SQL Server

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-06-01 Print this article Print

Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals requires Microsofts SQL Server, "but in the next version well expand it to support other databases," Somasegar said. He said the new version will support both SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005.
The new edition delivers integrated change management to give database professionals more control over their databases and streamline changes to their databases, Microsoft officials said.
The products database testing features help create full unit tests for database schemas. And the lifecycle integration capabilities enable database professionals to participate in the software development lifecycle using Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, the company said. Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at Twentysix New York, a New York-based IT services provider formerly known as Citigate Hudson, said he thinks the new VSTS version is big news. "Lifecycle tools for database design, development and deployment are a huge bald spot," Brust said. "Being able to version database schema and schema changes properly is really crucial. Most people end up writing their own scripts to manage this, and its time the tools grew up to take this on. "The ability to design unit tests against your database objects is also very significant. And the ability to generate effective test data is especially important and timely: Various compliance laws and rules now preclude developers from using actual production data in a test environment, but crummy test data wont allow you to test your database under production-like circumstances." Richard Campbell, president of Campbell & Associates, in Vancouver, British Columbia, said, "Im stoked about the DBPro edition—to me, Microsoft has done for database developers what theyve done for years for traditional developers: brought all the tools needed to build code successfully into one place so that its easier to be successful." Moreover, Campbell said he also likes the testing capabilities the new edition provides. "One of the biggest features for me is the integrated unit testing—testing database structures the same way that we test object structures," Campbell said. "Building and automating testing for databases has always been difficult and so often fell by the wayside. The integrated environment of Visual Studio brings all this capability together into one place." Kimberly Tripp, founder of SQLskills.com, of Redmond, Wash., said the new database-focused edition of VSTS is not targeted at her role as an administrator/operations professional, but "I can see some phenomenal benefits across a variety of different disciplines," she said. While the new product "is targeting more developer teams, and earlier in the product lifecycle" than Tripp typically gets involved, "Im really impressed with the Source Control integration with any SCCI [Source Code Control Interface] provider; I think customers will absolutely love this feature. I also like their general direction of managing schema outside of production. However, for me—and for Administration and Operations—I especially like their direction with regard to unit testing and sample data generation." Meanwhile, "as the software development lifecycle matures, theres an increased need for a tool that makes the database professional an integral part of the application team," said Larry Humphries, vice president of product management at Microsoft partner Quest Software, in Aliso Viejo, Calif., in a statement. "In expanding Visual Studio Team System to include this functionality, Microsoft provides developers and data professionals with such a tool. We look forward to integrating our solutions with Visual Studio Team System and providing customers with a compete solution for building productive and robust data applications." The biggest challenge for the new edition of VSTS, according to Brust, is "that its defining a new product subcategory. In other words, this tool is solving a problem some people may not realize they have. So Microsoft will have to evangelize the concept as well as the product." Next Page: Market analysts take.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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