The Importance of Thick Clients

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Importance of Thick Clients

  • I tried out Azure Data Studio (ADS) last week because we are trying out Github Copilot.

    Copilot is scary, excellent and may yet prove to be an excellent addition to SQL Prompt but ADS annoys me because it is not SSMS. It is like cooking in somebody else's kitchen. You are slowed down by your need to find out where everything is, where everything goes, what works similarly but slightly differently and so on. ADS is to me needlessly frustrating.

    My list of things to master in SQL Server is long and long gone are the days I could devote 18 hours in front of a computer . I still haven't mastered Extended Events, my DAX is getting rusty, I'm in the process of migrating our server farm one by one from SQL Server 2016 to SQL Server 2022 and I'd like to know why Reporting Services 2022 neither likes parameters anymore nor seems happy with the domain login when it comes to automatically saving reports in the domain on remote servers. There is a lot in SQL Server 2022 (when compared to 2016) that I have to try out: Query Store being a biggie there.

    So, Microsoft come along with a user interface that is different to SSMS and wants to me learn it, I say no. Copilot is indeed interesting but I would rather be spending my time learning something other than ADS.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by  sean redmond.
  • I would love to use SSMS 100% of the time and would gladly run Parallels on my Mac to do so if… I could actually read the screen. Vision problems have made dark mode a requirement recently, not just a preference, and since SSMS doesn’t do that, ADS it is. So, I agree with pretty much everything you said about thick clients, but need one more feature in the case of SSMS in order to continue using it.

  • rsmith1 wrote:

    I would love to use SSMS 100% of the time and would gladly run Parallels on my Mac to do so if… I could actually read the screen. Vision problems have made dark mode a requirement recently, not just a preference, and since SSMS doesn’t do that, ADS it is. So, I agree with pretty much everything you said about thick clients, but need one more feature in the case of SSMS in order to continue using it.

    This isn't fully dark mode, but maybe it would help you for when you need to be in SSMS.  I can't seem to paste a link, but search for "Configure SSMS Dark Mode Step By Step" on mssqltips.com.

  • I use SSMS.  My complaints are minor and I've been using it in some form for more than 20 years.  I don't want to get used to a new GUI at this point.  I will check it out, and maybe it will be like the transition from DTS to SSIS.  I had liked DTS and did not at first like SSIS.  However, that changed was forced on us and at this point I would take SSIS over DTS every time.  Some habits die hard.

  • SSMS is so slow to start. Query analyzer was better.

    I like the way of having thin clients with plugins. Of course it takes a while before most of the features are implemented.

  • I remember having a big learning curve from Query Analyzer to SSMS, but of course SSMS has almost everything I need. I've tried ADS, and I really wanted to use it, but (last time I used it) I couldn't manage availability groups. That made it useless as I still needed SSMS every day. When my laptop got replaced, I didn't bother installing ADS.

     

  • I'm with you Steve. SSMS isn't perfect but it's the tool I know well vs relearning how to do everything again in ADS. I flat out don't have the time let alone the inclination to do that.

  • Thank you Connie and Steve. I had tried this a long while ago, and I am sorry to see it hasn’t improved much. It is better than nothing, but I will probably have to use ADS for the work I can do there.

  • I also prefer thick clients.  Not just because they run locally, not just because they are not slowed by tons of JavaScript (in whatever JS library or framework being used).

    Thick clients often (but not always) represent years of development with features added over time to become a mature application.  The newer web applications or ones written for other than Windows usually do not have the depth of features nor the maturity.

    Consider:

    • Azure Data Studio vs. SSMS
    • Visual Studio Code vs. Visual Studio 2022

    One of the contributing factors is the lack of expertise and insight (particularly at Microsoft) for making their tools facilitate rapid application development (RAD).  Nearly 30 years ago, a small team created the UI environment for Visual Basic (VB "Classic") with drag-and-drop I creation.  Many other software companies, like PowerBuilder, tried to copy it.    VB "Classic" (referring to the UI development environment, not so much the language) revolutionized RAD.  Less time on repetitive, mundane UI hand-coding, and more time on business logic and database design.  Or just less time from conception to delivery to production and a lot fewer UI markup language bugs.

    Today's Microsoft, having shifted to .NET and primarily C#, has had lots of trouble just making the WinForms RAD designer work.  The "script kiddies" who think the command line is the beginning and ending of a software development UI, do not have the understanding of the value of RAD.

    So, it is no surprise that the "newer" tools often lack the depth of productivity that make the "thick clients" desirable.  What Microsoft, and other software shops need, are those with the understanding of applying productivity to an application design and applying the value engineering concepts that support the return on development investment of significant productivity.

  • What are we considering a thick client?  To me that means anything installed on your computer vs accessed through a web interface.  Based on that I would consider ADS a thick client.

     

    I do prefer SSMS over ADS for a couple reasons.  First SSMS has a more complete tool set for doing administration work.  And tying into that ADS uses a model I very much dislike which is that it has a limited base install then requires downloading modules, which both don't fill in all the gaps it's missing vs SSMS but are just obnoxious to deal with depending on your companies' security set up.

  • I like Azure Data Studio, but I think that's because I don't use it like you would, Steve. Five minutes ago, I had to re-run a SQL Job. I haven't any idea at all how to do that in ADS and I don't even know if it is possible to run SQL Jobs in ADS. So, I opened Management Studio to get the job done. What I use ADS for is writing queries, stored procedures, etc. If I were to do more SQL management than code writing, I'd probably prefer SSMS over ADS.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by  Rod at work.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • ZZartin wrote:

    What are we considering a thick client?  To me that means anything installed on your computer vs accessed through a web interface.  Based on that I would consider ADS a thick client.

    I do prefer SSMS over ADS for a couple reasons.  First SSMS has a more complete tool set for doing administration work.  And tying into that ADS uses a model I very much dislike which is that it has a limited base install then requires downloading modules, which both don't fill in all the gaps it's missing vs SSMS but are just obnoxious to deal with depending on your companies' security set up.

    I think ADS is a middle app. It's installed, but it uses the electron framework, so it's like a web page structure of things, without some native (or more native) controls. There are limitations in what is shown, or can be.

  • I agree 100% about using thick clients.

    With .NET now being more cross platform compatible, Microsoft and other people should look into porting their apps, like SSMS, to .NET and MAUI (however, MAUI isn't supported on Linux).

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