Bring Back the TaskPad!

I mentioned a few posts back that a lot of people asked us to bring back the Query Analyzer, since many just want to jump into the query tool and start typing. I explained that you can get the same behavior – even better, in mu opinion – by just setting a single startup option.

Well, another big request is to bring back the TaskPad view from SQL Server 2000. You might not be familiar with this view, it was in Enterprise Manager, and showed a simple view of some basic information, along with a couple of graphs for sized objects. It also had some wizards in one panel.


As I mentioned, we do listen to the customer. So for SQL Server 2008, I began to research exactly what people were asking for in the TaskPad. I researched web sites, blogs, comments, and our SQL Connect site. I spoke with MVP’s, and we ran a study at PASS this year. Here’s what we found:


  • The information is what everyone is after. It’s nice to have certain properties displayed all the time, especially for new folks that don’t know how to find them or which object has which properties.

  • Wizards are not as useful. The right-click we have now is OK to do basic tasks.

  • The graphics are nice for certain objects, as long as they don’t slow things down.


So for SQL Server 2008 I’ve proposed an “improvement” (that’s what we call new features) that I think will answer these requests. We’ll see if I can get it in under the time limits we have left. I’ll explain that improvement and my thinking behind it if and when it goes in. But in the next few posts I want to focus on a feature you already have in SQL Server 2005: Standard Reports.


When we wrote SQL Server 2005 Management Studio, we decided to do something “even better” (hey, I wasn’t here then. I was a DBA using this stuff). We created a series of very nice reports that showed not only sized objects, but more information than most people even knew you could get from SQL Server.


And nobody used them.


So we researched why, and figured that people couldn’t find them. So we moved them to an object’s right-click menu – prime real-estate in the development world. There, we thought, that’s sorted.


And nobody uses them.


Well, I say nobody, but of course that’s an exaggeration. Lots of people use them, but it seems that every time I present on management strategies for SQL Server and show these reports, many people in the audience look surprised and begin to scribble down notes. I’ve even asked for a show of hands, a “hey did you know this was here” and got a resounding “No! Why don’t you guys talk about this more!”


So I looked around – and sure enough, we don’t talk about it enough. So I will. 

Comments (5)

  1. Dan's Blog says:

    Did you know that Management Studio (SSMS) has a rich set of built-in reports? Furthermore, did you know

  2. richard_deeming says:

    "…bring back the TaskPad view from SQL Server 2007"

    SQL Server 2007? I must have missed that version!

  3. paschott says:

    If that’s the same as Object Explorer Details, I use that really often to work on sets of objects, filtered down to certain names.  (In my case usually to drop them or to see what exists, but still used pretty often.)

    Reports are cool and useful, but I will admit that the simplicity of the Task Pad was something that I missed a little at times.

    Of course, more than that, I miss the simplicity of managing permissions in SQL 6.x – it’s just gone downhill from there with 2005 requiring use of a mouse to set permissions through the GUI.  No more easy "show all objects, click away" for a particular user/role.  :-(

    I do think that playing up these reports, the performance dashboard, all of that does need to be done a little more – perhaps a default view would help here.  I’m glad to hear that you’re listening to the customers on it though.


  4. Dr Anil Gupta says:

    I use them  and they are great. Yes TASKPAD view would nice thing to have to get general overview of the database.

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