The key highlights to cover this month include:
– SandDance integration—A new way to interact with data
– Notebook improvements
– SQL Server Dacpac extension can support Azure Active Directory
– SQL Server 2019 extension
– Visual Studio Code merge 1.37
– Bug fixes
Being able to add a new cell inline is nice, especially when you’re dealing with larger notebooks.
After all, SSMS is no longer the cool new kid on the block: Microsoft has shown consistent effort to develop their new tool, Azure Data Studio (the artist formerly known as SQL Operations Studio), since November 2017. Azure Data Studio is built on the modern foundation of Microsoft’s VS Code, whereas SQL Server Managed Studio is related to the legacy Visual Studio Shell.
Based on this overview, it might seem like a new SQL Server DBA or developer should primarily learn Azure Data Studio, not SSMS. And it might similarly seem like vendors should focus on developing new tooling only for Azure Data Studio.
But when you look into the details of how Azure Data Studio is being developed, it becomes clear that SSMS is still just as relevant than ever:
User base inertia is another reason, one that Kendra doesn’t mention directly. I like where Azure Data Studio is going and try to use it at least half-time. But there are a lot of people with a specific workflow they’ve developed and don’t want to change. As long as that’s a large percentage of the SQL Server population, SSMS isn’t going anywhere.
I’ve been “playing around” with Big Data Clusters for some time now and CTP 3.2 is way ahead when it comes to streamlining the BDC deployment process. You can check out my 4-part series on deploying BDC on AKS to see how cumbersome the process used to be. New in CTP 3.2, you can deploy a BDC on AKS (an existing cluster OR a new cluster) using an Azure Data Studio notebook. Let’s see how.
Click through for instructions. It was rather smart of Microsoft to release the instructions as a notebook.
Yes, it’s funny but also it carries a serious warning. Without understanding what it is doing, please don’t enable PowerShell to be run in a SQL Notebook that someone sent you in an email or you find on a GitHub. In the same way as you don’t open the word document attachment which will get a thousand million trillion pounddollars into your bank account or run code you copy from the internet on production without understanding what it does, this could be a very dangerous thing to do.
With that warning out of the way, there are loads of really useful and fantastic use cases for this. SQL Notebooks make great run-books or incident response recorders and PowerShell is an obvious tool for this. (If only we could save the PowerShell output in a SQL Notebook, this would be even better)
“It’s a bit hacky” is a generous statement, but it’s really cool that Rob figured out a way to do this. There is a Powershell kernel for Jupyter, but I’ve not had the best experience adding new kernels to Azure Data Studio (at least not F#’s kernel, which I tried).
Like the desktop application, the Plan Explorer extension is designed to provide you with richer graphical execution plans for your real-time queries against SQL Server. It is based on a modest subset of functionality; we’ve started with just the plan diagram, a basic statements grid, tooltips, and access to the XML (so you can open the plan in other tools). We will add more features to the extension over time to try to get you as close to full parity with the desktop client as possible.
I gave it a quick try this weekend and had to pop XML results into the desktop client to get what I really wanted to see, but I’m excited over what this looks like medium-term.
One of the most requested features from customers around the world is enhanced execution plan support. Although we have basic query plan support in Azure Data Studio, it’s not as robust as similar functionality built into SQL Server Management Studio and what other vendors provide.
Today, we’re pleased to announce that one of our valued Microsoft partners, SentryOne is shipping their SentryOne Plan Explorer extension for Azure Data Studio. This is a free extension that provides enhanced plan diagrams for queries that are run in Azure Data Studio, with optimized layout algorithms and intuitive color-coding to help quickly identify the most expensive operators affecting query performance.
The other big thing I like is that notebooks have keyboard shortcuts. These were two of the things keeping me from using ADS as much as I’d wanted. Now I’m that much closer to full-on migration.
As our team presented in SQL Server sessions across the country, users in person and on GitHub told us that they couldn’t start using Azure Data Studio in their daily work streams until X feature was implemented. One of the most requested of these features is Central Management Servers support, and we are excited to announce the preview release of the CMS extension.
CMS is quite useful. There are also a couple dozen bugfixes and improvements to SQL notebooks.
Since its release two months ago, the community continues to love SQL Notebooks. This month, we had a laser-eyed focus on quality of life bug fixes instead of new features. These improvements include:
– Markdown rendering improvements, including better support for notes and tables
– Usability improvements to the toolbar
– Markdown links for trusted notebooks no longer requires Command/Ctrl + click and can be clicked directly
– Improvements in cleaning up Jupyter processes after closing notebooks and reducing errors when starting multiple notebooks concurrently
– Improvements to SQL Notebook connections to ensure errors don’t occur when running two notebooks against the same database
– Improvements to notebook auto-scrolling to the currently executing cell when clicking the run cells button from the toolbar
– General stability and performance improvements
And based on some of the GitHub comments, I’m going to really like the June release if those changes all make it in.
I’ve personally used SQL Notebook in my day-to-day work for Data Analysis, as the possibility to tweak the code and run it in the notebook greatly enhances the presentation of the data as oppose to a commented SQL Script ,as you cannot see all the query results in the same page too as opposed to a notebook; Moreover, a notebook (with or without results) can be exported in a read-only format like html or pdf to share the info with third parties, i.e. you can automate an analysis process that include code to be shared, cool stuff.
I think there are still a few (dozen) things to iron out before it’s a great experience, but they’re on the right path with it. If you haven’t checked out Azure Data Studio and its SQL Notebooks, give it a try sometime.
Every time there’s a new release of SQL Server or SQL Server Management Studio, you can grab the latest version of SSMS and keep right on keepin’ on. Your job still functions the same way using the same tool, and the tool keeps getting better.
And it’s free. You don’t have to ask the boss for upgrade money. You can just download it, install it, and take advantage of things like the cool new execution plan est-vs-actual numbers (which also cause presenters all over to curse, knowing that they have to redo a bunch of screenshots.)
I spend a lot of time jumping back & forth between SQL Server and Postgres, and lemme just tell you, the tooling options on the other side of the fence are a hot mess.
Yeah, Management Studio is the best of the bunch. I’m using Azure Data Studio more at home but still need a couple of plugins to use it often at work. And those two beat pretty much every other tool I’ve ever worked with.