Making SSMS Better

Brent Ozar has a few tips to improve your SSMS experience:

Step 1: configure SSMS to only show file names on the tabs. Click Tools, Options, Text Editor, Editor Tab and Status Bar, and set all of the tab texts to false except file name. After all, not like all this stuff fits on the tab.

I definitely agree with step 1.  You can try out steps 2 and 3 and see if they fit your workflow.

Undocked Query Windows

Michael Swart notes that undocked query windows now feel all grown up:

The March 2016 Refresh (13.0.13000.55 Changelog) updates SSMS to use the new Visual Studio 2015 shell. Part of that change means that undocked windows are now top-level windows.

Top level windows are windows without parents so the undocked window is not a child window of the main SSMS window (but it is part of the same process). And so it gets its own space in the task bar, and participates in alt+tab when you switch between windows.

Also these undocked windows can be a collection of query windows.

One reason I rarely used child windows is that I’d undock something, switch to a browser tab underneath, and then switch back and watch the undocked window pop over my browser tab.  This sounds like a good improvement.

Template Replacement

Andy Mallon shows SSMS template replacements:

In the above example, there’s not much value-add by using the template replacement. It’s probably easier to just use @variables and highlight-replace.

The template replacement really shines when you have examples where you’d otherwise need to use dynamic SQL. If you have object names or database names that need replacement, this is a great answer. If you work in a multi-tenant hosting environment, and a client name is part of the DB name, this can make your life a lot easier.

Templates work great with auto-replace (a feature several third-party toolkits include).  My favorite auto-replace that I’ve created is “die” which asks for an schema and procedure name and generates the DROP PROCEDURE script.  Naturally, I also have diet (table), diev (view), and dief (function).

Management Studio Trello Board

Aaron Nelson has set up a Trello board for Management Studio collaboration:

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we are using Trello to help the community collaborate about what we want next in SQLPS before we submit Connect items to Microsoft.

That effort is going very well.  It’s going so well in fact that when the topic of getting some new improvements into SSMS was brought up, the SQL Tools team suggested that a Trello board to collaborate and prioritize what people want improved in SSMS would be very helpful to them.  Ultimately Microsoft needs Connect items filed but using Trello helps folks to debate and combine ideas.

The cynic in me says “this is what Connect is supposed to do” but Aaron and Chrissy LeMaire had a great deal of success working with the SQLPS team, so here’s hoping they get traction here as well.

Registered Servers

Erik Darling shows how to set up registered servers in Management Studio:

And if you hip and hop over to the Connection Properties tab, you can set all sorts of nifty stuff up. The biggest one for me was to give different types of servers different colored tabs that the bottom of SSMS is highlighted with. It’s the one you’re probably looking at now that’s a putrid yellow-ish color and tells you you’re connected and that your query has been executing for three hours. Reassuring. Anyway, I’d use this to differentiate dev from prod servers. Just make sure to choose light colors, because the black text doesn’t show up on dark colors too well.

In team environments, I’m more a fan of Central Management Servers.

Where Was I?

Shane O’Neill shows how to see the queries which were run in Management Studio:

Suddenly you’re not sure if you really ran the SELECT statement at all.
Maybe you ran the insert statement and 2089 rows were marked to never be seen again!
Or maybe that other table only had 2089 rows in it and you’ve now deleted every one!!

Now this blog post is not going to deal with fail-safe’s for preventing those scenarios because 1) you should already know how to do that, and b) if you don’t know, then maybe back away until you research it… It’s only going to deal with a nice little way you can figure out what it was that you just ran.

I don’t think this will go into my everyday processes, but it’s handy to have when you absolutely need to make sure you’re running the correct line in a script.

Basic SQLCMD

Steve Jones shows  some basic SQLCMD operation:

I had the need to connect from the command line recently, and decided to make a quick post on using SQLCMD, as I had an issue.

SQLCMD is a command line utility that comes with SQL Server. I know many people don’t use command lines, but they are handy at times.

SQLCMD and OSQL aren’t things you typically need to use a lot, but sometimes you won’t have the ability to run Management Studio and it’s good to know that there are built-in alternatives.

SSMS Execution Plan Improvements

Kendra Little shows Management Studio execution plan improvements in 2016:

The best features are the ones that you use all the time. SQL Server 2016 Management Studio’s bringing improvements in navigating around execution plans.

Click + Mouse Scroll: Zooming!

You can now make your plans bigger and smaller with this combo. It will zoom into the region where you have the mouse.

Click + Drag lets you move the plan

This is really handy for moving right to left.

Good for those times when SQL Sentry Plan Explorer isn’t available.

Restoration Failures

Tibor Karaszi shows us cases in which Management Studio can generate an invalid database restoration sequence:

Above, the GUI incorrectly base the restore on a copy only backup. After using the timeline dialog to point to an earlier point in time, you can see that the GUI now has changed so it bases the restore on this potentially non-existing copy only backup. Not a nice situation to be in if the person doing the restore hasn’t practiced using the T-SQL RESTORE commands.

It’s important to be able to write the relevant T-SQL queries to restore your database, just in case you run into one of these issues.

Filtering SSMS Tables

Jens Vestergaard shows us how to filter tables in Management Studio:

As a quick tip, this on is one of these tool tips, that just makes your everyday much easier. Sometimes, more than often, you run into databases that contains a huge number of tables – all listed alphabetically. This can, at times, be cumbersome and annoying to browse. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) actually has a feature that will assist you in getting your job done, quicker; It’s called Filtering.

My most common filter criterion is by schema, but there are several filtering options available.

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