Your Tools

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997111

    I've worked in many places that don't allow such tools. That would be a whole 'nuther discussion but, when such a limit happens, you'd better be able to use only the tools that are there or it won't be your job for long.

    Case in point is the number of DBAs that I've interviewed in the last 3 years that didn't know how to do a native backup/restore or how to read the built-in execution plans, etc, and that was a part of the job requirement for the companies that I did the interviewing for.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Brian J. Parker

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 879

    I paid for my own TechNet once, very early in my career; but otherwise, I've been lucky that employers have usually bought me any software tool I can justify.

    But outside that realm, the big thing for me is that for the last fifteen years, I've always brought my own high-end ergonomic multi-button mouse to every job. Cheap mice do the job fine but for under $100 I can work in increased comfort. It definitely doesn't seem fair to ask my employer to pay for my comfort.

    I also have to agree with other posters, as an aside to the main article, that Notepad++ (for free!) is a no-brainer to pick up in most cases. Making it the default editor in Tortoise or even for .sql files in Windows makes it much faster to quickly peek at a bunch of files with code coloring, without the overhead of loading a heftier editor.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720887

    Gary Varga (2/19/2015)


    Given that I have learnt to avoid using third party tools wherever possible and stick to what the majority of my clients use. This means that I don't select a preferred browser or editor, for example, but use the ones most commonly used by my clients. This means that I use Internet Explorer, Notepad and Visual Studio for most things. Is this ideal? Probably not but it allows me to be very productive from day 1 without upsetting the applecart as I demand that "my software" is installed.

    I've tended to do this as well, especially because I've often RDP'd to servers, and I don't have much there. Notepad has been my tool of choice often. However, I have tried to get away from this and do more remote work from a session I can count on for tools.

    The mechanics' tools analogy only goes so far. Where it misses the mark is the source of reasons we cannot necessarily carry around our own tools no matter how much we may want to.

    I completely agree. The same thing does happen to mechanics, as sometimes insurance requires that specific tools be used. However, I'd argue those are edge cases. And I find that more and more companies are allowing tools to be used by their employees.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720887

    chris 31337 (2/19/2015)


    I've recently come around to this way of thinking myself and bought Sublime Text & Sublimerge, which I use as a general swiss army knife for general scripting / note taking requirements. Why did the guy in the article have to buy licenses multiple times, couldn't he just uninstall Resharper and take it with him?

    I'm torn with Sublime. I like Edit Plus for some things, Sublime for others. Was worth my $25 as well.

    Not sure why the guy didn't uninstall or move his license. Perhaps he forgot, or changed jobs and just decided to move forward. Maybe he's happy to support the Resharper folks with a new license.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720887

    Jeff Moden (2/19/2015)


    Case in point is the number of DBAs that I've interviewed in the last 3 years that didn't know how to do a native backup/restore or how to read the built-in execution plans, etc, and that was a part of the job requirement for the companies that I did the interviewing for.

    🙁

  • Alvin Ramard

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 41190

    This editorial came on an interesting day.

    A few hours ago I decided I need to get my hand on a cheaper option to Erwin or DB Artisan. I'm working as a contractor and the work at one client is getting to a point that it's getting harder to do a good job without better tools.

    Any recommendations?



    Alvin Ramard
    Memphis PASS Chapter[/url]

    All my SSC forum answers come with a money back guarantee. If you didn't like the answer then I'll gladly refund what you paid for it.

    For best practices on asking questions, please read the following article: Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help[/url]

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 125100

    Alvin Ramard (2/19/2015)


    This editorial came on an interesting day.

    A few hours ago I decided I need to get my hand on a cheaper option to Erwin or DB Artisan. I'm working as a contractor and the work at one client is getting to a point that it's getting harder to do a good job without better tools.

    Any recommendations?

    I don't use, and don't have much use for, elaborate data modeling tools. Logical diagramming can be done in Visio, and that's what management is typically interested in seeing, at least in my universe. I typically hand code DDL, having a Query window open on one screen, and the logical model displayed on the other. I like fine control over the data types and constraints, and can visualize what the model looks like in my head as I'm typing. Occasionally I'll use the Diagrammer that's built in SSMS to reverse engineer a database.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Alvin Ramard

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 41190

    Eric M Russell (2/19/2015)


    Alvin Ramard (2/19/2015)


    This editorial came on an interesting day.

    A few hours ago I decided I need to get my hand on a cheaper option to Erwin or DB Artisan. I'm working as a contractor and the work at one client is getting to a point that it's getting harder to do a good job without better tools.

    Any recommendations?

    I don't use, and don't have much use for, elaborate data modeling tools. Logical diagramming can be done in Visio, and that's what management is typically interested in seeing, at least in my universe. I typically hand code DDL, having a Query window open on one screen, and the logical model displayed on the other. I like fine control over the data types and constraints, and can visualize what the model looks like in my head as I'm typing. Occasionally I'll use the Diagrammer that's built in SSMS to reverse engineer a database.

    I'd settle for Visio if I had it.

    Your process is very much like mine, but I feel it's time to "upgrade".



    Alvin Ramard
    Memphis PASS Chapter[/url]

    All my SSC forum answers come with a money back guarantee. If you didn't like the answer then I'll gladly refund what you paid for it.

    For best practices on asking questions, please read the following article: Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help[/url]

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720887

    Alvin Ramard (2/19/2015)


    This editorial came on an interesting day.

    A few hours ago I decided I need to get my hand on a cheaper option to Erwin or DB Artisan. I'm working as a contractor and the work at one client is getting to a point that it's getting harder to do a good job without better tools.

    Any recommendations?

    visio for me, though really, in a pinch, Powerpoint gives me shapes and text, which is what I want. Creating the DDL from scratch isn't that hard for me.

    There's this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_data_modeling_tools

    This is a reasonable cost: http://www.datanamic.com/dezign/index.html

  • Alvin Ramard

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 41190

    Steve Jones - SSC Editor (2/19/2015)


    Alvin Ramard (2/19/2015)


    This editorial came on an interesting day.

    A few hours ago I decided I need to get my hand on a cheaper option to Erwin or DB Artisan. I'm working as a contractor and the work at one client is getting to a point that it's getting harder to do a good job without better tools.

    Any recommendations?

    visio for me, though really, in a pinch, Powerpoint gives me shapes and text, which is what I want. Creating the DDL from scratch isn't that hard for me.

    There's this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_data_modeling_tools

    This is a reasonable cost: http://www.datanamic.com/dezign/index.html

    Thanks Steve.

    One option I'm considering is: http://www.devart.com/dbforge/sql/studio/

    SQL Server is the only database system I'm interested in.



    Alvin Ramard
    Memphis PASS Chapter[/url]

    All my SSC forum answers come with a money back guarantee. If you didn't like the answer then I'll gladly refund what you paid for it.

    For best practices on asking questions, please read the following article: Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help[/url]

  • starunit

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1807

    Yup. I agree.

    As a auto mechanic in my former career I had to buy most of my own tools. Some bigger things were supplied by the shop (lifts, Sun machines, etc.).

    Later, as a consultant, I kept my own programming 'toolbox' filled with enough to do the job where ever I landed, or to do my own jobs for my own business.

    I'm able to leverage my Microsoft Partnership and Action Pack subscription to keep most of my tools current; in the past I purchased Red Gate's SQL Developer Toolbelt ahead of my current employer's agreement to buy it; and have paid for and / or contributed to other tools such as Mladen's SSMS Toolpack, JetBrain's IntelliJ IDE, Tortoise SVN, et. al..

    I guess I just feel more secure if I have my own tools - so if I want to do a side project, I can do it with my own licensed tools (yes, I'm a big proponent of using licensed software).

    Mark
    Just a cog in the wheel.

  • Stephanie J Brown

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3866

    There are so many scenarios people work under that what works for one may be untenable for another. My company / team recently had conversations about not using freeware such as Notepad ++ due to "security concerns" (i.e. do they leave us vulnerable to infiltration). And we are moving more and more towards "standardized desktops" for everyone (VMs).

    We are forbidden from using our personal computers for corporate work, so buying our own license for useful software is pretty much a no-go. And I would NOT purchase software and leave it to the company when I left, even if they allowed me to install it on my company machine. That would be akin to the "chef" or "mechanic" leaving his tools behind when changing employers.

    I do like Notepad ++ for looking at code (as a Systems Analyst I don't actually update code much anymore), and Beyond Compare is definitely a plus one! My team has been successful in justifying both of these to our management - we all have licensed copies of Beyond Compare.

    I know sometimes budgets are an issue, yet sometimes the "real" issue is that we need to do a better job justifying the software purchase. "I'll be more productive" is not nearly as strong as "I'll be able to complete coding projects 20% faster". We've really got to get it tuned down to dollar signs to show the relative worth of a tool over time.

    We're working to get Visio right now - wish us luck! 😛


    Here there be dragons...,

    Steph Brown

  • Data Wrangler

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 151

    Alvin, I have a few suggestions on free data modeling tools:

    1. MySQL Workbench: I've seen it used for physical modeling with SQL Server, but I haven't done it myself.

    2. Oracle SQL Developer has a data modeling component. However, I'm not sure whether that can reverse/forward engineer with SQL Server.

    3. ERwin: they have a free Community Edition, which is limited to 25 objects per model.

    As for the thread in general: working for a huge corporation, I have very tight restrictions on what I'm allowed to install on my PC, open source software is supposed to be reviewed (by IT, security, and legal) before bringing it within the firewall, and employees do not have admin rights on their PC's by default. We can apply for exceptions, but many technical folks just request (and get) admin rights so that they can install whatever they need, even if they're in violation of IT policy. I've seen Notepad++, TextPad, Sublime Text, Redgate dev tools, LINQPad, Chrome (we're only allowed very specific versions of IE and FireFox), and other unapproved tools on others' machines. The restrictions can be stifling at times, but it's comforting to know that my situation is not unique.

  • mosaic-287947

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1044

    Gary Varga (2/19/2015)


    call.copse (2/19/2015)


    Gary Varga (2/19/2015)


    ...

    Given that I have learnt to avoid using third party tools wherever possible and stick to what the majority of my clients use. This means that I don't select a preferred browser or editor, for example, but use the ones most commonly used by my clients. This means that I use Internet Explorer, Notepad and Visual Studio for most things. Is this ideal? Probably not but it allows me to be very productive from day 1 without upsetting the applecart as I demand that "my software" is installed.

    ...

    No problem with the rest but not at least using Notepad++ should I imagine cause small children to point and laugh at your general lack of productivity in text manipulation. I'm not even joking 😀

    Visual Studio isn't too bad at that 😉

    I use Notepad2 - no installer required. In a Windows environment just copy the EXE to a folder in MyDocuments and off you go. Works a treat even if logged to a remote server. Not perfect but more than adequate for scripting.

  • xsevensinzx

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25558

    I too use MySQL Workbench for SQL Server. It's actually a damn fine tool to use that's free for modeling. Sublime, UltraEdit and Notepad+ have all been amazing text editors for me in the past. For Python, I use Komodo IDE however.

    I also just recently picked up a copy of SQL Prompt, which has been rather good for the past month. Surprisingly, I really enjoy the snippet features that allow me to quickly insert code and comments. As I'm the only developer at my shop wearing all the hats, it's easier for me to get the tools you don't normally get.

    In relation to hardware tools, I also just recently purchased a mechanical keyboard. For those of you who haven't had the chance to try a mechanical, give them a whirl. They are mostly used for gaming, but they are very nice on the fingers and will extend the life on your keys. I picked up is the Razer Blackwidow, one of the lower end models as mechanicals can be pretty pricey.

    A mechanical keyboard uses actual, physical switches underneath the keys to determine when the user has pushed a key. Press a key, and you press its switch down. Press the switch down, and the keyboard sends a signal to the PC telling it that you pressed that key. Mechanical keyboards feel very different, Mechanical keyboards are loud, Mechanical keyboards are heavy, Mechanical keyboards last longer and Mechanical keyboards (might) make you type differently.

    My next steps with the keyboard is to sync it up to SQL Prompt and other tools.

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