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The dawn of a new era

My tribute to the SQL Server Management Studio

Since a couple of days SQL Server 2016 is finally available. I can’t wait to start working with this new exciting version. However, I’m not going to talk about SQL Server 2016 in this blog. I’m going to discuss the management tool we all use for accessing SQL Server databases, because without it, we would not be able to do all of our hocus pocus. This blog is in honour of our little friend called SQL Server Management Studio.

The lifetime of SQL Server 2005 came to an end a couple of weeks ago. I look back nostalgically, because many of us spent hours and hours coding in the first SQL Server Management Studio, which, at the time, was a new tool Microsoft introduced when releasing SQL Server 2005. Remember the times you opened a Query Analyser and an Enterprise Manager to manage your systems? Good old times, yep! For about a decade the Microsoft SQL Server product team did not invest much time into the enhancement of the Management Studio. Over the years we received some updates and new versions, but basically it was simply a refurbishment effort. But times are changing, Microsoft now listens to its user community and come up with a proper updated version of SQL Server Management Studio.

SQL Server Management Studio updates

Microsoft spent much time and effort in completely redesigning the SQL Server Management Studio. Well, it’s not that it’s a completely different tool now, but behind the scenes it has been refactored quite drastically. Guess what, no dependencies on .NET3.5 anymore. While the Studio used to be a component only available from the installation media in the past, it currently is a standalone package which can be downloaded and installed separately from SQL Server engine.

The Management Studio is the DBA tool for databases. With the introduction of the new version, some new features are included. For example, we finally have a Search for update button, which allows you to check whether any updates are available. For the moment, the automatic update functionality is not built-in just yet. Instead, you are redirected to the download page. We’re not there yet, but, hey, it’s a start.

If you are not that familiar with T-SQL, you’ll love this new Management Studio. The wizard and GUIs of the latest version are really better and are more accurate than previous versions. I don’t believe T-SQL is less important, but if you’re the accidental DBA in your company, you can do more with the tools without having to search for hours to find the correct syntax.

Compatible throughout time

Another great asset of the updated SQL Server Management Studio is that it is backwards compatible up to SQL Server 2008. Even SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 can be used with the Management Studio, but no guarantee is given for all features to work correctly. So, no more installing tons of different management studio’s to achieve what you want. Just install the latest version and, BAM, you can code. Just to be clear, I did not test all of this yet so don’t shoot the messenger if you would find any bugs.

Let me give you some other nice extras which are now implemented in the GUI. The user interfaces for Azure have been improved, allowing you to easily integrate with your Azure subscription. Tons of new features were added that will easily guide you when starting to setup things in Azure. So, first thing to do is this. Go to your browser, and download the SQL Server Management Studio. It is free, standalone and totally new.

Constantly evolving

Microsoft is frequently releasing new versions, constantly improving the current wizard and tools. You can check the SQL Server Management Studio changelog here. Be sure to give it a try, learn to appreciate the new tool and play around with it. Happy querying!

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