When it comes to wrangling SQL, providing a multi-platform tool is only part of Microsoft's efforts to establish deeper connections with the database administrator and developer communities.
In March 2018, Microsoft added an Extension Manager to SQL Operations Studio, a database management tool for Windows, macOS and Linux that works with SQL Server, Azure SQL Database and SQL Data Warehouse. The feature, which enables users to extend the software with first- and third-party addons, was inspired by the extension management capabilities found in the company's lightweight code editor, Visual Studio Code.
Now, as part of the May 2018 update to SQL Operations, the Redmond, Wash. software giant has given its seal of approval to the SQL Search extension from Redgate, a Microsoft SQL Server tools specialist based in Cambridge, UK, making it one of the earliest first third-party extensions to get the nod.
Apart from earning Microsoft's recommendation and being featured in Extension Manager, the tool is a big time-saver, said Jonathan Roberts, Research and Development Division Team Lead at Redgate Software.
"SQL Search speeds up database development," Roberts said. "For example, you want to rename one of your table columns but aren't sure what stored procedures reference it. Using SQL Search, you can search for the column name and find all the stored procedures where it is used."
Users may also notice that Extension Manager has a new look. The recommended extensions section has been replaced with a Marketplace listing that shows all available offerings with suggested extensions at the top.
Beyond productivity-enhancing extensions, the SQL Operations Studio's very existence is a welcome overture to the database professionals from Microsoft, added Roberts.
"SQL Operations Studio signals a big shift for Microsoft”, he said, because the company is showing its “commitment to users beyond Windows. Users on both MacOS and Linux can now work with Microsoft SQL Server and the Microsoft Data Platform natively," said Roberts. It's a move that also helped prod Redgate into taking its initial steps into a multi-platform future.
Meanwhile, Microsoft will be leaning on its own developers and outside companies to fill out SQL Operations Studio's gaps in functionality. According to a blog by Alan Yu, an SQL Server program manager at Microsoft, his team expects that most users will end up installing several extensions to get the most out of the tool.
May 2018 also brings an improvement in startup performance, meaning users will face less of a wait while the software launches. To help bring the tool to more markets and foster adoption, Microsoft has made new language resources available to its translation community. They include Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Finally, in yet another example of the General Data Protection Regulation's (GDPR) looming presence over the IT industry, Yu revealed that his group had taken steps to make SQL Operations Studio compliant with the European Union's strict new data privacy law, which goes into effect May 25.
The software now includes a privacy statement in its Help menu and a notification that allows users to opt-out of having Microsoft collect their information. Yu added that the company has also reduced the telemetry it collects from the tool.