To many DBAs and Transact-SQL developers, Query Analyzer is an old friend. We are familiar with how it works, and we understand its strengths and weaknesses. And, like many of our friends, most of them have some room for improvements. (My friends excluded, just in case they read this.)
While Query Analyzer offers many features to DBAs and developers, it is not the ideal tool for creating, testing, and executing code. It lacks a lot of features that make coding more productive. Because of this, ApexSQL Software has released version 2.4 of ApexSQL Edit, a feature-rich replacement for Query Analyzer.
What Does ApexSQL Edit Offer?
The best way to begin describing ApexSQL Edit is to say that it does most everything Query Analyzer does, plus a lot more, making it a better Transact-SQL coding tool than Query Analyzer. While I don’t have room to describe all of the available features, here are some of the key ones:
- Intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
- Similar to Visual Studio.NET, the collapsible scripting outlining feature makes it easier to see the “big” picture of your code.
- You can drag and drop files into the editor from any source.
- Database objects can be automatically scripted.
- Integrated with Visual Source Safe. You can even manage your deployment process directly from ApexSQL Edit.
- Intellisense-like capability for tables, stored procedures, columns, and column values.
- Quick Info feature allows you to find out more information about particular values for any number of columns in a table, and to return results quickly.
- Allows you to attach notes to objects for documentation purposes.
- Automatic Transact-SQL formatting to make your code, or the code of others, much easier to read.
- A visual interface for table JOIN navigation.
- Scripts that modify data can be run in “test mode.” For example, this allows you to test INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statements to see if they work correctly, and then to automatically reverse the data modification to keep the database in the same shape as it was before the test.
- You can create test plans for stored procedures and execute it with a set of tests with a single click of a button, getting back pass/fail results and error messages.
- Graphical execution plans can be displayed.
- Data can be edited directly from the software.
- Integrated with SQL Server’s Reporting Services.
- And much more.
Some Examples of ApexSQL Edit in Action
To give you some sense of how ApexSQL Edit looks and works, in this section, I want to examine some common features.
Below is what the main window looks like. I have shrunk it a lot to fit this webpage. As you can imagine, you can see a lot more of it on your screen when it is expanded.
In the left pane, you see the Schema window, which is similar to Query Analyzer’s Object Browser. But this is not all. If you look at the bottom of the left pane, you see six tabs. They are hard to see because I have shrunk the window. Below, I have included a different screen shot, showing what they are.
Above, you can see what other options are available to you from the left pane. Here is what you can do with each tab:
- Schema: View objects, drag and drop objects, script objects, edit data, etc.
- Query Manager: Allows you to store code snippets, etc.
- Quick Query: A quick, graphical way to run queries.
- Source Control: Access to Visual Safe Source.
- Reporting Services: Direct access to Reporting Services integration.
- Last Executed Statement: Always shows you the last code you executed.
As you can see, it is very easy to quickly access the functionality of ApexSQL Edit.