Modern T-SQL Development (#MTSQLD)

I was watching this TechEd (I have always loved that name!) video from 2011 about the new way of doing database development, in a modern way – Sql Server Data Tools or SSDT:

It got me thinking how far we have come in the last 3 years and I really feel strongly that as T-Sql developers we have tools and practices we can follow to make our code maintainable, reliable and enjoyable!

We can build systems which are well tested which brings with it a well defined host of benefits such as:

  • Ability to refactor T-Sql code & data schema
  • Confidence that T-Sql code is valid and works as expected

We can concentrate on designing schemas and writing code rather than writing scripts to upgrade schema’s when we deploy using:

  • DacPacs + SqlPackage.exe
  • Redgate Sql compare
  • ApexSql Diff

We can ensure that our code is safe and we can delete unused code because we have source control, my preferred is Git but anything will do, heck even the much derided visual source safe would be an improvement over most T-Sql code projects!

We can refactor code and schemas using SSDT to rename and move objects, we can make changes and build a project and get instant feedback about whether we have broken anything.

We can improve the speed of our development using intellisense and if we are lucky enough to have resharper we can just straight to objects we know the name of (ctrl+t with resharper shortcuts).

We can find out what references objects effectively and find unused objects etc.

We can build a continuous integration pipeline, we can check code in and have a build system like TeamCity checkout the code, build the project, deploy the project and tests and then run the tests – there are a few separate parts to set up here but it is easily doable.

To some extent we can debug T-Sql, this is an area that definitely needs improving but at least we can step through and see the values of variables – until we can visualise what is in tables I think T-Sql debugging will always be lacking.

I am really passionate about modern T-Sql development, please take a look at how you develop T-Sql code and think about whether you are using modern techniques to develop code and whether you life would be any better if you started employing some modern T-Sql development techniques.


In looking around for other resources for modern T-Sql development I was unable to find that much so thought it would be great to start a linked-in group to start collating and sharing best practices, if you are interested please head over to the new “Modern T-Sql Development group on linkedin:


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