# Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Microsoft recently released a CTP of the cloud based SQL Azure management tool, code named “Houston”. Houston was announced last year at the PDC and is a web based version of SQL Management Studio (written in Silverlight 4.0.) If you are using SQL Management Studio, there really is no reason to use Houston, however, having the ability to do web based management is great. You can manage your database from Starbucks without the need for SQL Management Studio. Ok, that may not be a best practice, but hey, we’ve all done it. :)

You can get to Houston here. It will ask you for your credentials, log in using your standard SQL Azure credentials, however for “Login” you have to use the username@server format.

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I logged in via FireFox and had no problem at all. I was presented with a cube control that allowed me see a snapshot of the settings and usage statistics of my database. I browsed that for a minute and then went straight to the database objects. Houston gives you the ability to work with SQL Azure objects (Tables, Views, and Stored Procedures) and the ability to create, drop, and modify them.

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I played around with my tables’ DDL and all worked fine. I then decided to play around with the data. I was surprised that you can open a .SQL file off your local disk inside of Houston!

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I opened up some complex queries that I wrote for Northwind on a local version of SQL Server 2008 R2 and tested it out. The script and code all worked fine, however there was no code formatting that I could figure out (hey, that is ok).

I wanted to test if Houston supported the ability to select a piece of TSQL and only execute that piece of SQL. I was sure it would not work so I tested it with two select statements and got back one result.  (I tried rearranging the statements and only highlighted the second one and it still worked!)  Just to be sure I put in a select and a delete statement and highlighted only the select statement and only that piece of TSQL executed.

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I then tried two SQL statements and got back two results, so the team clearly anticipated this scenario!

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All in all I am quite happy with the CTP of Houston.  Take it for a spin yourself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 10:16:59 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Hi Stephen,
The Project Houston team is thrilled that we anticipated your scenarios. Our goal was to make a super simple lightweight query editor and tool for creating Tables, Views, and Stored Procedures that would make MS Access customers, new Web Developers, and others new to SQL Server databases immediately productive.
Cheers,
Bill Ramos, Program Manager, SQL Server
http://twitter.com/billramo
http://twitter.com/sqlhouston
http://twitter.com/sqlazure
http://twitter.com/ms_sql_server
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