Tools You Need

  • I use RedGate's SQL Compare too, and for the most part it works great, but I wish there was a way to set a tolerance on float values.  By that I mean I wish I could specify that I want values that are only different by less than a specified value (such as 0.0000001) to be considered the same value.  What I typically have to do to get around this is to write my own SQL to compare just the problematic float columns and exclude those columns from my comparison.  The where condition looks like this:

    where abs(isnull(table1.float_value,0) - isnull(table2.float_value,0)) > 0.0000001

    Also, I wish you could make the differing values' cells have a different colored background rather than just changing the color of the text in the cells.  That would make differences stand out a lot better.  Why am I telling you guys?  I should be telling RedGate!

    Seriously, though, I use RedGate quite often and it saves me a lot of time that would be spent writing SQL to compare tables.

  • Tools are a good thing

    Design: ER Studio. Easy to use, allows sub-schema views, etc. Great tool! Cons: the only one I have is price. Wow.

    DBA: DBArtisan speeds up production and dev work in so many ways. Worth a trial download. Cons: again, cost. A couple of little features I haven't found a way to use yet.

    Redgate SQL compare / data compare. great tools for finding differences in either code or data. Invaluable to me as a DBA. Reasonably priced. Cons, can't think of any right now.

    Backup: Litespeed, or Redgate's SQL Backup. both compress backups to a great level (some dbs are up to 80% compressed). Litespeed's version allowed us to incorperate into existing stored procs seamlessly. Redgate has worked like a champ. both provide free tools to extract larger backups from the compressed files. Cons: very few. Initial vldb restore issues with litespeed were patched, and work great now.

    Editing: I agree with the above, Still mainly use QA, with a spattering of Editplus (with the TSQL filters).

    So most of my gripes are with the cost of the tools. At the same time, the more you use them, the more invaluable they become.

  • I couldn't do my job well without SQL Compare and SQL Data Compare.  Great tools, although occasionally SQL Compare hangs on me.  Also UltraEdit; especially useful are its macro and regular expression capabilities.  And WinMerge for comparing text files.

  • I use DBGhost tools. At a previous job, we used Red Gate. When I started at the startup I am currently working, I went with DBGhost because I was trying to save money.

    WOW! Am I glad I did. Not only does it work great, butr even in the transition from SS 2000 to SS 2005, the support has been phenominal!

    Anyway, for what I do DBGhost is PERFECT!




  • I have a few tools I've found quite useful:

    1. SQL Backup (Red-Gate):  My employer is required to keep encrypted backups, and this program does the job quite nicely (256 AES).  Easy to use.
    2. SQL Delta (Austrialian Software Company):   This is a handy comparer tool.  It can sync schema and/or data between two different databases, or pump out the scipts for you to do yourself.  This allows me to set up changes on a test DB, and then move the changes over to the production DB without too much sweat.  Not as expensive as some of the other tools I've seen.
    3. SQL Prompt (Red-Gate):  Intellisense for QA and SSMS.  You can use it for Visual Studio also, but I have another product that does VS support much better.  This "beta" product isn't too bad, but it does tend to lock up the CPU when you load up a large DB schema.
    4. SQL Assist (Round Polygons):  This product rocks if you use Visual Studio.  I use this every day!!  Basically, it does the intellisense stuff that the SQL Prompt does, but also lets you run your SQL (even if not part of a DB project), by pressing F5 (or by hitting the run button).  The experience of working with this product in Visual Studio then roughly approximates that of the SQL Server editors.  The only things missing are syntax/schema checking and generating execution plans.   In my day-to-day work, I couple this with CodeRush (I wrote some custom SQL templates) and SourceGear Vault in the Visual Studio environment, and can get some pretty serious work done...
    5. DbDesc:  Tool for documenting databases.
  • One tool that I find extremely valuable as a developer is:

    Imceda's SQL IDE Pro - It has integration with SourceSafe and Intellisense. There are a couple problems though. The first is that it dies if I have too many windows open or have used it for a long time (very frustrating). But the even bigger problem is that it is no longer supported by the new company Quest and is not completely compatible with SQL Server 2005.

    I use this tool everyday and I have looked around for a better tool and have found none. I wish I could get the source code for this tool and make it compatible with 2005 and find out why it crashes occasionally.

    And, of course, I find the Red-Gate Compare tools very helpful too. Though I don't use them "everyday", any time I have to do a build, I cannot imagine what I would do if I didn't have these tools.

  • Definately UltraEdit handles massive text files.

  • I would say it would have to be - can't live without it now.

  • Imceda's SQL IDE Pro was my first choice a couple of years ago, but Quest killed it when they acquired Imceda. I couldn't even get a new license key for it when my old laptop died and I needed to install it on my new machine. But they were going to give me Toad for SQL for free.

    I use ApexSQL Edit now. It has the same source control integration and intellisense features and many more plus a much more sensible licensing scheme. I looked at Toad SQL. I thought it was so bad that I don't even have the free copy Quest offered me. ApexSQL is awesome.

  • Textpad is great, I use it for a large portion of my development.  It is especially great whenever you need to quickly edit a file.  I still tend to use much heavier IDE's when I am planning on spending a great deal of time on one project, just because I like the intellisense.

    I haven't noticed that particular bug in textpad, however it does have an issue saving .REG files.  I think it tries to save in ANSI encoding so I just change it to DOS encoding and it works fine.

  • I agree with you.  SQL IDE Pro is a great tool, and I'm really upset that Quest decided to knock it off in favor of their crappy replacement TOAD.  It sucked for Oracle and it sucks for MS.

    I've tried ApexSQL several times, but it's a HUGE memory hog.  Just running a simple query that returns maybe 100 rows ends up using almost 500mb of memory between real and virtual.  I think the grid idea is interesting that you can group things, but I would rather they use the grid in SQL IDE Pro - that thing is FAST!

    Other tools I use:

    Litespeed SQL Backup (go for the pro and get encryption)

    AdeptSQLDiff - great, fast tool for finding out what's different between production and QA/DEV.

    Diagnostic Manager (Idera) can be great for tracking down issues with the database, nice monitoring tool, but a little pricey.

    My company purchased ER/Studio which works well, but CaseStudio2 ( works just as well for most projects and costs about 1 billionth the amount.

    Multi-Edit - I've been using this since the DOS days and it's a great editor.

    For quick (I can bring it with me), I like PSPad or Metapad - both are great replacements for Notepad.


    Ad maiorem Dei gloriam

  • We've got quite a few tools here that we use regularly, but Apex SQL Edit is a godsend and we use DB Ghost to push changes out from Perforce to all our environments. 

    We looked at Team System and it's good but it doesn't do a great deal more than the tools we currently have and yet costs about 5 times as much.  I guess it's only aimed at really big shops with deep pockets...

  • I would vote for Innovasys DocumentX and Apex SQL Doc as documentation tools.

  • Just wanted to elaborate further on my earlier Beyond Compare post since most of you use SQLCompare from what I can tell.  I did take a look at Red-Gate's website and noticed that all of their tools are pretty pricy.  If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, Beyond Compare is worth a look -- it's only $30 for 1 user and gets progressively cheaper with volume.  Our company's license is for 50 users, and we paid $350 for all of them.  Scooter Software is a smaller company than Red-Gate, I'm sure, but I have not been disappointed with my usage of Beyond Compare, and I was definitely not paid to advertise for them.

  • Litespeed has been most effective for my team.  Recently, however, we used Beyond Compare 2 when upgrading our server hardware.  It came in handy to make sure all our new shares (on the SQL Server 2005 machines) had all the same folders & files as the old shares did.

    Other tools we use are Red Gate's SQL Bundle, which includes SQL Compare and SQL Package, and Computer Associates' Erwin Data modeling tool. 

    Erwin is FANTASTIC for reverse engineering a database into a "model" database we use for our Data Dictionary report.  Not to mention being able to keep our DB diagrams updated everytime we have a schema change.  All I have to do is update the model from the database without having to recreate all the structure by hand.

    All in all, Erwin and Litespeed are my favorite 2 tools, with SQL Compare coming in a distant third.


    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog:[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

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