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Home > Archive > SSW Standards > Developer General > SSW - The Best 3rd Party SQL Server Tools

Do you agree with them all? Are we missing some? Let us know what you think.

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  1. Red Gate SQL Compare

    One day in 1999 I wanted to compare two SQL server databases... basically I wanted to find a utility that was like our SSW Renovator. Luckly I found a program that is both well written and works as it would have, if I had have been forced to write it myself. That is why it is one of my favourite SQL server utilities.

    SQL Compare is an extremely useful tool which you can use to compare and synchronize the structure of SQL Server databases. This is useful in a development environment when changes made to a local database need to be pushed to a live database on a remote server. Traditionally, this meant spending hours trawling through database schema, hand-generating migration scripts. SQL Compare will automate this process for you. It will compare and synchronize all database objects, including, but not limited to, tables, stored procedures, views and user defined functions.

    SQL Compare

    Figure: Red Gate SQL Compare
    SQL Compare Web Site Leaving SSW Web Site
    Another similar utility is Berryware SQLMatcher

  2. SSW SQL Deploy

    Schema changes are painful! In the early days, when we deployed a rich business applications to our client's PCs, we hit problems when we had schemas out of sync. We would avoid any changes to schema because we could not handle change.

    Worse still when we did have an unavoidable structural change we found we could not trust the client to manually run .sql files via Query Analyzer or OSQL.

    So SSW SQL Deploy solves this problem by automatically performing Database updates as a part of your application deployment. It is as simple as bundling the SSWSQLDeploy.dll and adding a few lines of code to your application. From that point on database changes will happen automatically. Specifically your application will now be able to:

    automatically Create the database if it doesnt exist
    automatically Upgrade the schema when you install a newer version
    Reconcile the schema to check the schema is correct

    For more information see Rules to Better .NET Projects - Reconcile

    Note: Yes we love Red Gate SQL Compare for comparing the old database with the new and synchronises the schemas - but don't use it as a crutch! If you need it for every application deployment you have a problem in your process. So we let SSW SQL Deploy handle the deployment automatically and only use Red Gate SQL Compare when the backends have got out of sync and we need to know the difference.

    Each application should have 2 buttons included; Upgrade and Reconcile.

    SQL Deploy

    Figure: Add the SSW SQL Deploy database control and your application will be able to Create, Upgrade and Reconcile the backend.

    Try out SSW SQL Deploy for free.

  3. SSW SQL Server Auditor

    Before I had SQL Server Auditor what I use to do during design reviews was to ask for the same old changes - over and over again. eg. missing clustered indexes, nvarchars used where they werent needed, DateTime fields where it could fit in SmallDateTime.

    Today all these checks are now handled by SSW SQL Auditor. I am always grateful for the time it saves me and the consistency I get.

    SQL Auditor

    Figure: SSW SQL Server Auditor introduction screen.
    SSW SQL Auditor

  4. Instant SQL Formatter

    Instant SQL Formatter Web Site Leaving SSW Web Site
    SQL Formatter
    Figure: Add-In for SQL Server Studio Management

  5. Red-Gate SQL Doc

  6. SQL Scribe

    I had never thought a document utility would make it into my favourites. You can click though each link to take a closer look at the object making the document alive, instead of printing off tens of thousands of pages.

    SQL Scribe is a documentation tool created with the developer in mind. SQL Scribe will interrogate a SQL 7.0 or 2000 database and extract the database schema. This schema information is stored in an MS Access 2000 database. Using any readily available browser the developers can navigate though the system documentation which is laid out in a easy to read and logical way.

  7. Apex SQL Doc

    Apex SQL Doc is another document utility. With this tool you can document your database into Compiled Help or HTML documentation. Compareded with SQL Scribe, it is easier to deploy or publish the document as it does not need any data store for schema information.

  8. LECCO SQL Expert

    LECCO SQL Expert is the only complete SQL performance tuning and optimization solution offering problematic SQL detection and automatic SQL rewrite. With its built-in Artificial Intelligence (AI) based Feedback Searching Engine, LECCO SQL Expert reduces the effort required to optimize SQL and makes even the most junior programmer an expert.

    Developers use LECCO SQL Expert to optimize SQL during application development. DBAs eliminate problematic SQL before users experience application performance problems by using LECCO SQL Expert in production systems.


    Figure: Lecco SQL Expert
    Lecco SQL Expert LECCO SQL Expert Web Site Leaving SSW Web Site

  9. Speed Ferret

    SPEED Ferret is a global find & replace utility that works with Microsoft Access, SQL Server, and Visual Basic. With SPEED Ferret you can rapidly search all of the property values and all of the source code in all of your projects at one time. Find out where an object is used before modifying or deleting it. Rename an object while quickly updating all references to it.

    Figure: Speed Ferret
    Speed Ferret - Moshannon Leaving SSW Web Site

  10. XPSMTP

    XPSMTP provides a SMTP based SQL Mail solution for sending MIME based email over SMTP, implemented as an Extended Stored Procedure. It does not require any software to be installed, just a SMTP email server that can handle the outgoing mail request. XPSMTP is using TCP/IP sockets to communicate to port 25. XPSMTP does not spawn additional threads, the xp_smtp_sendmail request is handled on the same thread as it is being called on by SQL Server. Each call to xp_smtp_sendmail establishes a connection to the SMTP server and disconnects when done sending the email. The connection is created using asynchronous communication and aborts based on a timeout value (@timeout which by default is 10000 milliseconds, so 10 seconds).
    Key features are as follows:

    • Configurable SMTP port support (instead of hard coded port 25)
    • Support for text/html MIME encoding besides the current text/plain MIME encoding
    • Ability to pass multiple file attachments (adding @attachments parameter)
    • Ability to read message text from file, to bypass the XP parameter size limit

    SQL Server SMTP Mail XP Leaving SSW Web Site

  11. AGS Crosstab Builder for SQL 2000

    AGS Crosstab Builder for SQL 2000 is an extended stored procedure that will generate crosstab results from standard SQL statements. You now do not have to run OLAP services to generate what Microsoft Access has been able to do for years. AGS Crosstab Builder for SQL 2000 is simple to use.

    If you have SQL Server Reporting Services, you should use a Matrix control instead, as it offers drill down functionality. If SQL Reporting Services is unavailable, we would typically use the AGS crosstab in the following scenarios.

    Windows Forms:

    • Displaying crosstabs in the .NET Windows Forms datagrid

    Web Forms:

    • In an ASPX datagrid. However, no customisation of column styles is allowed in this case because it is based on a non-typed dataset. e.g. cant bold the total column
    • When using Infragistics UltraWebGrid - but you should make sure that you have repeating data to get full use of the group expansion functionalty

    Figure: AGS Crosstab Builder
    AGS Crosstab Builder for SQL 2000 Leaving SSW Web Site
  12. myLittleAdmin for SQL Server 2005

    myLittleAdmin is the first web-based management tool specially designed for MS SQL Server 2005. It enables you to manage most objects of your databases and servers and act most operations through a web browser. It has very similar interface as SQL Server Management Studio but it's faster and easier to use.

    myLittleAdmin for SQL Server 2005 Leaving SSW Web Site


Adam Cogan