SSDT - What's in a name?

Posted by jamiet on SQL Blog See other posts from SQL Blog or by jamiet
Published on Tue, 03 Apr 2012 12:44:00 GMT Indexed on 2012/04/03 17:38 UTC
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SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) recently got released as part of SQL Server 2012 and depending on who you believe it can be described as either:

  • a suite of tools for building SQL Server database solutions

or

  • a suite of tools for building SQL Server database, Integration Services, Analysis Services & Reporting Services solutions

Certainly the SQL Server 2012 installer seems to think it is the latter because it describes SQL Server Data Tools as "the SQL server development environment, including the tool formerly named Business Intelligence Development Studio. Also installs the business intelligence tools and references to the web installers for database development tools" as you can see here:


Strange then that, seemingly, there is no consensus within Microsoft about what SSDT actually is. On yesterday's blog post First Release of SSDT Power Tools reader Simon Lampen asked the quite legitimate question:

I understand (rightly or wrongly) that SSDT is the replacement for BIDS for SQL 2012 and have just installed this. If this is the case can you please point me to how I can edit rdl and rdlc files from within Visual Studio 2010 and import MS Access reports.

To which came the following reply:

SSDT doesn't include any BIDs (sic) components. Following up with the appropriate team (Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Integration Services) via their forum or msdn page would be the best way to answer you questions about these kinds of services. 

That's from a Microsoft employee by the way. Simon is even more confused by this and replies with:

I have done some more digging and am more confused than ever. This documentation (and many others) : msdn.microsoft.com/.../ms156280.aspx expressly states that SSDT is where report editing tools are to be found

And on it goes....

You can see where Simon's confusion stems from. He has official documentation stating that SSDT includes all the stuff for building SSIS/SSAS/SSRS solutions (this is confirmed in the installer, remember) yet someone from Microsoft tells him "SSDT doesn't include any BIDs components".

I have been close to this for a long time (all the way through the CTPs) so I can kind of understand where the confusion stems from. To my understanding SSDT was originally the name of the database dev stuff but eventually that got expanded to include all of the dev tools - I guess not everyone in Microsoft got the memo.

Does this sound familiar? Have we not been down this road before? The database dev tools have had upteen names over the years (do any of datadude, TSData, VSTS for DB Pros, DBPro, VS2010 Database Projects sound familiar) and I was hoping that the SSDT moniker would put all confusion to bed - evidently its as complicated now as it has ever been.

Forgive me for whinging but putting meaningful, descriptive, accurate, well-defined and easily-communicated names onto a product doesn't seem like a difficult thing to do. I guess I'm mistaken!

Onwards and upwards...

@Jamiet

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