Introducing new and improved updates to SQL tools on Azure

In this post, we'll recap the updates to SQL tools over the past few months, including the recent releases of Azure Data Studio and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Additionally, we'll highlight the Data-Tier Application Framework (DacFx) 160 general availability and changes to the MSSQL extension for VS Code. Lastly, we will introduce a major update in the migration extension.

SQL Server Management Studio 18.11

SSMS 18.11 adds support for creating ledger tables, viewing the history table, and scripting support for ledger objects in Azure , as well as the capability to review trace files from Analysis Services (version 16.0) in Profiler. This version also includes the fix to use CTRL+mousewheel to zoom in query plans, and the ability to edit and create SQL Server Agent jobs in Managed Instance. Additional improvements related to accessibility and underlying code were implemented, as well as expanded support for special characters in connection names, and minor UI fixes.  

Azure Data Studio 1.35

We are excited to announce the release of Azure Data Studio 1.35. This release is focused on bringing new innovations to the core SQL Server data toolset with a focus on data scheming using a modern table designer and query performance tuning.

Table Designer (preview) in Azure Data Studio

Inspired by SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT), the Table Designer provides the ability to manage table metadata, view detailed properties, and preview generated SQL DDL. Supported table metadata includes columns, foreign keys, indexes, and check constraints definitions. This feature is built on the DacFx framework, which is the same mature library that is used in the SSDT Table Designer.

A preview of table designer and its accompanying features

Query Plan Viewer (preview) in Azure Data Studio

We are excited to introduce the Query Plan Viewer for Azure Data Studio. 

A preview of the query planner.

Both estimated and actual query plans can be displayed, and no extension is required. The initial release of the plan viewer includes components familiar to users who analyze plans, as well as new functionality including Top Operations and the ability to open the query in a new window, directly from the plan.

A preview of the “Top functionality” view.

The plan viewer allows users to understand object access and join type for a query, view operator properties to identify what consumes the most time or CPU, as well as save plans for additional analysis.  Future improvements will be added; look for opportunities to provide feedback about what you would like to see next!

Notebooks in Azure Data Studio

Azure Data Studio 1.35 now supports easier keyboard navigation in notebooks without mouse clicking. This is done by hitting the Esc key and navigating between cell rows using the Up and Down arrow keys. To enter edit mode, hit the Enter key on the keyboard. The new Table Designer preview feature supports creating new tables and editing existing tables on a connected SQL Server instance. This is a highly requested product enhancement and enables more productive schema management with a modern, streamlined UX.

A GIF of the keyboard navigation in Notebooks

Azure SQL Migration extension update

We made some major updates in the Migration extension. These include provision of recommendations for right-sized Azure SQL Managed Instance SKUs or SQL Server on Azure SKUs based on performance characteristics of your on-premises SQL Server as well as an ability to provide performance database assessments and recommendations without the need for an Azure Account. To learn more, read the Azure SQL Migration extension article on Tech Community.

DacFx 160 and SqlPackage 19 general availability

As mentioned in a prior post on the Data-Tier Application Framework (DacFx), DacFx 160 is the latest iteration of the .NET library for database development and CI/CD operations for Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL. DacFx supports declarative development with the capability to apply database changes based on the current state of a database and the contents of a dacpac or SQL project. In addition to being available as a .NET package on NuGet as well as in the SqlPackage CLI, DacFx is available in both Azure DevOps pipelines and GitHub actions. Using DacFx on these platforms can be achieved through published tasks or actions and by directly invoking SqlPackage in the workflow. With each DacFx release, the provided virtual environments are automatically updated ensuring that your SQL deployment workflows receive the latest version.

In January 2022, DacFx 160 became generally available. With this version of DacFx, the dependency on System.Data.SqlClient is replaced with Microsoft.Data.SqlClient. Additionally, support is added for .NET 6 and column-level symmetric in Azure Synapse Analytics. Information on these and other changes is available in the SqlPackage release notes, and users can download the latest SqlPackage and join the conversations on DacFx at the GitHub repository.

Contact us

If you have any feature requests or issues, please submit them to our GitHub issues page. For any questions, feel free to comment below or tweet us @AzureDataStudio.

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