# Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The developer ecosystem is starting to rally around SQL Azure, and that is a healthy thing. I stumbled across this neat SQL Azure query tool from Microguru today. It is called the Gem Query Tool for SQL Azure and you can download it here. It uses the .NET Framework 3.51 and is pretty lightweight. The cool thing is that it has a community edition that is free to use.

According to Micoguru the tool:

provides an intuitive user interface to connect to and work with SQL Azure databases. Gem Query Tool supports execution of any DDL and DML script supported by SQL Azure. To facilitate authoring of SQL queries, Gem Query Tool for SQL Azure displays tables and columns in your database.

I gave it a go today and it is simple to use. What stands out about this tool and why I highlight it after I highlighted a few other tools is the database browse schema feature. This is a basic feature that SQL Server’s own Management tool and the SQL Azure web site both lack. Gem Query allows you to log into one database (my only complaint is that there is not a “browse databases” feature) and select your tables or views. Once you click on one you can view the schema in a nice grid:


Access to this metadata is important after you have migrated some data since some of the data types or defaults may not be what you expect. I also like that when you click on a database object you have a “column” or “data” view. When you click on the “data” tab, you will have the option to select the Top 100, Top 1000 (pretty convenient) and All.


Gem Query has a very easy to use Query interface. While most other tools leave you on your own to write SQL, Gem Query gives you three windows with the SQL keywords supported by SQL Azure and a list of row returning database objects (tables, views, etc..) When you select a SQL command, it will put it into the query window for you, as it will for the objects. When you select an object you will also see the available columns and click on those to build your query. I wrote this very simple query using the builder:


   1:  SELECT CustomerID, ContactName, Country
   2:  FROM Customers 
   3:  ORDER BY Country 




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posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 5:53:55 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Telerik WCF Wizard that I have shown on this blog several times has been updated and is available on Telerik Labs for download.

Whenever Telerik puts something up on Telerik Labs we hope that some early adopters will try it out and give us feedback. We had an amazing demand for the Telerik OpenAccess WCF wizard and got tons of feedback. The most overwhelming piece of feedback is the name of the wizard: so as of this CTP, the wizard is now renamed the Telerik Data Services Wizard.


We made some key enhancements in this build for useability. The big thing is that you no longer have to be an ADMIN user to use the wizard. In addition, we made some of the navigation simpler as well as squashed some bugs (mostly around using LINQ statements in older versions of OpenAccess). Speaking of older versions of OpenAccess, the wizard will automatically detect what version of OpenAccess you have installed and auto-update itself to work with that version.

We’re working around the clock on a new build that will have Visual Studio integration and a new UI that is more consistent with the OpenAccess UI. A little further out, we will also include support for ADO.NET Data Services 1.5 CTP2 using the new “data service provider” interface available in Astoria 1.5. Once we are at that point, we will release this a full fledged beta with a target for the wizard to be part of OpenAccess proper by Q1 release next year at the latest.


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posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 6:27:04 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, October 25, 2009

While visiting Sichuan Province in China this weekend, I traveled to the Wolong Nature Reserve. Wolong is the new home of the giant pandas after the deadly earthquake last April destroyed their last home (and unfortunately killed a panda).

Wolong is very special since it is the only place in the world where you can go into the habitat and feed and play with the pandas. While playing with the pandas, he bit me on my leg (and Kathleen on her finger!)

Now that is something that does not happen every day. No harm was done, except for a few black and blues. Of course the pandas were just playing! We all kissed and made up-after we fed them of course! :)


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posted on Sunday, October 25, 2009 7:44:39 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, October 23, 2009

As you most likely know by now, SQL Azure is now on production servers and the team is feature complete for the PDC build. What is funny is that they did a migration in the middle of the night on Tuesday, right smack dab in the middle of the day in Bulgaria where I was demoing SQL Azure at DevReach. That lead to some funny demos crashing. What fun!

The good news is that SQL Azure now supports BCP, so you should be able to easier bulk load data on into SQL Azure. No more crazy work around like the ones I posted on this blog and on many others.

Another new feature, which took me a while to discover when all of my unit tests failed, is a firewall. You can now specify which IP Addresses can access your SQL Azure account. At first this kind of pissed me off, but I like that I can completely control who can access my account. (Especially since Microsoft will start charging soon for SQL Azure.) To set your allowed IP Addresses, just click on the “Firewall” tab in the SQL Azure manager and add a range of IP Addresses and you will be in good shape.


Anyway, SQL Azure support is improved in SQL Server Management Studio, however, you still can’t use the object explorer. I reviewed SQL Azure manager a week or two ago, and that still works as advertised against the new production builds.


If you are working with Visual Studio 2010 beta2 that shipped this week, you can use a refreshed version of the SQL Azure Explorer. The 0.2.2 version is built specifically for VS 2010 b2 and is very stable, the author on codeplex marked it now as a beta. After you download and install SQL Azure Explorer, you have to go into Visual Studio and enable extensions. You can do this via Tools|Extension Manager. You will see that SQL Azure Explorer is disabled and extensions are not available. You have to click on the hyperlink and then check the allow button in the dialog that follows. After you close and reopen Visual Studio, you will see SQL Azure Manager as the first item in the Tools menu.


There have been some major speed improvements to the login and object view process. Also the ability to create and drop databases, users, etc. A nice feature (that was also in the last version but I did not see it) is that you can parse your query and even format your TSQL. Pretty cool.


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posted on Friday, October 23, 2009 4:15:02 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, October 19, 2009

The European Tour continues! I am speaking on REST and Data Access at the SDC in the Netherlands this week. Hope to see you there.


posted on Monday, October 19, 2009 4:12:23 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, October 15, 2009

I’ll be speaking at the CodeCamp in Cracow, Poland on Saturday. Not only will I be doing my Scrum and Data Access talks, but another speaker got sick and I will be doing a .NET Rock Interview with Richard and Carl. Should be a great amount of fun! See you there.


posted on Thursday, October 15, 2009 5:42:34 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, October 10, 2009

On Monday and Tuesday I will speaking at DevReach in Sofia, Bulgaria. I’ll be doing my Data Access Hacks and Shortcuts and RESTful applications with Microsoft Tools sessions as well as the Daily Scrum talk with Remi Caron.

Chris Sells is doing a keynote on Oslo and Central Europe DPE lead Luka Debeljak will be doing a keynote on Azure. Should be great. Hope to see you there.


posted on Saturday, October 10, 2009 6:24:12 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, October 9, 2009

Here is a another pretty cool find for managing SQL Azure databases. The SQL Azure Explorer for Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 is a neat little add-in that allows you to explore your SQL Azure databases as well as run SQL statements.

Once you have the tool installed, just fire up Visual Studio Beta 1 (I assume when Beta 2 ships the tool will be updated) and you can access the tool from the Tools|SQL Azure Explorer menu option. You have to provide your SQL Azure login credentials (you may have to put as the login your username@servername)


After you have logged in, you will see the Object Explorer tree. You can drill into the database objects or select the top 100 rows of a table or view.


You can also right click on the database and say “Open SQL Editor” and type in SQL Statements against your SQL Azure database.


If you are using Visual Studio 2010 beta 1 and spend a lot of time in Visual Studio, you may want to give the SQL Azure Explorer a try since you won’t have to leave Visual Studio.


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posted on Friday, October 9, 2009 4:15:54 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback