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Comparing Red Gate SQL Prompt to SQL Server IntelliSense

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Comparing Red Gate SQL Prompt to SQL Server IntelliSense

· Database Zone
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Third parties like Red Gate have sold tools that provide IntelliSense functionality for several years now.  Microsoft's SQL Server 2008 now threatens these third parties' business by including the original IntelliSense for free.  It's now up to companies to compare and decide, whether a tool like Red Gate's SQL Prompt is still better, and therefore worth the investment.

SQL Server's Intellisense

Here's the first comparison between Red Gate SQL Prompt and SQL Server 2008:

SQL Server 2008


The first image shows a query that was written using SQL Server 2008 and the second image shows the extra information available in Red Gate SQL Prompt

Red Gate SQL Prompt


SQL Server 2008 provides several main IntelliSense functionalities.  First, there are List Members.  These are a list of tables, fields, and other items that are opened by pressing Ctl+J.  There is also Parameter Information available in a pop-up control tip text.  This describes the proc's parameter signature.  Another pop-up control is the Quick Info feature, which gives you information about a column list, function signature, and more.  

SQL Server's IntelliSense also includes an auto-complete function by pressing Alt+right arrow.  Finally, there is an automatic function that gives you feedback when a parenthesis or END statement is missing.  The IntelliSense functions in SQL Server 2008 are not always available in every situation.  Code errors above the cursor, for example, will cause these features not to work.

RedGate SQL Prompt

SQL Prompt has the functionality that was just listed under SQL Server 2008's IntelliSense.  It has several other additional features added on.  It has an expanded "Quick Info" feature that expands the "*" (star) to a list of columns embedded in the SELECT statement.  This lets you select any portion of your columns by typing SELECT * FROM MyTable, putting the cursor at the * and pressing tab.  You can also use the Column Picker to check off the columns you want to put in place of the *.

Expanding the *


From Danny Lesandrini Author for Database Journal

SQL Prompt also expands the auto-complete to include another window containing the script of the object you select for auto-completion.  These can be quickly copied and pasted for faster coding.  One major feature that SQL Server 2008 doesn't have is the ability to create and quickly load code snippets into the query window.  Red Gate's software comes pre-packaged with a plethora of useful scripts, but you can also add your own to the Snippet Library.  The auto-complete will bring up the snippet name after typing its first few characters.  The Pro Edition even formats your SQL code for better readability.  SQL Prompt also has many more options settings than SQL Server 2008, including list behavior control, hide system objects, and default column matching on joined tables.

From this feature list, it's obvious that SQL Prompt has significant advantages over SQL Server 2008's IntelliSense.  Shops that work with SQL, especially T-SQL, stand to save a bunch of time with SQL Prompt.  Ultimately, you'll have to decide if the productivity increase will save time and effort equal to the savings you receive from getting IntelliSense free with SQL Server 2008.

It’s easier than you think to extend DevOps practices to SQL Server with Redgate tools. Discover how to introduce true Database DevOps, brought to you in partnership with Redgate

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