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SQL Server Intellisense VS. Red Gate SQL Prompt

By: Fabiano Amorim
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When I was ten years old, I saw my brother programming in Clipper, and I asked him how difficult it was to write code. He replied that it was easy, and then promptly showed me how to do it. If learning how to develop software was a cinch for him fifteen years ago, I wonder how easy he'd find it now, with all the improvements we've made to development environments. As far as I'm concerned, one of the best improvements in our day-to-day tools is intellisense, in all its wonderful shapes and forms.

I just burn to develop applications, so when I need to do any DBA-type tasks, I write code to do them. I also love T-SQL, and I´m lucky to work in a company which uses a lot of stored procs, functions etc., and so SQL Server Management Studio is my home, the place where I feel comfortable.

When I first heard that a native intellisense feature was going to appear in SQL Server 2008, I was thrilled; I suspect that you were, too. I then got a chance to speak to an MVP about this juicy feature, knowing that he'd had access to it before the first beta was available. Naturally, I asked him whether intellisense would display all possibilities when I started typing something like ‘DBCC…', or whether the list would be limited?

”Of course,” he replied, "when you write anything at all, SSMS will open the intellisense window”. This increased my excited anticipation of the feature.

However, when the first CTP version came out with this much-vaunted new feature, we quickly saw that these claims were not all true, and when it became clear that the final version of SSMS intellisense would only work for SQL Server 2008, this made me very very sad.

As a result, I would like to explain the reasons why SQL Prompt makes me decide to turn native intellisense OFF. I don't want to merely promote Red Gate tools: Instead, I want to show you how this tool improves my work, and also suggest some new ideas to the Red Gate developers (who have already seen this article). These aren't criticisms, but rather to suggest possible ways that would make the tool even more indispensable to people like me. If you've not heard about SQL Prompt before, I really do recommend that you download the trial version and take it for a spin. If you have heard of it / used it, feel free to make your own suggestions for new features on the Red Gate forums.

SQL Server Intellisense

Here we can see SQL Server Intellisense in practice: I wrote "select * from ”, and it shows all of my tables. That's pretty basic, but to someone who doesn't know what they're doing, that could be good for a start.

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