Shop Talk: 2021-10-25

The Recording

The Panelists

  • Kevin Feasel
  • Mala Mahadevan
  • Tracy Boggiano

Notes: Questions and Topics

Pre-Cons at PASS Summit

Registration is open for PASS Data Community Summit. This includes two days of pre-cons as well as three days of conference sessions. The pre-cons are priced at $200 apiece and the main conference is free, so check it out.

Query Editors: SSMS vs Azure Data Studio vs Whatever

Our first topic of the night was based on two separate questions. First, Mike (who sadly could not make it) asked what tools people use for query editing. He uses a tool called Aqua Data Studio, which looks fine but I’d guess doesn’t have a huge uptake in the SQL Server community. Almost everybody uses SQL Server Management Studio regularly, and I was the only person who also use Azure Data Studio regularly, though this was no scientific survey.

We talked a bit about how VS Code has overwhelmed Visual Studio, yet the SQL Server analog has had so much trouble getting adoption. I threw out a couple conjectures on the topic. First, there’s a lot of functionality in SSMS that isn’t in Azure Data Studio, and sometimes there’s stuff in ADS which is garbage compared to SSMS. Execution plans are the best example of this: as they are in Azure Data Studio today, execution plans are significantly worse than what you can get in SSMS, much less a tool like SolarWinds Plan Explorer. Considering that Azure Data Studio is intended for developers, that’s a massive pain point.

The other conjecture I threw out is that DBAs and data platform developers tend to be much more reticent to change than application developers, including when it comes to tooling. Considering that we still have people yearning for the good ol’ days of SQL Server Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer, there’s an uphill battle here for the Azure Data Studio team.

Also of interest is that we have a bunch of people who use Notepad++ as their editors for pretty much everything.

.NET Hot Reloading

Our next topic was around a controversy in the .NET community. The Verge reported on Microsoft taking a feature out from a release candidate after it had already made its way into the code base. That, by itself, isn’t necessarily a big deal—sometimes, features get pulled because they’re half-finished and you’ve hit the deadline, so you yank the code and put it in a future release. The problem, though, was that they were going to include it in Visual Studio 2022 but not anything else. After a lot of community outrage, Microsoft has put the feature back in, so that’s a win for the open source community.

Stored Procedures and Unit Testing

We had a couple questions around stored procedures that we covered briefly. First, how do you convince developers and managers that stored procedures are useful (at least in SQL Server; for other database platforms, this advice may vary)? I’ve found that the most useful argument is to note that stored procedures act as interfaces between the code and database, allowing you to do a lot of interesting work without needing to re-compile and re-deploy code. Developers understand and (typically) like interfaces, so that helps it click for them. It also allows you to isolate the SQL code away from other languages, which lets multiple people work on separate problems with less risk of merge conflicts. Solomon also brought up important points like the ability for enhanced security via module signing.

The other question concerned unit testing stored procedures. Some people are big on that, like Mala, who uses tSQLt a lot. Solomon prefers DbFit as an integration test framework. I like the concept of tSQLt a lot, but the big issue is that the things I most want to test are things which are really difficult to test (like triggers, schema modifications, complex dynamic SQL operations, etc.) because they have dependencies on actual objects.

Attorneys General Sue Google

Our last topic was around a dozen Attorneys General suing Google for anti-trust violations. The AGs have filed their brief, which lays out their argument in 173 pages. I linked to a thorough analysis of the first half or so of the document, as well as some high-level takeaways. It’s important to remember that these are allegations rather than proven facts, but the allegations, if true, are pretty devastating.

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