Other IDEs

Most of us use SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) to manage our SQL Server instances or to write database code. However, Microsoft does give us database options with Visual Studio, VS Code, and Azure Data Studio. It does seem as though Microsoft would prefer more of us move to ADS, but I’m not sure I’m ready, and I wonder if you are.

I saw a list recently of some other tools, and I wonder if anyone uses these in their work. Most of these are cross platform, and support a number of different database platforms. Datagrip might be the most popular, but there are others. SQL Manager, Adminer, DBVis, SQLPro, and Flyspeed are ones I’ve heard of in the past. I’ve used DBArtisan at one company, and loved it as I could work disconnected. At the time, Query Analyzer didn’t support offline work.

Having an IDE that you are comfortable using is important to working efficiently. Many of us become quite used to the flow of our tool, we develop habits, muscle memory, and shortcuts that work for us. We get used to where things appear on the screen and what icons to click. Changing IDEs can be very disruptive and frustrating while you get used to a new interface. I still remember going from Enterprise Manager to SSMS and it was an annoying period of a few months as I got used to SSMS.

These days I find myself trying ADS often, but usually falling back to SSMS. I think that visually the basic HTML-like display is annoying. I have much preferred the thick client look at SSMS. It doesn’t help that some of the tools I often use don’t quite work the same in ADS. If we get a bit more of SQL Prompt in there, I might change my mind, but using the Command Palette rather than keyboard shortcuts is somewhat unfamiliar to me. What’s strange is that I like VS Code overall, and use it for PoSh, but for some reason it’s not the same with databases.

I am glad we have choice in tooling, though I don’t know that any large set of users actually use anything more than what is installed with SQL Server. I don’t know if other tools will allow anyone to produce more, or better, code, but I do know that I have found that some tools do help. It can be worth spending a bit of time experimenting with some other IDE to see if your work improves.

Steve Jones

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About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
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2 Responses to Other IDEs

  1. Takes me back to the old days, running an SQL Server 6.5 locally on the laptop when travelling meant discarding any UI and only working on sqlcmd. There wasn’t enough oomph in the hardware to support both the graphical Windows OS and the SQL Server. This was of course before any usable mobile data connections were available. Delivering the work often took hours on a modem connection. Since then, I’m not too fuzzy when it comes to IDEs, tried most, still mainly using SSMS as like the sqlcmd, it does what it says on the tin,

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  2. way0utwest says:

    I used isql.exe most of the time, sometimes messing up with isqlw.exe and realizing things didn’t run well. Trying to work in Notepad was a PIA and reminded me of sketching programs out at home before typing them in early in my career.

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