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SQL Server Management Studio

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


  • What’s New in SSMS
  • The Integrated Environment
  • Administration Tools
  • Development Tools

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is a new integrated application that provides access to most of the graphical tools you can use to perform administrative and development tasks on SQL Server 2005. SSMS is a replacement for the Enterprise Manager, Query Analyzer, and Analysis Manager that were available in SQL Server 2000. Microsoft has consolidated all those tools into one, with a focus on providing a tool that suits the needs of both developers and database administrators (DBAs).

SSMS is a complicated tool that provides an entry point to almost all of SQL Server’s functionality. The functionality that is accessible from SSMS is entirely too much to cover in one chapter. The aim of this chapter is to give a basic overview of SSMS, with a concentration on features that are new to SQL Server 2005. Others chapters in this book focus on the components of SSMS and provide more detailed coverage.

What’s New in SSMS

SSMS is an entirely new environment for SQL Server 2005. It encapsulates many of the features previously available in other tools and also offers many new features. The bulk of these new features can be grouped into four major categories: environmental changes, integrated management, enhanced query authoring, and enhanced project management.

The environmental changes are changes that have occurred to the graphical application. SSMS has a new look and feel, and it offers some significant change to the way that windows are managed within the application. The application was rewritten in .NET and has features that are more like the development environment found in Visual Studio. Many windows in SSMS are dockable, can be pinned, and can be set to Auto Hide. In addition, many of the management dialog boxes are now modal, which means they can stay open while you open other windows within the application.

The new integrated management features stem from a consolidation of management tools. SSMS now contains management functionality that was contained in SQL Server 2000’s Enterprise Manager, Analysis Manager, SQL Server Service Manager, Query Analyzer, and other tools. The functionality from these tools has been integrated into one environment that shares common Help, a summary window that displays useful information, an Object Explorer tree for easy navigation, and a myriad of other tools that can be accessed from one central location.

The changes related to query authoring are also based on a consolidation of functionality that was contained in several different tools in previous versions of SQL Server. Scripts that were previously created with Query Analyzer or Analysis Services can now be authored in SSMS. A new SSMS window named the Query Editor is an editing tool for the creation of SQL Server scripts. It brings with it many of the great features from the prior tools, such as color coding, syntax checks, and performance analysis, along with some new features, such as Dynamic Help, an XML editor, enhanced templates, and the ability to write scripts without being connected to the database.

The last category of changes in SSMS relates to managing the files or scripts you create when working with SQL Server 2005. SSMS provides a tool to organize scripts, connections, and other, related files into projects. These projects can also be grouped to form a solution. Once again, this functionality is based on the Visual Studio application development environment and the way it organizes development files into projects and solutions. As with Visual Studio, these files can also be managed with source control in SSMS. SSMS provides links to Visual SourceSafe, which allows you to secure the files and manage version control.

This chapter further explores the new features in SSMS. It first examines the features at the environmental level, focusing on how SSMS behaves and how to best utilize the environment. Next, it looks at the administrative tools and what changes have been made to help you better manage your SQL Server environment. Finally, this chapter looks at the development tools that are available with SSMS and the changes that have been made to improve your SQL Server development experience.

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