SQL Server Data Tools 17.0 RC, and SSDT in VS2017

It's been a busy few months for SSDT with multiple Release Candidate releases of the 17.0 major release, and Visual Studio 2017 shipping this week. Here's a quick update on the latest & greatest database tools updates you can try out.

SQL Server Data Tools 17.0 RC3

Today we're announcing SSDT 17.0 RC3 release for Visual Studio 2015. SSDT 17.0 is a major update with support for SQL Server vNext and the latest Azure SQL DB features built in. We've released multiple RCs and are well on our way towards a GA release that's supported against production instances.

Download the latest release candidate here.

New in SSDT 17.0 RC3:  Ignore Column Order when publishing Database Projects

One of the most requested features for database project publishing is now finally here. If you've ever had to deal with accidental data motion when putting a column in the middle of a table definition, you'll know how hard this can be to spot and manage. In this release you can now check the "Ignore Column Order" option in the Advanced Publish Options. This will append new columns to the end of an existing table rather than altering the table structure to add the column in its listed position.

For a full list of features for all project types see the release notes on the SSDT 17.0 Release Candidate download page.

Visual Studio 2017

Visual Studio 2017 includes SSDT relational DB support: Database Projects, Schema Compare, Data Compare, SQL Server Object Explorer and more. The Data Storage and Processing workload is optimized for DB developers, but SSDT is a recommended option in most other workloads including ASP.Net and Web Development. We encourage you to try out the new, more lightweight Visual Studio today!

Support for Analysis Services and Reporting Services BI project types is available in the VS2017 Gallery on launch day. 

To download Visual Studio 2017 and learn more about the exciting new features in this release, see www.visualstudio.com.


When will all BI Projects be supported in VS2017?

Support for Analysis Services and Reporting Services BI project types is available in the VS2017 Gallery on launch day.  Support for Integration Services for Visual Studio 2017 is in progress, but is not yet available on launch day. For now we recommend using SSDT for VS2015 if you need to use all of the BI project types together in a solution, but stay tuned to this blog for updates on this.

When will SQL Server vNext & other SSDT 17.0 features be supported in VS2017?

We're focused on bringing SSDT 17.0 to GA quality in the coming months. After this happens, we'll work to ship this updated code into a future Visual Studio 2017 update. Please note that Visual Studio 2017, database project updates are shipped via the built-in updater instead of a separate setup executable. This makes install & management much easier, but does mean that releases align with the Visual Studio release schedule rather than shipping on an ad-hoc basis. With this change, SSDT updates for Visual Studio 2017 will generally ship after updates to SSMS and other tools.

Will there be additional feature updates to SSDT in Visual Studio 2013?

No. SSDT supports the most recent 2 versions of Visual Studio, with our features shipping in both versions wherever possible. With the release of Visual Studio 2017, we are ceasing to ship feature updates to Visual Studio 2013. This release will continue to be supported via the Microsoft support lifecycle, meaning any vital security fixes and similar important fixes will be released. We recommend updating to the latest version of Visual Studio to keep getting our most up to date features.

What tools does Visual Studio 2017 have for database development?

Visual Studio 2017 has several features specific to database development to keep developers more productive, while ensuring that application’s data and schemas are part of the DevOps best practices (automatic deployment, continuous integration). Developers can leverage SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) included in all Visual Studio editions. Additionally on Visual Studio 2017, developers can leverage Redgate Data Tools. SQL Search is available in all editions, and SQL Prompt Core and ReadyRoll Core are available for VS 2017 Enterprise subscribers.

  • SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) turns Visual Studio into a powerful development environment for SQL Server, Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse. With SSDT, developers can visually design, build, debug, test, maintain, refactor, deploy, source control and enable continuous integration & continuous deployment for their databases with a declarative model that spans all the phases of database development. Developers can work offline with a database project, or directly with a connected database instance in Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, and SQL Server running on Windows, Linux, Docker and in Azure or any cloud.
  • With ReadyRoll Core, users can develop, source control, and safely automate deployments of database changes, alongside application changes. This means the same tools used for application development can be utilized for database development and deployment, and ensures a single source of truth for both application and database changes. ReadyRoll’s migrations-based approach gives developers more control over the end database deployment script and can be easily integrated into DevOps processes, such as continuous integration and continuous delivery.
  • With SQL Prompt Core users can increase productivity with advanced IntelliSense-style code completion in Visual Studio.
  • SQL Search allows users to quickly search for SQL objects across databases. Together, Redgate Data Tools help to ensure database development is not the bottleneck to continuously delivering value to end users.

Can these tools help me with continuous integration & continuous deployment scenarios?

Yes, both SSDT Database Projects and ReadyRoll can be used to include the database in your CI and CD processes. ReadyRoll is an alternative to SSDT Database Projects that allows developers to have more control over the end database deployment script.

Read more about the differences between these in the “Which tool should I use” question.

Where do I get these database development tools from?

You can find both SQL Server Data Tools and Redgate’s SQL Search on all Visual Studio 2017 editions. Additionally, Visual Studio 2017 Enterprise subscribers have access to Redgate SQL Prompt Core and ReadyRoll Core as part of their installation, in the Data storage and processing workload.

Which tool should I use: SSDT or ReadyRoll?  

ReadyRoll is an alternative to SSDT Database Projects that allows developers to have more control over the end database deployment script. It can be used alongside other great features in SSDT like the Table Designer and ability to View and Edit Data.

SSDT and ReadyRoll Core take two different approaches to database development. SSDT takes a state-based approach, while ReadyRoll Core takes a migrations-based approach. The short version: for example, consider this analogy for baking a cake:

  • With SSDT database projects, you are given a list of ingredients and a picture of what the end cake will look like; the beginning and end state. How you get there is derived.
  • With ReadyRoll Core, you are given the recipe telling you what to do each step of the way to turn the ingredients into a cake.