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Disconnected Development In SQL Server: Question And Answer

Q.1. How Does SSDT Provide Disconnected Development?

Ans: The model-based approach in SSDT offers a significant advantage by enabling disconnected development. When directly connected using SQL Server Object Explorer, SSDT creates a model from the associated database. To achieve disconnected development, you can create an offline, source-controlled project in Visual Studio, accurately representing the actual database, by creating a SQL Server Database Project. However, it's essential to note that this project is a representation and not an actual database.

Using the SQL Server Database Project as a basis, SSDT develops a model that replicates the online experience. This means that designers, IntelliSense, validation tests, and all other tools function in the same way, both offline and online.If you wish to explore further about how SSDT provides disconnected development, consider enrolling in a Microsoft SQL Certification Course.

Q.2. How To Upgrade Existing DbPro Projects To SSDT Projects?

Ans: Converting existing DbPro projects to SSDT projects is a straightforward process. You can achieve this by right-clicking on the project in Solution Explorer and selecting "Convert to SQL Server Database Project." However, please note that this conversion is one-way, and any DbPro artifacts not yet supported by SSDT will not be converted.

It's important to know that some crucial functionalities like data generation, data comparison, schema view, and database unit testing are still exclusive to DbPro. While SSDT intends to offer significant parts of the DbPro feature set and eventually replace Visual Studio's Database Professional edition, for now, DbPro remains essential to fill the gaps.

Q.3. What Is The Nature Of The T-SQL Script Files In A SQL Server Database Project?

Ans: The T-SQL script files in a SQL Server Database Project are all declarative, containing only CREATE statements and no ALTER statements. This differs from the traditional approach of "developing" databases in SSMS, where you typically execute more ALTER statements than CREATE statements.

In SSDT, the focus is on specifying how the database should look, and the tool will generate the appropriate T-SQL change scripts required to update the live database to match your specification.

Q.4. How SSDT Project Types Are Different From DbPro Project Types?

Ans: While there is considerable overlap, SSDT project types are distinct from DbPro project types and are available as a separate project template in Visual Studio's Add New Project dialogue. Only SSDT SQL Server Database Projects can utilize the new table designer, buffered connection mechanism, and other SSDT features discussed in this tutorial.

Key features like data generation, data comparison, schema view, and database unit testing are still exclusively available in DbPro. Although SSDT plans to incorporate significant parts of the DbPro feature set and eventually replace Visual Studio's Database Professional edition, for now, DbPro remains essential to cover those functionalities.If you wish to gain a deeper understanding of SSDT, an online SQL training course can be highly beneficial.

Q.5. What Are The Capabilities And Features Of SQL Server Database Project Types As Other Visual Studio Project Types?

Ans: The new SQL Server Database Project type shares many features and capabilities available to other Visual Studio project types. This includes standard code navigation and refactoring paradigms like Rename, Goto Definition, and Find All References. Each database object definition is kept under source control, allowing easy collaboration and versioning.

The rich metadata in the SSDT database model enables enhanced IntelliSense compared to SSMS, providing a more "strongly-typed" experience while coding. Additionally, similar to debugging.NET project types, you can set breakpoints, single-step through T-SQL code, and work with the Locals window.Thanks to SSDT, Visual Studio brings together application and database development tools under one roof.

Q.6. What Is A Significant Advantage Of The Model-based Approach In Disconnected Development?

Ans: The model-based approach in disconnected development offers a significant advantage by allowing the generation of models from various sources. When directly connected to a database using SQL Server Object Explorer, SSDT creates a model. For disconnected development, you can create an offline, source-controlled project in Visual Studio, which accurately represents the database using the SQL Server Database Project.

The SQL Server Database Project serves as the foundation for the model SSDT generates. This ensures a consistent offline experience with online development, as the designers, IntelliSense, validation checks, and other tools function similarly.

Q.7. What Kind Of Experience Do You Get As You Conduct Database Development Within The Project?

Ans: As you conduct database development within the project, you get the same "background compilation" experience familiar in standard.NET development using C# or Visual Basic (VB).NET. During development, design-time warnings and errors appear in the Error List pane. For example, if you make a change to the project that you can't submit to the database due to dependency problems, the errors and warnings will guide you to the various dependencies that need attention. Once you resolve all build errors, you can confidently submit the updates to the database.

Q.8. What Is The Advantage Of The SQL Server Database Project?

Ans: The advantage of the SQL Server Database Project is that it allows you to create databases without being connected to a SQL Server instance. Each SQL Server Database Project consists of individual, declarative T-SQL source code files, defining the entire structure of a database. These source files can be saved and protected with source code control (SCC) within a Visual Studio project, just like other project types.

SSDT invisibly creates a model from the project structure, similar to how it generates a model from the live database when connected. This ensures that you can use the same SSDT tools and features, both online and offline.

Q.9. Does Schemas In SQL Server Bear Similarity To Namespaces In .NET?

Ans: Yes, SQL Server schemas and namespaces in .NET bear similarities. While the example database mentioned here has a single namespace (dbo), more complex databases typically consolidate objects into multiple schemas. Similarly, namespaces in .NET are used to organize classes in large applications.Schemas play a role in managing numerous objects defined in large databases, just as namespaces organize classes in large .NET applications.

Q.10. Does SSDT Get Installed Either With Visual Studio Or SQL Server?

Ans: SSDT is not installed alongside Visual Studio or SQL Server. Instead, it is distributed separately through the Web Platform Installer (WebPI). This allows Microsoft to release timely SSDT updates independently of the standard release cycle for Visual Studio or SQL Server.

Conclusion

This tutorial has provided a comprehensive overview of SSDT and its features, which help developers overcome challenges in working with databases. SSDT offers capabilities for connected and disconnected development, offline development using LocalDB, source control, debugging, testing, and deploying to both local and cloud environments. Although there is some overlap, SSDT project types differ from DbPro project types, and SSDT continues to evolve to encompass more functionalities. With SSDT, Visual Studio brings together application and database development tools, enhancing the overall development experience.

 

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