The Developer's top 5 features of DbViewSharp

As the developer of DbViewSharp I use the program almost every day for my day job and have done so for the past ten years. The top 5 features are the main reasons I continue to use and develop DbViewSharp intead of switching to SSMS. Here they are:
  1. Smart search
  2. Toolbar switching from tables to views to stored procedures
  3. The table display includes row count and creation/update dates.
  4. Ability to search source code
  5. Connection Management.

Smart search

Smart search encompasses the concepts of: partial name matching, case insensitive search by default and intelligent switching of fields to search depending on whether the search term is text or numeric. This functionality was there at the start, is used daily and saves me typing a mass of SQL. This is the indisputable number 1 feature.

Use the Toolbar to switch database object lists.

I do not like tree controls. There's just to much clutter. I personally find it much more convenient to switch object lists by menu or toolbar. A important consequence of this design choice is that on connecting to a database the initial grid shows the table list, which is probably what you want to see 90% of the time. This is a massive time-saver.

The table display includes row count and creation/update dates.

It was a revelation how much information can be assimilated at a glance by displaying the row count next to a table. The following are war stories where this feature directly identified the problem.
  • A configuration table with an unexpected zero row count indicated an incomplete system upgrade.
  • Sorting by row count can revealed a table to capture debug messages mistakenly installed on production containing a huge number of rows and consuming disk space faster than expected.
  • Unexpected zero row counts on a development database pointed to a developer performing unit tests, which set up and tear down data, on the wrong database.

Ability to search source code

I can't begin to calculate the amount of time this feature saved me. It consists of two parts: the search itself to find the objects that contain the data; the display of the source with the search term highlighted. It is so useful it would have been number 2 in the list, except that RedGate have now launched a source searching SSMS add-in that nearly does it better, though at the time of writing this it is missing one important feature. If you are not convinced by DbViewSharp and don't know about RedGate SQL search I'd strongly recommend looking at it.

Connection management

My company maintains many, many databases on many, many servers. Before DbViewSharp one of the most annoying parts of the job was remembering the server and connection details for each one. Being able to build up a quickly searchable list and instantly check whether the connection was still viable was another great time saver. In DbViewSharp you attach a logical name to a connection and can search this using a partial name match. If for example, you work in many environments you may find it useful to include a tag for the environment in the name; DEV System Config, QC Client Reporting, PROD Order entry etc.
Once again this would be higher in the list except that now SSMS has a similar feature.

Last edited Feb 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM by Dave999, version 4


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