My first blog on Vsdata tools in VisualStudio 2005 (by Ming Chen)

Since our team weblog that got created, I have been thinking on puting the introduction of some tools that we have been working on with this version of Visual Studio 2005 (Whidbey.)  But just keeping putting off because of all sort of different reasons.(One of them is that our first son is now 10 months old now and I am learning to be a parent along the way.) 

Before I jump in more, Mairead<our team's favourite PM> has asked me to write something about myself.  So here we go.

I am a developer in VSData Tool team in Visual Studio. Well, I love to program.  I also love to argue with our PM on what's best for our customer.  I used work in Office team on SBCM (small business contact manager). Then onto the bCentral(where I don't know what I am doing over there.) Then jump over to VisualStudio because I just like to code.  Before MS, well, I was in University of Florida CIS department working on the Image processing and have a side job in Transportation department and worked on a system called HCS.

Enough of me, now this post is also about vsdata tools in VisualStudio 2005. First I would like to point what's VSDataTools.

As with everyone, I remember first time that I got the job at our team, I have no idea that VSData Tools compose of.  There is a lot of confusion one what's stuffs we do own in Visual Studio.  Here is the *major* areas that we own inside visual studio

  • Part of the Server Explorer which connect to Database (if you ever connect to a database through Server Explorer in VS2003, VS.Net, that's our stuff.)
  • Table designer -- which allow you to create Table in a database
  • Query/View designer -- which allow you to create query (say, select * from author) and Update the result within the Query result
  • SQL script editor (store procedure, function editor.)
  • SQL debugging within VS (well, we aren't the *debugger* team, so we only own the UI part of the responsibility, say if you set a break point on the store procedure, when it hit, it better show up in the right location.)
  • Database project -- which allow you to create a project to debug SQL, save the query and scripts  with sourcesafe
  • Database diagram (it was official cut in VS2005, but who knows, we might be asked to put it back.) -- a diagram to lay out the relationship within the database tables/views/
  • Query builder in VB wizard of the one step

If you use some of above on SQL Enterprise Manager, VS2003, etc ... they are all the *same* code base which is own by us. (*same* here is just saying that the code get adopt to the product it shipped with -- it might looks slightly different with each other)  But it all been in the same blood line.

It is also important to point out the seperation between us and other related Visual Studio teams.

  • VB/VC Form designer side of database related stuff. (For example, DataSource window is complete own by VB team)

    • You need to realize to enable drag/drop, code gen, ...etc have total different requirement/expreience than the one that need to do the Query designer and Table designer.

  • Server Explorer server node (which is most about the machine setting, have most not relate to database.)

    • But.... Database node under Server node, well, it is still belong to me

  • Drag/Drop to create the code (Create the ADO.Net connection, oledb connection, etc....), you guess it, it have nothing to do with us.

As to what's in it for me in VS2005 .... 🙂

I am responsibe for the but not limit to....

  • Updateable Result pane in Query designer
  • UI part of Grid pane in the Query designer
  • UI part of the grid in the Table designer.

So if you have question on the above area, feel free to drop us a comment/suggestion/bug, even with other areas, I will try to find the right person to deal with it.

Oh, don't forget the Foxpro side of VSData team.  They are immensively more popular than us.  They are also much more defined than us, I don't think there is need to point what's belong to Foxpro and what not.

Next stop, I will talk about the Updateable result pane in Query designer (since I have spent a lot of time on it.)  It have been rework since VS2003 as we move from ADO to ADO.NET. So the look and feel is a bit difference.  I would like to hear some feedback (other than our PMs --- but the real users who might love and hate the things that I did to it.)


Comments (10)

  1. David says:

    I just had a look at the database features in the express editions. What sort of grid are you guys using? The one in 2003 appeared to be a lot more streamlined!!!!!

  2. Lance Delano says:

    It’s a slightly customized version of the .Net client grid.

  3. Ming Chen says:

    For result pane — it is the DataGridView(a.k.a .Net client grid) which is shipped in VS2005 (Yes, we eat our own dogfood.)

    For detail look at = "

    For Critria pane — we are using the SQL Grid which shipped with Yukon (This is another story)

  4. Chris says:


    VS2005 needs the database diagram.

    On the database diagram in VS 6.0, you could copy and paste multilple db columns from table to table. I used this feature extensively and dream of the day it is back.


  5. Ming Chen says:

    You can still do that without database diagram.

    Database diagram is just a lot of Table Designer on a Diagram Surface.

    If this is the only function you want to do,

    Here is how you can do it on the Table designer.

    1. Open the Source Table in Table designer.

    2. Select the row by click on row header.To multiple select, you select click on the row header and drag up/dow. Or use shift or control to select multiple row.

    3. Copy those rows by Context Menu->Copy or Control -C

    4. Open the Target Table in the table designer, select the new row by clicking on the row header. Then Paste (either by context menu or Ctrl-V)


  6. Hari Baskar says:

    I just installed beta version of VisualStudio 2005. I could not find the database diagrammer as the documentation states.

    Do I need to install patches to get this feature installed with .Net 2005 version?

  7. Someone should be beaten and flogged for cutting database diagrams from the Yukon/Whidbey toolset.

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