Review: ApexSQL Edit
ApexSQL Edit 2.10
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
This IDE for SQL Server developers has added an amazing number of
features since I last looked at it (when it was still named msSQLed).
Better yet, new releases are coming out on a frequent basis with more
innovative features. If your work includes daily mucking about with SQL
Server databases, you'll want to give this one a try.
For starters, you get a SQL authoring environment that includes
IntelliSense, outlining, source code control (though only with Visual
SourceSafe as a backend so far), templates, snippet expansion, color
coding, and more. There's also a rules-based formatting engine to keep
your SQL looking pretty. After writing the SQL, of course you can
execute it to either a grid or text. The grid is quite spiffy; it
supports drag and drop methods for grouping and ordering, among other
The fun is just starting when you get your results in the grid. You can
save them as XML, HTML, or CSV. You can tear off the results into a
dockable window for later reference. Or if you'd rather, you can
generate a "client viewer" application, which packages the result set
into a little .NET executable that you can send to others to explore,
along with filtering and sorting capabilities.
Speaking of .NET, how about NUnit integration? It's here. Assuming
you've got NUnit installed, you can create, manage, and run unit tests
for your stored procedures from the ApexSQL Edit interface. If you're
working with unit tests to build up complex batches, you'll also
appreciate the ability to run everything in test mode - it automatically
rolls back any changes.
There are plenty of other features here as well. You get integration
with SQL Server Reporting Services, so you can use ApexSQL Edit to
design your report and then quickly publish it. You get XML query output
using a sensible stylesheet rather than endless long lines. You get
image display in the query grid or in separate windows. I'm sure there
are other features that I'm missing this morning as well.
About the only drawback here is that the help file tends to run a bit
behind the actual tool, so you need to pay attention to release notes
and support forums to know for sure what's going on. And of course I'd
still like to see integration with the source code control system that I
use - though ApexSQL Edit is good enough that I'm seriously considering
reinstalling VSS just for it. And that's high praise indeed. There's a
trial version available for download if you want to see for yourself.
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.