines and penalties, I could have been sacked for installing it.


  • Hi James,

    The issue with the licensing agreement in SQL Prompt 2 is our mistake, which we have been aware of for some time. It should not mention a 14 day trial period. There is in fact no trial period for SQL Prompt 2, and there are no restrictions on how long you can continue to use SQL Prompt 2. You can continue to use it after September 1st for as long as you like, even after version 3 is released. As I say, and as the article also points out: no restrictions, and it is free.

    Hopefully that clears that up once and for all.


  • Bart that is great to know, but that is still asking a lot of people to put a lot of faith in your company.  I have never heard anything bad about your company, but still, if they decided to get mean in the future then everything in writing directly associated with the product and its install, would be against the user.

  • It's a fair point Jereme, but what about everything in writing that *we've* also published saying it's free? It says so on our website, it says so on all our adverts, it says so in all the product reviews, and I've just said so above. How would it look if we went back on that? SQL Prompt 2 is free, and Red Gate will never ask you for money for it. Ever. As I said, the license agreement is a mistake, it's our mistake and we hold our hands up to it, but for the amount of hassle it would take to fix it's just not worth it.

    I'll admit, SQL Prompt 2 is not free as the Free Software Foundation (www.fsf.org) would define it: Red Gate will *never* release the source code. But it's free for you to *use* in perpetuity. Let me say it again: Red Gate will *never* ask you for money for SQL Prompt 2. I don't think I can make it any clearer than that.


  • Still, the licence statements in the software install prevent us from installing it full stop.

    I would also think that this statement is true for every commercial organisation and will continue to be true until the licence is modified.

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