dbForge Studio for SQL Server - Intro

HeidiSQL is my go to tool for working with MySQL and lately I've been swapping between it and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) for MSSQL work.

But it frequently crashes and I still get frustrated with SSMS. It 'works' but usually not like I expect it to.

Within SSMS I've been using dbForge SQL Complete, a plugin to fix auto-complete within SSMS which seems horribly broken to me. SQL Complete worked really well so I decided to try out Devarts full blown SQL IDE called dbForge Studio for SQL Server.

Installation was a snap and I was able to easily configure my datasources. I've been using it for a little over a week now and so far so good.

The Good

The auto-complete works great. In production and locally I get consistent behavior unlike SSMS which would always be inconsistent.

Several of my favorite features I like in Heidi are available in dbForge as well. You can easiyl run a query and then save the results as several formats - csv, Excel, text, etc. Very handy when the customer needs a quick data dump. You can also run a query and quickly create a new script using that data (insert, update, etc.).

The SQL formatter is top notch. Very configurable and easily invoked via a keyboard shortcut. Again this is something I had to resort to a plugin to fix in SSMS.

And a small thing but lately I've been enjoying using a dark theme in Sublime. dbForge has several dark themes as well so no more switching from Sublime to a bright white screen in SSMS!

Downsides

They have dbForge versions for MSSQL, MySQL and Oracle. Unfortunately if you use all three then you have to buy each edition. It would be nice if they offered a tool where you could support one or more databases within the same interface.

One minor nitpick that bugs me is I frequently run very similar queries:

select * from table a where id = 1
select * from table a where id = 2

And in SSMS the results would be presented in a 'stacked' fashion with the results on top of each other so I could easily compare results between two queries. Unfortunately dbForge returns each query in a tab which cannot be moved or 'stacked'. I've submitted a feature request for this so we'll see how responsive Devart is with changes.

I'll have a few more blog posts digging into some of the other features like exporting, data and schema comparisons and more in the coming weeks.