Review: ApexSQL Edit

ApexSQL Edit 2.10
ApexSQL Software
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
(508) 528-3493

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 things.

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.

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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