August 31, 2015 at 6:00 pmParticipant
I am really new to the SQL world and naively I started down the path of converting an Access database program which I wrote 15 years ago to SQL. That part was easy enough. I did in over a weekend shortly after the first of this year and everything went smoothly. I got my customer all excited about the wonderful things I was going to do for them when I converted their software to a new platform and oh how easily I was going to be able to make modifications now and on and on and on until they were ecstatic.
After I converted the production program to use the SQL database I started noticing there were some subtle differences in the datatypes that I had to address, date fields, strings, nothing big. I worked over a weekend and used a backup copy of the customer’s database and then just uploaded the modified DB back to them. Simple.
Then I started rewriting my application in a .NET platform. Everything was fine until I started making some schema changes and suddenly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to just pull their DB over on a weekend and make the changes by hand and put it back. Timing was an issue, changes were complicated and I didn’t trust myself to do it all correctly by hand. I also hadn’t kept really good notes of what I had done and so it was going to be really challenging to get it all right. I was in a mess and with a hard deadline.
I started looking for a solution and found the Database Compare tool available with Visual Studio PREMIUM but I only had the Professional version (which didn’t include that feature) and I just wasn’t going to spend the money to upgrade. I kept looking and found R1Soft Schema Compare tool. It sounded too good to be true. I was skeptical. I downloaded a trial. It seemed to work. I got a call from a sales rep named Danny and was even more nervous since I didn’t know him and figured he was probably just telling me what I wanted to hear in order get my money. But, I was really desperate. I couldn’t find anything else that even seemed reasonable to try. Danny spent a lot of time with me and had an engineer give me a demo of the SQL Backup product that right now is way beyond what I need but I was so impressed with the knowledge of the engineer and his patience with my really stupid questions and I learned a whole lot about SQL just from the demo.
In the end I purchased the SQL Admin Toolset and got the SQL Comparison Toolset, SQL Doctor and SQL Virtual Database all bundled together in a promotion that was in effect for what to me seemed like a fantastic price. Danny called me a few days later to see how it was going (that is really going the extra mile in customer service) and I was so excited to let him know that using JUST the Schema Compare tool I was able to confidently make all the schema changes I needed to do in under 15 minutes and that included figuring out how to use the software. In fact, I was so stunned at how fast it went I did it over a second time because I was certain that I had made a mistake somewhere because it was JUST TOO EASY!!! I know that this one tool saved me several hours of hand changes and untold amounts of stress. I was also able to generate the scripts necessary to perform the schema changes on the production server when I was finished with testing.
But wait, it gets even better. While I was working on my new program I suddenly got this message that several of my tables were not available for use as they contained UNSUPPORTED FIELD NAMES!!!! OMG, what is this and how am I going to fix it? And I don’t mean just a dozen or so field names, I mean a couple HUNDRED field names. But this time I didn’t panic. I already knew that I had the exact tool in my back pocket that I needed to get this job done. Not only are the schema changes easily doable but I discovered the Data Compare tool as well and with that I am able to keep my test DB in sync with the production DB easily and whenever I want. If every tool that is included with what I purchased is even half as effective and useful AND educational to a novice SQL user like myself, I found a goldmine. Well done Idera Team! You saved my tail feathers, got me out of the frying pan and now I am sitting pretty.