Friday, July 20, 2007

SQL Assistant Part 1

I just recently found out about another SQL intellisense product called SQL Asisstant by SoftTree Technologies. Well calling it a SQL intellisense product is a bit of an understatement as it also offers SQL reformatting, spell checking, and code structure tree.

There really is so much ground to cover that I can't possibly do it in one post or I'd be spending all day on it (I do have to actually work, you know :)

This post I'll focus on the basic intellisense engine, which is probably considered the core functionallity. I used it with both Query Analyzer and SQL Server Management Studio, as I'm a SQL Server developer. I couldn't find any difference in functionality between the two. I tested against a SQL server on my local network.

The first thing I noticed is that it's damned fast. It didn't delay the load time of the editor applications at all. And when I expected it to pop up, it did immediately. It also doesn't pop up in unexpected places. This is crucial, as an overly aggressive intellisense hurts productivity and is really anoying. I think they found the right balance.

The popup window itself is small and elegant. It displays as a kind of tree-grid, where you can expand a parent object to see it's children. I've found that it works as a great quick schema browser.
Here's an example. I invoked the SQL Assistant via Ctrl+Space, and typed in a partial name of a table, that allowed me to find and browse it's schema very quickly, especially when comparing how long it takes to find something in the object browser.

It also has a great JOIN assistant, which detects FKs and automatically brings these to the top of the list. Furthermore if you choose the actual column (by expanding the hierarchy) it will also fill in the ON condition for you.

However it does have a flaw, once you reach the ON condition this happens:

Oops! What if I don't want to JOIN on that? It's perfectly valid to have alternative JOIN conditions. (Note: there is a workaround for this which I'll cover at a later time)

Other supported items are local variables. Temp tables aren't supported, and table variables are semi supported, in that you can see them in candidate lists like scalar variables, but you can't get the column information.

Well that's it for now. Like I said above this is just the 1st of a multi part series.


Chris Rickard said...

you are my arch nemisis, but we are forever bound.

Chris Rickard.

Chris Rickard said...


What about This guy? Or this guy?

Chris Rickard said...

They both obviously suck..

We are the only two with a shot at the title.

Chris Rickard said...

So I have a suggestion for the name of the blog. "I am the second best Chris Rickard".

PS - I am going to find you, and taunt you for the rest of your life.. or until you get your name changed.