The new SQL Server Object Explorer (SSOE) in Visual Studio 2012 provides access to database objects that is very similar to SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Not only is navigation of multiple databases permitted, but the ability to drill down into the objects is provided. Both of these functions are performed very similar to how they are performed in SSMS.

Using the View Designer of SSOE, one can create, modify, and delete tables. Not only is the table shown in the Design mode (similar to that of SSMS), but it is also displays the corresponding T-SQL for creating the table. The Design & T-SQL panels are associated so that if a change is made in the Design panel, the change is also reflected in the T-SQL panel. Finally, there is a way to easily create tables in my DEV database and have the T-SQL to create the tables when I go to UAT and PROD.

The ability to drill down into database objects makes it easier to look into table columns to ensure that naming and correct data typing is maintained. In addition, the setting of the “Allow Nulls” is displayed.

Looking at stored procedures has also been improved. Like tables, you can drill down into the stored procedure to see the parameter names, data types, direction, and defaults – all without having to open the T-SQL code.

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