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SQL Server tool aims to bridge DBA-developer gap

SQL Server tool aims to bridge DBA-developer gap

New SQL Server tool can help database administrators visually compare data and then generate scripts

Microsoft says its upcoming database development tool will help application developers and database administrators collaborate better.

Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Database Professionals, to be released to manufacture on Nov. 30, is one of the four modules comprising the company's Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition suite of developer tools.

"There are people building apps and people building databases. Depending on your organization, they can be warring tribes," said Cameron Skinner, product manager for the Database Professionals software at the Professional Association of SQL Server conference in Seattle last week. "We are trying to solve the collaboration problem and give folks some tooling to get control over their database schema changes."

Skinner said the tool can help database administrators visually compare data and then generate scripts to easily move it from one place to another. For database developers "slinging T-SQL code, writing triggers and such, they will also find lots of good things here," he said.

Skinner said the tool and the Visual Studio suite is unique among the large database vendors. "Oracle and IBM have point solutions, but not something that is part of an overall software lifecycle management suite," he said.

He also said the software, which lists for US$5,000 per user license, should be easy to learn. "If you've never seen Visual Studio, there's a learning curve, but it should be easy for .Net and Visual Studio programmers," he said.

Gulf Coast Seal, a distributor of industrial products for energy producers, used beta versions of Visual Studio for Database Professionals to revamp its SQL Server 2005-based data warehouse, Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process and business reports.

Previously, according to Jeff Lynch, e-commerce manager at Gulf Coast Seal, changes were done "ad-hoc, without the benefit of source control, unit testing or any proper build procedure. If we forgot to backup the test database and changed something which broke several functions and sprocs, it took hours and hours to find and fix."

Using the software, Gulf Coast was able to create an offline copy of its database and set up a "sandbox" area for development and testing, sharply cutting deployment time, Lynch said.

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