Documenting your database with Visual Studio 2012 SSDT tools

Add Comment | Nov 16, 2012

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!


Introducing Code Map for Visual Studio 2012 September CTP

17 Comments | Oct 05, 2012

As part of the Visual Studio 2012 CTP for September, Visual Studio got a little sexier at helping you discover and visualize your code. The introduction of the Code Map feature helps compliment the variety of other tools that are included with Visual Studio to help you analyze and visualize your projects and solutions.image Code Map leverages the dgml format within Visual Studio that is currently used b the Architecture and Modeling tools. This is a nice addition that gets us from point A to point B a little faster.

The great thing about Code Map is that you can gain access to the functionality from directly within your code from the context menu. This Code Map functionality is also context specific based on your cursor. You can evaluate and add items such as methods and variables directly to the Code Map window. As you add items the Code Map surface is updated to show your new item plus any relationships and dependencies that have been introduced in your code. Something that is also very nice is that the Code Map surface is interactive and allows you to use the F12 button (Go To Definition) which can help you navigate your code especially is you are adding items that span multiple files or projects.

To get started all you have to do is go out and download the September CTP for Visual Studio 2012 located here. Happy Coding!


Code Map Window


Visual Studio 2012 Coded UI technology matrix updated!

3 Comments | Oct 05, 2012

The Visual Studio 2012 support matrix for Automated UI Testing (Coded UI) has been released by Microsoft and the full post can be found here. Thank you Shubhra!

There are a couple of items on the list that you should definitely keep your eye on. The first item is the support for Silverlight 4  and 5. This should make the Silverlight community happy. I would also note the Planned items (blue dot) which are cross browser support and Flash/Java. Happy Coding!




Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server 2012 moving to continuous delivery!

Add Comment | Oct 04, 2012

For those of you who like the new features of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2012, you will need to get ready for continuous delivery. Microsoft is ramping up to start delivering a CTP for the mentioned products every 3 weeks and having those roll up to quarterly updates. That is going to be an amazing change!

You can find the list of the first CTP’s at Charles Sterling’s Blog located here.

SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB – How to get started

2 Comments | Jun 19, 2012
As many of you aware, SQL Server can be a bit of a pig when it comes to system resources on your development machine. As part of the 2012 products Microsoft has added SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB which is a happy medium for myself when thinking about having to install a full blown SQL Server on my box. This however does not work in all cases for all development but if you are doing web or local client development then it should suffice.