This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is brought to you by Jens Vestergaard. The invitation for #101 is for essential SQL Server tools. Since I work for a tool vendor, you can guess that I’m going to be shaded that way.
This is the monthly blog party on the second Tuesday of the month. You can participate by writing your blog, linking to the invite and leaving a comment there (or a pingback). This is the creation of Adam Machanic, and if you want to host, drop him a note.
My Essential SQL Server Tools
There are really three main tools I’d say that are needed for SQL Server work. At least, these are the ones I need.
- SSMS – It’s free, and it’s the main tool for connecting to SQL Server. You might like VS Code or some other editor, especially on other platforms, but really SSMS is required for most people.
- SQL Prompt – It’s expensive for some, but after using this for years, I think the the native intellisense hurts more than helps. Just formatting alone make this critical for me. I’m moving through quicksand, mixed with molasses, when I don’t have Prompt installed.
- Git – Another free one, but an important one. As we write code, SQL Server will only keep the latest version. Much of what we do means that we need to understand where we came from with code. We do have integrations at Redgate for SQL code, but no matter what, just having a record of work is important, especially with multiple people. I love git, but if you want SVN or something else, use that. Just use something.
These are the main ones. Making these the main ones doesn’t mean that others aren’t important, but it just means these are the top of the list. After these, you can add in others. Here are the ones that I think are important for getting things done in a modern, multi-environment world.
SQL Search – From Redgate, but useful for finding things in a large environment. Way better than browsing.
DLM Dashboard – Free, and let’s you see and track those changes in production. Find out when code is being released and you aren’t aware of it.
Sublime Text – I tend to do some work in other languages, and in text, and having a quick, easy to use editor is nice. I think Sublime is great and worth the small fee.
Password Safe – Having long, secure passwords is important. I don’t try to remember them anymore, and I do want separate ones for every site. I like this open source tool, and have ports on my mobile devices.
Dropbox – Critical for me, since I use files on multiple machines. I keep copies of my presentations, password safe files, and more in sync across devices with Dropbox. Plus I can scan in docs from my phone if I need to send and share them.
dbatools – This is an amazing project. I hated working with the sqlps module and really avoided PoSh for many things before dbatools. Give this module a try and you may learn to love PowerShell.
SQLServerCentral – I’m biased, for sure. However, everyone could use a few things that we provide. A community, where you can get inspired and learn things (daily articles and editorial). A way to ask questions and get answers (our forums), and a place to keep scripts that are helpful for you (Scripts and Briefcase). These are important to rounding out your career, beyond just your current job.
There are plenty more choices, and certainly lots of tools within SQL Server. You should know about Extended Events, or Query Store (or Open Query Store) and more. Learn to use the resources you have, practice and test with them, and if you need a paid tool, don’t be afraid of asking. If the tool provides an ROI, it’s worth it. If it doesn’t, tell the vendor why.