Reviews

Review: Superior SQL Builder

Superior SQL Builder 1.5
$349
Red Earth Technologies
Currumbin, Australia
+ 61 7 5534 6551
www.superiorsql.com

As you might guess from the name, this product is a builder for SQL statements. But it's a whole lot more than that. It's also a bit different from other products in the field, so let's start by walking through the process of building a SELECT statement:

  1. Create a new project and connect it to your favorite database using the standard OLE DB connection dialog box.
  2. Drag the Tables template to the workspace. Double-click the instance on the workspace and select the tables that you want to work with (the tool for doing this looks a lot like the Access relationships window).
  3. Drag the Query Builder template to the workspace.
  4. Drag the output node of the Tables element to the input node of the Query Builder element.
  5. Double-click the Query Builder element to open a typical multi-pane SQL builder. Use this to graphically create your query from the tables you chose.
  6. Click the Generate Script button to see the results.

That may seem like a lot of work just to build a SELECT - until you realize it's just a simple example of an overall paradigm. The key is that you can add as many templates as you like to the workspace, hook them up together, and create a script. The end result is a mix of some DTS capabilities, a flexible query builder, and some other tools. For example, you can build a script that grabs a couple of tables, scrubs rows from one that don't appear in the other, joins them, builds a query, and then outputs the results as an HTML table. Click the Generate Script button, and you've got HTML ready to go.

The product comes with two separate libraries of templates. The SQL Scripting Library contains a couple of dozen templates that do things like select tables, create indexes, build queries, update values, and so on. The Database Data Extraction library can create CSV, HTML, INSERT statements (useful for scripting data instead of just schema), XML, and so on.

Not enough flexibility for you? You can go beyond the supplied libraries by creating your own libraries and your own templates, using the Visual Scribe scripting language. Looks to me like you could turn this product into a specialized code generation tool with a bit of template-writing effort. If you need any sort of ASCII output, especially with database inputs, and the visual design environment appeals to you, take a look. There's a free 14-day trial on the Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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