I’m a fan of new shiny things, and as a former SQL Server DBA the release of SQL Operations Studio definitely peaked my interest.
So, in the words of the Cat from Red Dwarf, “So what is it?”
(It’s not a White Hole…just in case you were wondering…)
The best description comes straight from the product team themselves, see here:
SQL Operations Studio (preview) offers a modern, keyboard-focused T-SQL coding experience that makes your everyday tasks easier with built-in features, such as multiple tab windows, a rich T-SQL editor, IntelliSense, keyword completion, code snippets, code navigation, and source control integration (Git). Run on-demand T-SQL queries, view and save results as text, JSON, or Excel. Edit data, organize your favorite database connections, and browse database objects in a familiar object browsing experience.
So, it’s a lightweight, slimmed down, better looking cousin of SQL Server Management Studio. In fact, my first thoughts when I saw this made me think of the approach that’s been taken with Visual Studio Code, wherein we’ve stripped out all the “bloat” of Visual Studio to focus primarily on the code side of things, making it a much faster, simpler experience.
It’s still in preview, but is already looking really slick. I’ve had a play around with it on a project I’m working on right now and here’re some stand out thoughts:
It Looks Really Nice
Like Visual Studio Code it’s got a fresh, clean feel about it. You can quickly dive into deeper content (similar to SQL Server Management Studio) and also customize the look and feel and suit your personal tastes.
Intellisense Works (I used to have so much trouble with this – thank the heavens for Red Gate)
Intellisense works out of the box, as should be expected.
You Can Create Your Own Insight Widgets and Dashboards
You can create your own custom widgets, and there’s also some Out-of-the-Box ones already available. The widget above shows the Top Worse Performing Queries, and is already available to use. See here for information on setting up the widget.
Which can be Further Customized:
In the above example, I’ve customized the Database Dashboard for my TutorialDB to show both the Tasks widget and Slow Queries widget. This is based on the tutorial here.
Source Control Integration
A must have is source control integration, and the preview offering of SQL Operations Studio supports Git for version/source control.
See here for more information on setting up with Git.
And finally, just like Visual Studio Code, you have support for Integrated Terminal, so you can interact directly with Powershell, Command Prompt and GitBash (at the time of writing). A lot of my Azure work involves interacting with Powershell so this is a really useful feature, plus the ability to work natively with SQLCMD, bcp etc is great.
In the example below I’ve also customized the theme as I prefer the darker themes in VS to the light ones.
I’ve only lightly touched on the features available at Preview. As well as those above, the current version includes, amongst others:
- Code Snippets
- Save Results as Text, JSON or Excel
- Server Groups
- Edit Data
SQL Operations Studio is in public preview (my version is 0.23) still, so it’s not fair to compare it directly to SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) at this point. I think even when generally available, it should still be considered a separate beast to SSMS, as Visual Studio is considered different to Visual Studio Code.
As it stands right now, it’s very clean and slick, and has some great functionality already. I can see definite use cases for this where developers and DBAs want to work in a lightweight code-focused editor that provides all the key functionality that’s required to work with and administer SQL instances. Time will tell if it’s sufficient to pull people away from the tried and trusted SSMS, and I’ll look to do a follow up post when we’re at GA.