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  • SSDT - What's in a name?

    - by jamiet
    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 foundAnd 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 [email protected]

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  • June 2013 release of SSDT contains a minor bug that you should be aware of

    - by jamiet
    I have discovered what seems, to me, like a bug in the June 2013 release of SSDT and given the problems that it created yesterday on my current gig I thought it prudent to write this blog post to inform people of it. I’ve built a very simple SSDT project to reproduce the problem that has just two tables, [Table1] and [Table2], and also a procedure [Procedure1]: The two tables have exactly the same definition, both a have a single column called [Id] of type integer. CREATE TABLE [dbo].[Table1] (     [Id] INT NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY ) My stored procedure simply joins the two together, orders them by the column used in the join predicate, and returns the results: CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[Procedure1] AS     SELECT t1.*     FROM    Table1 t1     INNER JOIN Table2 t2         ON    t1.Id = t2.Id     ORDER BY Id Now if I create those three objects manually and then execute the stored procedure, it works fine: So we know that the code works. Unfortunately, SSDT thinks that there is an error here: The text of that error is: Procedure: [dbo].[Procedure1] contains an unresolved reference to an object. Either the object does not exist or the reference is ambiguous because it could refer to any of the following objects: [dbo].[Table1].[Id] or [dbo].[Table2].[Id]. Its complaining that the [Id] field in the ORDER BY clause is ambiguous. Now you may well be thinking at this point “OK, just stick a table alias into the ORDER BY predicate and everything will be fine!” Well that’s true, but there’s a bigger problem here. One of the developers at my current client installed this drop of SSDT and all of a sudden all the builds started failing on his machine – he had errors left right and centre because, as it transpires, we have a fair bit of code that exhibits this scenario.  Worse, previous installations of SSDT do not flag this code as erroneous and therein lies the rub. We immediately had a mass panic where we had to run around the department to our developers (of which there are many) ensuring that none of them should upgrade their SSDT installation if they wanted to carry on being productive for the rest of the day. Also bear in mind that as soon as a new drop of SSDT comes out then the previous version is instantly unavailable so rolling back is going to be impossible unless you have created an administrative install of SSDT for that previous version. Just thought you should know! In the grand schema of things this isn’t a big deal as the bug can be worked around with a simple code modification but forewarned is forearmed so they say! Last thing to say, if you want to know which version of SSDT you are running check my blog post Which version of SSDT Database Projects do I have installed? @Jamiet

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  • Database unit testing is now available for SSDT

    - by jamiet
    Good news was announced yesterday for those that are using SSDT and want to write unit tests, unit testing functionality is now available. The announcement was made on the SSDT team blog in post Available Today: SSDT—December 2012. Here are a few thoughts about this news. Firstly, there seems to be a general impression that database unit testing was not previously available for SSDT – that’s not entirely true. Database unit testing was most recently delivered in Visual Studio 2010 and any database unit tests written therein work perfectly well against SQL Server databases created using SSDT (why wouldn’t they – its just a database after all). In other words, if you’re running SSDT inside Visual Studio 2010 then you could carry on freely writing database unit tests; some of the tight integration between the two (e.g. right-click on an object in SQL Server Object Explorer and choose to create a unit test) was not there – but I’ve never found that to be a problem. I am currently working on a project that uses SSDT for database development and have been happily running VS2010 database unit tests for a few months now. All that being said, delivery of database unit testing for SSDT is now with us and that is good news, not least because we now have the ability to create unit tests in VS2012. We also get tight integration with SSDT itself, the like of which I mentioned above. Having now had a look at the new features I was delighted to find that one of my big complaints about database unit testing has been solved. As I reported here on Connect a refactor operation would cause unit test code to get completely mangled. See here the before and after from such an operation: SELECT    * FROM    bi.ProcessMessageLog pml INNER JOIN bi.[LogMessageType] lmt     ON    pml.[LogMessageTypeId] = lmt.[LogMessageTypeId] WHERE    pml.[LogMessage] = 'Ski[LogMessageTypeName]of message: IApplicationCanceled' AND        lmt.[LogMessageType] = 'Warning'; which is obviously not ideal. Thankfully that seems to have been solved with this latest release. One disappointment about this new release is that the process for running tests as part of a CI build has not changed from the horrendously complicated process required previously. Check out my blog post Setting up database unit testing as part of a Continuous Integration build process [VS2010 DB Tools - Datadude] for instructions on how to do it. In that blog post I describe it as “fiddly” – I was being kind when I said that! @Jamiet

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  • Smart defaults [SSDT]

    - by jamiet
    I’ve just discovered a new, somewhat hidden, feature in SSDT that I didn’t know about and figured it would be worth highlighting here because I’ll bet not many others know it either; the feature is called Smart Defaults. It gets around the problem of adding a NOT NULLable column to an existing table that has got data in it – previous to SSDT you would need to define a DEFAULT constraint however it does feel rather cumbersome to create an object purely for the purpose of pushing through a deployment – that’s the situation that Smart Defaults is meant to alleviate. The Smart Defaults option exists in the advanced section of a Publish Profile file: The description of the setting is “Automatically provides a default value when updating a table that contains data with a column that does not allow null values”, in other words checking that option will cause SSDT to insert an arbitrary default value into your newly created NON NULLable column. In case you’re wondering how it does it, here’s how: SSDT creates a DEFAULT CONSTRAINT at the same time as the column is created and then immediately removes that constraint: ALTER TABLE [dbo].[T1]    ADD [C1] INT NOT NULL,         CONSTRAINT [SD_T1_1df7a5f76cf44bb593506d05ff9a1e2b] DEFAULT 0 FOR [C1];ALTER TABLE [dbo].[T1] DROP CONSTRAINT [SD_T1_1df7a5f76cf44bb593506d05ff9a1e2b]; You can then update the value as appropriate in a Post-Deployment script. Pretty cool! On the downside, you can only specify this option for the whole project, not for an individual table or even an individual column – I’m not sure that I’d want to turn this on for an entire project as it could hide problems that a failed deployment would highlight, in other words smart defaults could be seen to be “papering over the cracks”. If you think that should be improved go and vote (and leave a comment) at [SSDT] Allow us to specify Smart defaults per table or even per column. @Jamiet

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  • Smart defaults [SSDT]

    - by jamiet
    I’ve just discovered a new, somewhat hidden, feature in SSDT that I didn’t know about and figured it would be worth highlighting here because I’ll bet not many others know it either; the feature is called Smart Defaults. It gets around the problem of adding a NOT NULLable column to an existing table that has got data in it – previous to SSDT you would need to define a DEFAULT constraint however it does feel rather cumbersome to create an object purely for the purpose of pushing through a deployment – that’s the situation that Smart Defaults is meant to alleviate. The Smart Defaults option exists in the advanced section of a Publish Profile file: The description of the setting is “Automatically provides a default value when updating a table that contains data with a column that does not allow null values”, in other words checking that option will cause SSDT to insert an arbitrary default value into your newly created NON NULLable column. In case you’re wondering how it does it, here’s how: SSDT creates a DEFAULT CONSTRAINT at the same time as the column is created and then immediately removes that constraint: ALTER TABLE [dbo].[T1]    ADD [C1] INT NOT NULL,         CONSTRAINT [SD_T1_1df7a5f76cf44bb593506d05ff9a1e2b] DEFAULT 0 FOR [C1];ALTER TABLE [dbo].[T1] DROP CONSTRAINT [SD_T1_1df7a5f76cf44bb593506d05ff9a1e2b]; You can then update the value as appropriate in a Post-Deployment script. Pretty cool! On the downside, you can only specify this option for the whole project, not for an individual table or even an individual column – I’m not sure that I’d want to turn this on for an entire project as it could hide problems that a failed deployment would highlight, in other words smart defaults could be seen to be “papering over the cracks”. If you think that should be improved go and vote (and leave a comment) at [SSDT] Allow us to specify Smart defaults per table or even per column. @Jamiet

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  • Want a headless build server for SSDT without installing Visual Studio? You’re out of luck!

    - by jamiet
    An issue that regularly seems to rear its head on my travels is that of headless build servers for SSDT. What does that mean exactly? Let me give you my interpretation of it. A SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) project incorporates a build process that will basically parse all of the files within the project and spit out a .dacpac file. Where an organisation employs a Continuous Integration process they will likely want to automate the building of that dacpac whenever someone commits a change to the source control repository. In order to do that the organisation will use a build server (e.g. TFS, TeamCity, Jenkins) and hence that build server requires all the pre-requisite software that understands how to build an SSDT project. The simplest way to install all of those pre-requisites is to install SSDT itself however a lot of folks don’t like that approach because it installs a lot unnecessary components on there, not least Visual Studio itself. Those folks (of which i am one) are of the opinion that it should be unnecessary to install a heavyweight GUI in order to simply get a few software components required to do something that inherently doesn’t even need a GUI. The phrase “headless build server” is often used to describe a build server that doesn’t contain any heavyweight GUI tools such as Visual Studio and is a desirable state for a build server. In his blog post Headless MSBuild Support for SSDT (*.sqlproj) Projects Gert Drapers outlines the steps necessary to obtain a headless build server for SSDT: This article describes how to install the required components to build and publish SQL Server Data Tools projects (*.sqlproj) using MSBuild without installing the full SQL Server Data Tool hosted inside the Visual Studio IDE. http://sqlproj.com/index.php/2012/03/headless-msbuild-support-for-ssdt-sqlproj-projects/ Frankly however going through these steps is a royal PITA and folks like myself have longed for Microsoft to support headless build support for SSDT by providing a distributable installer that installs only the pre-requisites for building SSDT projects. Yesterday in MSDN forum thread Building a VS2013 headless build server - it's sooo hard Mike Hingley complained about this very thing and it prompted a response from Kevin Cunnane from the SSDT product team: The official recommendation from the TFS / Visual Studio team is to install the version of Visual Studio you use on the build machine. I, like many others, would rather not have to install full blown Visual Studio and so I asked: Is there any chance you'll ever support any of these scenarios: Installation of all build/deploy pre-requisites without installing the VS shell? TFS shipping with all of the pre-requisites for doing SSDT project build/deploys 3rd party build servers (e.g. TeamCity) shipping with all of the requisites for doing SSDT project build/deploys I have to say that the lack of a single installer containing all the pre-requisites for SSDT build/deploy puzzles me. Surely the DacFX installer would be a perfect vehicle for that? Kevin replied again: The answer is no for all 3 scenarios. We looked into this issue, discussed it with the Visual Studio / TFS team, and in the end agreed to go with their latest guidance which is to install Visual Studio (e.g. VS2013 Express for Web) on the build machine. This is how Visual Studio Online is doing it and it's the approach recommended for customers setting up their own TFS build servers. I would hope this is compatible with 3rd party build servers but have not verified whether this works with TeamCity etc. Note that DacFx MSI isn't a suitable release vehicle for this as we don't want to include Visual Studio/MSBuild dependencies in that package. It's meant to just include the core DacFx DLLs used by SSMS, SqlPackage.exe on the command line, etc. What this means is we won't be providing a separate MSI installer or nuget package with just the necessary build DLLs you need to run your build and tests. If someone wanted to create a script that generated a nuget package based on our DLLs and targets files, then release that somewhere on the web for easier integration with 3rd party build servers we've no problem with that. Again, here’s the link to the thread and its worth reading in its entirety if this is something that interests you. So there you have it. Microsoft will not be be providing support for headless build servers for SSDT but if someone in the community wants to go ahead and roll their own, go right ahead. @Jamiet

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  • Redistribution of sqlpackage.exe [SSDT]

    - by jamiet
    This is a short note for anyone that may be interested in redistributing sqlpackage.exe. If this isn’t you then no need to keep reading. Ostensibly this is here for anyone that bingles for this information. sqlpackage.exe is a command-line that ships with SQL Server Development Tools (SSDT) in SQL Server 2012 and its main purpose (amongst other things) is to deploy .dacpac files from the command-line. Its quite conceivable that one might want to install only sqlpackage.exe rather than the full SSDT suite (for example on a production server) and I myself have recently had that need. I enquired to the SSDT product team about the possibility of doing this. I said: Back in VS DB Proj days it was possible to use VSDBCMD.exe on a machine that did not have the full VS shell install by shipping lots of pre-requisites along for the ride (details at How to: Prepare a Database for Deployment From a Command Prompt by Using VSDBCMD.EXE). Is there a similar mechanism for using VSDBMCD.exe’s replacement, sqlpackage.exe? here was the reply from Barclay Hill who heads up the development team: Yes, SQLPackage.exe is the analogy of VSDBCMD.exe. You can acquire separately, in a stand-alone package, by installing DACFX. You can get it from: Feature pack is here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29065 Web Platform Installer here: http://www.microsoft.com/web/gallery/install.aspx?appid=DACFX You will notice it has dependencies on SQLDOM and SQLCLRTYPES.  WebPI will install these for you, but it is al carte on the feature pack. So, now you know. I didn’t enquire about licensing of DACFX but given SSDT is free I am going to assume that the same applies to DACFX too. @Jamiet

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  • Redistribution of sqlpackage.exe [SSDT]

    - by jamiet
    This is a short note for anyone that may be interested in redistributing sqlpackage.exe. If this isn’t you then no need to keep reading. Ostensibly this is here for anyone that bingles for this information. sqlpackage.exe is a command-line that ships with SQL Server Development Tools (SSDT) in SQL Server 2012 and its main purpose (amongst other things) is to deploy .dacpac files from the command-line. Its quite conceivable that one might want to install only sqlpackage.exe rather than the full SSDT suite (for example on a production server) and I myself have recently had that need. I enquired to the SSDT product team about the possibility of doing this. I said: Back in VS DB Proj days it was possible to use VSDBCMD.exe on a machine that did not have the full VS shell install by shipping lots of pre-requisites along for the ride (details at How to: Prepare a Database for Deployment From a Command Prompt by Using VSDBCMD.EXE). Is there a similar mechanism for using VSDBMCD.exe’s replacement, sqlpackage.exe? here was the reply from Barclay Hill who heads up the development team: Yes, SQLPackage.exe is the analogy of VSDBCMD.exe. You can acquire separately, in a stand-alone package, by installing DACFX. You can get it from: Feature pack is here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=29065 Web Platform Installer here: http://www.microsoft.com/web/gallery/install.aspx?appid=DACFX You will notice it has dependencies on SQLDOM and SQLCLRTYPES.  WebPI will install these for you, but it is al carte on the feature pack. So, now you know. I didn’t enquire about licensing of DACFX but given SSDT is free I am going to assume that the same applies to DACFX too. @Jamiet

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  • Don’t learn SSDT, learn about your databases instead

    - by jamiet
    Last Thursday I presented my session “Introduction to SSDT” at the SQL Supper event held at the offices of 7 Digital (loved the samosas, guys). I did my usual spiel, tour of the IDE, connected development, declarative database development yadda yadda yadda… and at the end asked if there were any questions. One gentleman in attendance (sorry, can’t remember your name) raised his hand and stated that by attempting to evangelise all of the features I’d missed the single biggest benefit of SSDT, that it can tell you stuff about database that you didn’t already know. I realised that he was dead right. SSDT allows you to import your whole database schema into a new project and it will instantly give you a list of errors and/or warnings pertaining to the objects in your database. Invalid references (e.g a long-forgotten stored procedure that refers to a non-existent column), unnecessary 3-part naming, incorrect case usage, syntax errors…it’ll tell you about all of ‘em! Turn on static code analysis (this article shows you how) and you’ll learn even more such as any stored procedures that begin with “sp_”, WHERE clauses that will kill performance, use of @@IDENTITY instead of SCOPE_IDENTITY(), use of deprecated syntax, implicit casts etc…. the list goes on and on. I urge you to download and install SSDT (takes a few minutes, its free and you don’t need SQL Server or Visual Studio pre-installed), start a new project: right-click on your new project and import from your database: and see what happens: You may be surprised what you discover. Let me know in the comments below what results you get, total number of objects, number of errors/warnings, I’d be interested to know! @Jamiet

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  • SSDT gotcha – Moving a file erases code analysis suppressions

    - by jamiet
    I discovered a little wrinkle in SSDT today that is worth knowing about if you are managing your database schemas using SSDT. In short, if a file is moved to a different folder in the project then any code analysis suppressions that reference that file will disappear from the suppression file. This makes sense if you think about it because the paths stored in the suppression file are no longer valid, but you probably won’t be aware of it until it happens to you. If you don’t know what code analysis is or you don’t know what the suppression file is then you can probably stop reading now, otherwise read on for a simple short demo. Let’s create a new project and add a stored procedure to it called sp_dummy. Naming stored procedures with a sp_ prefix is generally frowned upon and hence SSDT static code analysis will look for occurrences of this and flag them. So, the next thing we need to do is turn on static code analysis in the project properties: A subsequent build causes a code analysis warning as we might expect: Let’s suppose we actually don’t mind stored procedures with sp_ prefixes, we can just right-click on the message to suppress and get rid of it: That causes a suppression file to get created in our project: Notice that the suppression file contains a relative path to the file that has had the suppression placed upon it. Now if we simply move the file within our project to a new folder notice that the suppression that we just created gets removed from the suppression file: As I alluded above this behaviour is intuitive because the path originally stored in the suppression file is no longer relevant but you’re probably not going to be aware of it until it happens to you and messages that you thought you had suppressed start appearing again. Definitely one to be aware of. @Jamiet   

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  • Highlight Word add-in for Visual Studio 2010 [SSDT]

    - by jamiet
    I’ve just been alerted by my colleague Kyle Harvie to a Visual Studio 2010 add-in that should prove very useful if you are an SSDT user. Its simply called Highlight all occurrences of selected word and does exactly what it says on the tin, you highlight a word and it shows all other occurrences of that word in your script: There’s a limitation for .sql files (which I have reported) where the highlighting doesn’t work if the word is wrapped in square brackets but what the heck, its free, it takes about ten seconds to install….install it already! @Jamiet

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  • Bitmask data insertions in SSDT Post-Deployment scripts

    - by jamiet
    On my current project we are using SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) to manage our database schema and one of the tasks we need to do often is insert data into that schema once deployed; the typical method employed to do this is to leverage Post-Deployment scripts and that is exactly what we are doing. Our requirement is a little different though, our data is split up into various buckets that we need to selectively deploy on a case-by-case basis. I was going to use a SQLCMD variable for each bucket (defaulted to some value other than “Yes”) to define whether it should be deployed or not so we could use something like this in our Post-Deployment script: IF ($(DeployBucket1Flag) = 'Yes')BEGIN   :r .\Bucket1.data.sqlENDIF ($(DeployBucket2Flag) = 'Yes')BEGIN   :r .\Bucket2.data.sqlENDIF ($(DeployBucket3Flag) = 'Yes')BEGIN   :r .\Bucket3.data.sqlEND That works fine and is, I’m sure, a very common technique for doing this. It is however slightly ugly because we have to litter our deployment with various SQLCMD variables. My colleague James Rowland-Jones (whom I’m sure many of you know) suggested another technique – bitmasks. I won’t go into detail about how this works (James has already done that at Using a Bitmask - a practical example) but I’ll summarise by saying that you can deploy different combinations of the buckets simply by supplying a different numerical value for a single SQLCMD variable. Each bit of that value’s binary representation signifies whether a particular bucket should be deployed or not. This is better demonstrated using the following simple script (which can be easily leveraged inside your Post-Deployment scripts): /* $(DeployData) is a SQLCMD variable that would, if you were using this in SSDT, be declared in the SQLCMD variables section of your project file. It should contain a numerical value, defaulted to 0. In this example I have declared it using a :setvar statement. Test the affect of different values by changing the :setvar statement accordingly. Examples: :setvar DeployData 1 will deploy bucket 1 :setvar DeployData 2 will deploy bucket 2 :setvar DeployData 3   will deploy buckets 1 & 2 :setvar DeployData 6   will deploy buckets 2 & 3 :setvar DeployData 31  will deploy buckets 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 */ :setvar DeployData 0 DECLARE  @bitmask VARBINARY(MAX) = CONVERT(VARBINARY,$(DeployData)); IF (@bitmask & 1 = 1) BEGIN     PRINT 'Bucket 1 insertions'; END IF (@bitmask & 2 = 2) BEGIN     PRINT 'Bucket 2 insertions'; END IF (@bitmask & 4 = 4) BEGIN     PRINT 'Bucket 3 insertions'; END IF (@bitmask & 8 = 8) BEGIN     PRINT 'Bucket 4 insertions'; END IF (@bitmask & 16 = 16) BEGIN     PRINT 'Bucket 5 insertions'; END An example of running this using DeployData=6 The binary representation of 6 is 110. The second and third significant bits of that binary number are set to 1 and hence buckets 2 and 3 are “activated”. Hope that makes sense and is useful to some of you! @Jamiet P.S. I used the awesome HTML Copy feature of Visual Studio’s Productivity Power Tools in order to format the T-SQL code above for this blog post.

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  • Editing sqlcmdvariable nodes in SSDT Publish Profile files using msbuild

    - by jamiet
    Publish profile files are a new feature of SSDT database projects that enable you to package up all environment-specific properties into a single file for use at publish time; I have written about them before at Publish Profile Files in SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and if it wasn’t obvious from that blog post, I’m a big fan! As I have used Publish Profile files more and more I have realised that there may be times when you need to edit those Publish profile files during your build process, you may think of such an operation as a kind of pre-processor step. In my case I have a sqlcmd variable called DeployTag, it holds a value representing the current build number that later gets inserted into a table using a Post-Deployment script (that’s a technique that I wrote about in Implementing SQL Server solutions using Visual Studio 2010 Database Projects – a compendium of project experiences – search for “Putting a build number into the DB”). Here are the contents of my Publish Profile file (simplified for demo purposes) : Notice that DeployTag defaults to “UNKNOWN”. On my current project we are using msbuild scripts to control what gets built and what I want to do is take the build number from our build engine and edit the Publish profile files accordingly. Here is the pertinent portion of the the msbuild script I came up with to do that:   <ItemGroup>     <Namespaces Include="myns">       <Prefix>myns</Prefix>       <Uri>http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003</Uri>     </Namespaces>   </ItemGroup>   <Target Name="UpdateBuildNumber">     <ItemGroup>       <SSDTPublishFiles Include="$(DESTINATION)\**\$(CONFIGURATION)\**\*.publish.xml" />     </ItemGroup>     <MSBuild.ExtensionPack.Xml.XmlFile Condition="%(SSDTPublishFiles.Identity) != ''"                                        TaskAction="UpdateElement"                                        File="%(SSDTPublishFiles.Identity)"                                        Namespaces="@(Namespaces)"                                         XPath="//myns:SqlCmdVariable[@Include='DeployTag']/myns:Value"                                         InnerText="$(BuildNumber)"/>   </Target> The important bits here are the definition of the namespace http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003: and the XPath expression //myns:SqlCmdVariable[@Include='DeployTag']/myns:Value: Some extra info: I use a fantastic tool called XMLPad to discover/test XPath expressions, read more at XMLPad – a new tool in my developer utility belt MSBuild.ExtensionPack.Xml.XmlFile is a msbuild task used to edit XML files and is available from Mike Fourie’s MSBuild Extension Pack I’m using a property called $(BuildNumber) to hold the value to substitute into the file and also $(DESTINATION)\**\$(CONFIGURATION)\**\*.publish.xml to define an ItemGroup all of my Publish Profile files. Populating those properties is basic msbuild stuff and is therefore outside the scope of this blog post however if you want to learn more check out MSBuild properties & How To: Use Wildcards to Build All Files in a Directory. Hope this is useful! @Jamiet

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  • New version of SQL Server Data Tools is now available

    - by jamiet
    If you don’t follow the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) blog then you may not know that two days ago an updated version of SSDT was released (and by SSDT I mean the database projects, not the SSIS/SSRS/SSAS stuff) along with a new version of the SSDT Power Tools. This release incorporates a an updated version of the SQL Server Data Tier Application Framework (aka DAC Framework, aka DacFX) which you can read about on Adam Mahood’s blog post SQL Server Data-Tier Application Framework (September 2012) Available. DacFX is essentially all the gubbins that you need to extract and publish .dacpacs and according to Adam’s post it incorporates a new feature that I think is very interesting indeed: Extract DACPAC with data – Creates a database snapshot file (.dacpac) from a live SQL Server or Windows Azure SQL Database that contains data from user tables in addition to the database schema. These packages can be published to a new or existing SQL Server or Windows Azure SQL Database using the SqlPackage.exe Publish action. Data contained in package replaces the existing data in the target database. In short, .dacpacs can now include data as well as schema. I’m very excited about this because one of my long-standing complaints about SSDT (and its many forebears) is that whilst it has great support for declarative development of schema it does not provide anything similar for data – if you want to deploy data from your SSDT projects then you have to write Post-Deployment MERGE scripts. This new feature for .dacpacs does not change that situation yet however it is a very important pre-requisite so I am hoping that a feature to provide declaration of data (in addition to declaration of schema which we have today) is going to light up in SSDT in the not too distant future. Read more about the latest SSDT, Power Tools & DacFX releases at: Now available: SQL Server Data Tools - September 2012 update! by Janet Yeilding New SSDT Power Tools! Now for both Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012 by Sarah McDevitt SQL Server Data-Tier Application Framework (September 2012) Available by Adam Mahood @Jamiet

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  • VSDB to SSDT Part 1 : Converting projects and trimming excess files

    - by Etienne Giust
    Visual Studio 2012 introduces a change regarding Database Projects : they now use the SSDT technology, which means old VS2010 database projects (VSDB projects) need to be converted. Hopefully, VS2012 does that for you and it is quite painless, but in my case some unnecessary artifacts from the old project were left in place.  Also, when reopening the solution, database projects appeared unconverted even if I had converted them in the previous session and saved the solution.   Converting the project(s) When opening your Visual Studio 2010 solution with Visual Studio 2012, every standard project should be converted by default, but Visual Studio will ask you about your database projects : “Functional changes required Visual Studio will automatically make functional changes to the following projects in order to open them. The project behavior will change as a result. You will be able to open these projects in this version and Visual Studio 2010 SP1.” If you accept, your project is converted. And it should compile with no errors right away except if you have dependencies to dbschema files which are no longer supported.   The output of a SSDT project is a dacpac file which replaces the dbschema file you were accustomed to. References to dacpac files can be added to SSDT projects in the same fashion references to dbschema could be added to VSDB projects.   Cleaning up You will notice that your project file is now a sqlproj file but the old dbproj is still here. In fact at that point you can still reopen the solution in Visual Studio 2010 and everything should show up.   If like me you plan on using VS2012 exclusively, you can get rid of the following files which are still on your disk and in your source control : the dbproj and dbproj.vspscc files Properties/Database.sqlcmdvars Properties/Database.sqldeployment Properties/Database.sqlpermissions Properties/Database.sqlsettings   You might wonder where the information which used to be in the Properties files is now stored. Permissions : a Permissions.sql was created at the root level of your project. Note that when you create a new database project and import a database using the Schema Compare capabilities from Visual Studio, imported table and stored procedure definition files will hold the permission information (along with constraints and, indexes) SQLVars : they are defined inside the publish.xml files Deployment : they are also in the publish.xml files Settings : I was unable to find where those are now. I suppose they are not defined anymore   But Visual Studio still says my database projects should be converted ! I had this error upon closing and then re-opening the solution : my database projects would appear unconverted even though I did all the necessary steps previously.   Easy solution : remove those projects from the solution and add them again (the sqlproj files).   More For those who run into problems when converting from VSDB to SSDT, I suggest reading the following post : http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ssdt/archive/2011/11/21/top-vsdb-gt-ssdt-project-conversion-issues.aspx   Also interesting, is a side by side comparison of VSDB and SSDT project features : http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ssdt/archive/2011/11/21/sql-server-data-tools-ctp4-vs-vs2010-database-projects.aspx

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  • Deployment of SSRS 2012 From SSDT Fails - The specified report server URL could not be found

    - by Tony Covarrubias
    I have recently installed SQL Server 2012 Developer on my laptop. I created a simple SSRS report using AdventureWorks201. The report builds fine but will not deploy. I get the error "The specified report server URL http:/localhost/Reports_MSSQLSERVER2012 could not be found" I am able to browse to said URL without issue. I can even upload the report and run it just fine. I am using an administrator account in both cases (on the URL and within SSDT). Is there some reason why SSDT cannot see the URL I am specifying?

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  • Folders in SQL Server Data Tools

    - by jamiet
    Recently I have begun a new project in which I am using SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) 2012. Although I have been using SSDT & SSIS fairly extensively while SQL Server 2012 was in the beta phase I usually find that you don’t learn about the capabilities and quirks of new products until you use them on a real project, hence I am hoping I’m going to have a lot of experiences to share on my blog over the coming few weeks. In this first such blog post I want to talk about file and folder organisation in SSDT. The predecessor to SSDT is Visual Studio Database Projects. When one created a new Visual Studio Database Project a folder structure was provided with “Schema Objects” and “Scripts” in the root and a series of subfolders for each schema: Apparently a few customers were not too happy with the tool arbitrarily creating lots of folders in Solution Explorer and hence SSDT has gone in completely the opposite direction; now no folders are created and new objects will get created in the root – it is at your discretion where they get moved to: After using SSDT for a few weeks I can safely say that I preferred the older way because I never used Solution Explorer to navigate my schema objects anyway so it didn’t bother me how many folders it created. Having said that the thought of a single long list of files in Solution Explorer without any folders makes me shudder so on this project I have been manually creating folders in which to organise files and I have tried to mimic the old way as much as possible by creating two folders in the root, one for all schema objects and another for Pre/Post deployment scripts: This works fine until different developers start to build their own different subfolder structures; if you are OCD-inclined like me this is going to grate on you eventually and hence you are going to want to move stuff around so that you have consistent folder structures for each schema and (if you have multiple databases) each project. Moreover new files get created with a filename of the object name + “.sql” and often people like to have an extra identifier in the filename to indicate the object type: The overall point is this – files and folders in your solution are going to change. Some version control systems (VCSs) don’t take kindly to files being moved around or renamed because they recognise the renamed/moved file simply as a new file and when they do that you lose the revision history which, to my mind, is one of the key benefits of using a VCS in the first place. On this project we have been using Team Foundation Server (TFS) and while it pains me to say it (as I am no great fan of TFS’s version control system) it has proved invaluable when dealing with the SSDT problems that I outlined above because it is integrated right into the Visual Studio IDE. Thus the advice from this blog post is: If you are using SSDT consider using an Visual-Studio-integrated VCS that can easily handle file renames and file moves I suspect that fans of other VCSs will counter by saying that their VCS weapon of choice can handle renames/file moves quite satisfactorily and if that’s the case…great…let me know about them in the comments. This blog post is not an attempt to make people use one particular VCS, only to make people aware of this issue that might rise when using SSDT. More to come in the coming few weeks! @jamiet

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  • VSDB to SSDT Series : Introduction

    - by Etienne Giust
    At the office, we extensively use VS2010 SQL Server 2008 Database Projects and SQL Server 2008 Server Projects  in our Visual Studio 2010 solutions. With Visual Studio 2012, those types of projects are replaced by the  SQL Server Database Project  using the SSDT (SQL Server Data Tools) technology. I started investigating the shift from Visual Studio 2010 to Visual Studio 2012 and specifically what needs to be done concerning those database projects in terms of painless migration, continuous integration and standalone deployment. I will write my findings in a series of 4 short articles: Part 1 will be about the database projects migration process and the cleaning up that ensues Part 2 will be about creating SQL Server 2008 Server Projects equivalents with the new SSDT project type Part 3 will introduce a replacement to the vsdbcmd.exe command used for deployment in our continuous integration process Part 4 will explain how to create standalone packages of SSDT projects for deployment on non accessible servers (such as a production server)

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  • VSDB to SSDT part 4 : Redistributable database deployment package with SqlPackage.exe

    - by Etienne Giust
    The goal here is to use SSDT SqlPackage to deploy the output of a Visual Studio 2012 Database project… a bit in the same fashion that was detailed here : http://geekswithblogs.net/80n/archive/2012/09/12/vsdb-to-ssdt-part-3--command-line-deployment-with-sqlpackage.exe.aspx   The difference is we want to do it on an environment where Visual Studio 2012 and SSDT are not installed. This might be the case of your Production server.   Package structure So, to get started you need to create a folder named “DeploymentSSDTRedistributable”. This folder will have the following structure :         The dacpac and dll files are the outputs of your Visual Studio 2012 Database project. If your database project references another database project, you need to put their dacpac and dll here too, otherwise deployment will not work. The publish.xml file is the publish configuration suitable for your target environment. It holds connexion strings, SQLVARS parameters and deployment options. Review it carefully. The SqlDacRuntime folder (an arbitrary chosen name) will hold the SqlPackage executable and supporting libraries   Contents of the SqlDacRuntime folder Here is what you need to put in the SqlDacRuntime folder  :      You will be able to find these files in the following locations, on a machine with Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate installed : C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DAC\bin : SqlPackage.exe Microsoft.Data.Tools.Schema.Sql.dll  Microsoft.Data.Tools.Utilities.dll Microsoft.SqlServer.Dac.dll C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\assembly\GAC_MSIL\Microsoft.SqlServer.TransactSql.ScriptDom\v4.0_11.0.0.0__89845dcd8080cc91 Microsoft.SqlServer.TransactSql.ScriptDom.dll   Deploying   Now take your DeploymentSSDTRedistributable deployment package to your remote machine. In a standard command window, place yourself inside the DeploymentSSDTRedistributable  folder.   You can first perform a check of what will be updated in the target database. The DeployReport task of SqlPackage.exe will help you do that. The following command will output an xml of the changes:   "SqlDacRuntime/SqlPackage.exe" /Action:DeployReport /SourceFile:./Our.Database.dacpac /Profile:./Release.publish.xml /OutputPath:./ChangesToDeploy.xml      You might get some warnings on Log and Data file like I did. You can ignore them. Also, the tool is warning about data loss when removing a column from a table. By default, the publish.xml options will prevent you from deploying when data loss is occuring (see the BlockOnPossibleDataLoss inside the publish.xml file). Before actual deployment, take time to carefully review the changes to be applied in the ChangesToDeploy.xml file.    When you are satisfied, you can deploy your changes with the following command : "SqlDacRuntime/SqlPackage.exe" /Action:Publish /SourceFile:./Our.Database.dacpac /Profile:./Release.publish.xml   Et voilà !  Your dacpac file has been deployed to your database. I’ve been testing this on a SQL 2008 Server (not R2) but it should work on 2005, 2008 R2 and 2012 as well.   Many thanks to Anuj Chaudhary for his article on the subject : http://www.anujchaudhary.com/2012/08/sqlpackageexe-automating-ssdt-deployment.html

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  • VSDB to SSDT part 3 : command-line deployment with SqlPackage.exe, replacement for Vsdbcmd.exe

    - by Etienne Giust
    For our continuous integration needs, we use a powershell script to handle deployment. A simpler approach would be to have a deployment task embedded within the build process. See the solution provided here by Jakob Ehn (a most interesting read which also dives into the '”deploying from Visual Studio” specifics) : http://geekswithblogs.net/jakob/archive/2012/04/25/deploying-ssdt-projects-with-tfs-build.aspx   For our needs, though, clearly separating our build phase from our deployment phase is important. It allows us to instantly deploy old versions. Also it is more convenient for continuous integration. So we stick with the powershell script approach. With VSDB projects, that script used to call the following command (the vsdbcmd executable was locally available, along with needed libraries): vsdbcmd.exe /a:Deploy /dd /cs:<CONNECTIONSTRING TO TARGET DB> /dsp:SQL /manifest:< PATH TO .deploymanifest FILE>   To be able to do the approximately same thing with a SSDT produced file (dacpac), you would call this command on a machine which has VS2012 installed (or the SSDT installed, see here : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh500335%28v=vs.103%29):   C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DAC\bin\SqlPackage.exe /Action:Publish /SourceFile:<PATH TO Database.dacpac FILE> /Profile:<PATH TO .publish.xml FILE>   And from within a powershell script :   & "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SQL Server\110\DAC\bin\SqlPackage.exe" /Action:Publish /SourceFile:<PATH TO Database.dacpac FILE> /Profile:<PATH TO .publish.xml FILE>   The command will consume a publish.xml file where the connection string and the deployment options are specified. You must be familiar with it if you have done some deployments from visual studio. If not, please refer to the above mentioned article by Jakob Ehn.   It is also possible to pass those parameters in the command line. The complete SqlPackage.exe syntax is detailed here : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh550080%28v=vs.103%29.aspx

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  • Documenting your database with Visual Studio 2012 SSDT tools

    - by krislankford
    The title of this post is interesting and something I am wishing you and your colleagues had a better way to do. I understand as I am asked this question frequently. I couple of weeks ago I was asked the same question by a customer who documents their database using the ApexSQL Doc tools which uses the extended properties on objects to create automated documentation. I thought that was super interesting and went down the path to see how we could could support the creation of this documentation while leveraging the Visual Studio 2012 SSDT Tools. What I found is was rather intriguing. There is a property called “Description” on all objects in the SSDT tools. This property is rather subtle and I am betting overlooked. To be honest, this property has probably been there for a while and I just never discovered it. Adding text to this '”Description” property it allows Visual Studio to create the commands for the extended properties directly to your schema which should be version controlled. As I did more digging there seemed to be extended properties at every level in the SQL database objects. This fills some rather challenging gaps and allows organizations to manage SQL Schema using the Visual Studio SQL database tools while allowing a way to automatically document the database. This will also work in the automation of the creation and alter scripts that can be generated as part f an automated build system. Now we essentially get a way to store, build and document the database in a nice little ALM package. Happy Coding!

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  • VSDB to SSDT Part 2 : SQL Server 2008 Server Project &hellip; with SSDT

    - by Etienne Giust
    With Visual Studio 2012 and the use of SSDT technology, there is only one type of database project : SQL Server Database Project. With Visual Studio 2010, we used to have SQL Server 2008 Server Project which we used to define server-level objects, mostly logins and linked servers. A convenient wizard allowed for creation of this type of projects. It does not exists anymore. Here is how to create an equivalent of the SQL Server 2008 Server Project  with Visual Studio 2012: Create a new SQL Server Database Project : it will be created empty Create a new SQL Schema Compare ( SQL menu item > Schema Compare > New Schema Comparison ) As a source, select any database on the SQL server you want to mimic Set the target to be your newly Database Project In the Schema Compare options (cog-like icon), Object Types pane, set the options as below. You might want to tweak those and select only the object types you want. Then, run the comparison, review and select your changes and apply them to the project.

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  • Northwind now available on SQL Azure

    - by jamiet
    Two weeks ago I made available a copy of [AdventureWorks2012] on SQL Azure and published credentials so that anyone from the SQL community could connect up and experience SQL Azure, probably for the first time. One of the (somewhat) popular requests thereafter was to make the venerable Northwind database available too so I am pleased to say that as of right now, Northwind is up there too. You will notice immediately that all of the Northwind tables (and the stored procedures and views too) have been moved into a schema called [Northwind] – this was so that they could be easily differentiated from the existing [AdventureWorks2012] objects. I used an SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) project to publish the schema and data up to this SQL Azure database; if you are at all interested in poking around that SSDT project then I have made it available on Codeplex for your convenience under the MS-PL license – go and get it from https://northwindssdt.codeplex.com/. Using SSDT proved particularly useful as it alerted me to some aspects of Northwind that were not compatible with SQL Azure, namely that five of the tables did not have clustered indexes: The beauty of using SSDT is that I am alerted to these issues before I even attempt a connection to SQL Azure. Pretty cool, no? Fixing this situation was of course very easy, I simply changed the following primary keys from being nonclustered to clustered: [PK_Region] [PK_CustomerDemographics] [PK_EmployeeTerritories] [PK_Territories] [PK_CustomerCustomerDemo]   If you want to connect up then here are the credentials that you will need: Server mhknbn2kdz.database.windows.net Database AdventureWorks2012 User sqlfamily Password [email protected] You will need SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2008R2 installed in order to connect or alternatively simply use this handy website: https://mhknbn2kdz.database.windows.net which provides a web interface to a SQL Azure server. Do remember that hosting this database is not free so if you find that you are making use of it please help to keep it available by visiting Paypal and donating any amount at all to [email protected] To make this easy you can simply hit this link and the details will be completed for you – all you have to do is login and hit the “Send” button. If you are already a PayPal member then it should take you all of about 20 seconds! I hope this is useful to some of you folks out there. Don’t forget that we also have more data up there than in the conventional [AdventureWorks2012], read more at Big AdventureWorks2012. @Jamiet  AdventureWorks on Azure - Provided by the SQL Server community, for the SQL Server community!

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  • Sql Server Data Tools & Entity Framework - is there any synergy here?

    - by Benjol
    Coming out of a project using Linq2Sql, I suspect that the next (bigger) one might push me into the arms of Entity Framework. I've done some reading-up on the subject, but what I haven't managed to find is a coherent story about how SQL Server Data Tools and Entity Framework should/could/might be used together. Were they conceived totally separately, and using them together is stroking the wrong way? Are they somehow totally orthogonal and I'm missing the point? Some reasons why I think I might want both: SSDT is great for having 'compiled' (checked) and easily versionable sql and schema But the SSDT 'migration/update' story is not convincing (to me): "Update anything" works ok for schema, but there's no way (AFAIK) that it can ever work for data. On the other hand, I haven't tried the EF migration to know if it presents similar problems, but the Up/Down bits look quite handy.

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  • Kill all the project files!

    - by jamiet
    Like many folks I’m a keen podcast listener and yesterday my commute was filled by listening to Scott Hunter being interviewed on .Net Rocks about the next version of ASP.Net. One thing Scott said really struck a chord with me. I don’t remember the full quote but he was talking about how the ASP.Net project file (i.e. the .csproj file) is going away. The rationale being that the main purpose of that file is to list all the other files in the project, and that’s something that the file system is pretty good at. In Scott’s own words (that someone helpfully put in the comments): A file that lists files is really redundant when the OS already does this Romeliz Valenciano correctly pointed out on Twitter that there will still be a project.json file however no longer will there be a need to keep a list of files in a project file. I suspect project.json will simply contain a list of exclusions where necessary rather than the current approach where the project file is a list of inclusions. On the face of it this seems like a pretty good idea. I’ve long been a fan of convention over configuration and this is a great example of that. Instead of listing all the files in a separate file, just treat all the files in the directory as being part of the project. Ostensibly the approach is if its in the directory, its part of the project. Simple. Now I’m not an ASP.net developer, far from it, but it did occur to me that the same approach could be applied to the two Visual Studio project types that I am most familiar with, SSIS & SSDT. Like many people I’ve long been irritated by SSIS projects that display a faux file system inside Solution Explorer. As you can see in the screenshot below the project has Miscellaneous and Connection Managers folders but no such folders exist on the file system: This may seem like a minor thing but it means useful Solution Explorer features like Show All Files and Open Folder in Windows Explorer don’t work and quite frankly it makes me feel like a second class citizen in the Microsoft ecosystem. I’m a developer, treat me like one. Don’t try and hide the detail of how a project works under the covers, show it to me. I’m a big boy, I can handle it! Would it not be preferable to simply treat all the .dtsx files in a directory as being part of a project? I think it would, that’s pretty much all the .dtproj file does anyway (that, and present things in a non-alphabetic order – something else that wildly irritates me), so why not just get rid of the .dtproj file? In the case of SSDT the .sqlproj actually does a whole lot more than simply list files because it also states the BuildAction of each file (Build, NotInBuild, Post-Deployment, etc…) but I see no reason why the convention over configuration approach can’t help us there either. Want to know which is the Post-deployment script? Well, its the one called Post-DeploymentScript.sql! Simple! So that’s my new crusade. Let’s kill all the project files (well, the .dtproj & .sqlproj ones anyway). Are you with me? @Jamiet

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