SqlSpec, Not Just a Documentation Tool

Another important feature that is available with SqlSpec is, scheduling the document creation. Again, this is a missing feature in most of the other competitive tool around the market. You can create a simple batch (.bat) from the tool by clicking the command line button and schedule it to be run from any means like windows scheduler or SQL Server schedule jobs.

SqlSpec is actually a console application that happens to launch a GUI if you invoke it with no arguments. You can view all the command line parameters from www.elsasoft.org/sqlspec.htm#_Toc141540888. You will find many features are not available with GUI but available with command line. Features like, documenting Jobs, document object permissions, document system objects are few of those. Here is an example.

SqlSpec.exe
  /c “server=(local); database=Northwind; Trusted_Connection=Yes;”
  /n NW
  /o “C:my_database_docs”



Future Enhancements

If you think SqlSpec has every option that you are looking for, you are only half-correct. This is because SqlSpec has not stopped enhancing their product. The most important feature that you will see in future releases is documentation of Analysis Services 2005 databases. Well, this is a huge feature as there are no other tools in the market that I have come across that have it. Future releases of SqlSpec will document following objects in any Analysis Services 2005 database:

  1. Database and server properties.
  2. DataSources (relational and olap).
  3. DataSourceViews and their associated tables.
  4. Cubes and related stuff:
    1. CubeDimensions and their attributes.
    2. MeasureGroups and measures.
    3. KPI.
    4. Calculations.
    5. Actions.
    6. Perspectives.
  5. Dimensions.
  6. MiningStructures and models.
  7. Assemblies.
  8. Roles.
  9. Database permissions.

In addition to the above Analysis Services features, there are few other features due to come with future SqlSpec:

  • Ability to edit extended properties in the live database from the HTML or CHM.
  • Ability to sort all tables displayed in the docs by clicking on column headers.
  • Show which triggers are for replication, and trigger priority.

Keep in mind that none of these features incurs any additional cost if you already have a SqlSpec license, because upgrades are free for the time being. Also, the author of SqlSpec would like to hear from you: you are encouraged to write to sqlspec@elsasoft.org requesting new features.



Is it Easy to Install, Use, and Administer by the Average SQL Server DBA?

It is a “zero configuration” tool. Nothing to administer, all will be self-explanatory. Just drop the exe on your system and run it.



Does It Put an Unbearable Performance Drag on SQL Server Production Databases?

You are not going to create database documentation for every 5 minutes are you? You can select a time where your production server has fewer loads and run SqlSpec. Even so, SqlSpec does not incur a very heavy load on SQL Server.



Recommendation

I don’t see any reason why you should wait for reviewing SqlSpec. Download the evaluation version from http://www.elsasoft.org/ and evaluate and experience the features that you will not find in most of the other competitive products in the market.

CHM files generated from the evaluation version will have some text inside the CHM pages to indicate that they were created from the evaluation version. That is the only difference between the evaluation and full versions. Finally, it is worth spending a mere $50 on this tool considering current features plus what features are coming in future releases.

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