Doing Everything the Graphical Way (Or maybe not)

One of the things we try to do in SQL Server Management is to allow you to work in whatever way is suited best for your situation and the way you do your job. Some people like to work with graphical tools, since everything you can do with the product is "discoverable" from the interface, and others like to work with commands and scripts once they've learned the language.

Although we have different people working on the commands-side of the organization than myself (simply because of the amount of work involved) we do talk, and have requirements that we share with each other. Up to now, most everything you can do in one tool you can do in the other. There are some holes, however, and we work each release on making sure that you can do any task in both.

Sometimes things just aren't suited to one way or another, so we put that work behind bug fixes, enhancements and so on. But as time goes on, with each passing release or service pack, you'll see those menu items pop up.
Are there particular items you would like to see on the graphical menu that you don't? Have you right-clicked some object, expecting to be able to do something with it, and found very little there in the "actions" menu?

Comments (9)

  1. says:

    The one thing I’m always getting caught on is right-clicking a table and having All Tasks -> Export Data or Import Data. It always bugs me having to go up to the database level to do this. It’s small — I know — but annoying.

    Also, I really, really like EM’s right-click a table -> All Tasks -> Manage Permissions. It’s one of the biggest things I miss.

    The other big one I miss is right-click a table -> Open Table -> Query. Now, in ManStud, you have to open the table first. This could be painful if it’s a huge table.

    Thanks for wanting feedback!


  2. BuckWoody says:

    Wow – very good suggestions!  These are going the in the pile for design consideration – thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Hi Buck,

    It would be nice if there were a GUI version of TableDiff.exe (

    Perhaps dtexecui.exe should be launchable from SSMS (if it already is I apologise).

    The biggest thing that SSMS is missing, and I don’t think this will shock you, is tools for Service Broker.

    How about (brainstorming now) right-click on a TVF and ‘Select from…’ just like you can a table or view.


    P.S. The ability to run SQLCmd scripts in SSMS using SQLCmd mode ROCKS!

    P.P.S. In looking around for something to talk about here I just spotted ‘Select top 1000 rows’ & ‘Edit top 200 rows’ in SSMS in pre-CTP5. Cool. Way cool.

  4. BuckWoody says:

    We actually do have a graphical version of all kinds of comparison tools, data tools and loading tools here:

    The Service Broker stuff is being addressed in SQL Server 2008.

    Also – these are all great ideas. Make sure you visit the connect site and submit them so that they will be formalized:

    It’s a bit of a process, but it is worth it. Your suggestion might already have been answered, and if it hasn’t, you get visiblilty into the system.

    Thanks again for reading!

  5. SSIS Junkie says:

    Spotted in pre-CTP5. Right-click on a table and see 2 new options: Select Top 1000 Rows Edit Top 200

  6. grauenwolf says:

    Are we ever going to get search again? Half our developers still use Query Analyzer from 2000 because there isn’t a search feature.

    Another problem is how long it takes to load the list of stored procedures into the tree-view. With the recent beta it is taking me several minutes. Granted we do have over 4,900 procs, but still you think it would be faster or at least download them in the background instead of waiting until I need them.

  7. BuckWoody says:

    Grauenwolf: Stay Tuned. Can’t say more than that.

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