The SQL Server Data Tools CTP4 (formerly SQL Server Developer Tools, Code-name "Juneau") released today deliver a wide range of improvements and additions to the feature set of SSDT, throughout all dimensions of the product.
The SSD CTP4 introduces the SQL Server Object Explorer (SSOX), a tool window for SSDT in Visual Studio, along with a series of T-SQL Editor usability improvements, with a great focus on ease of use and discoverability for core tasks.
The new CTP4 also brings the power of SQLCMD variables at your fingertips for use in Pre-/Post-Deployment scripts and a variety of other places in your SSDT projects! Variables can be defined directly in code or established via the project properties dialog.
SSDT CTP4 also introduces a change in SSDT's primary artifact from .sqlx to .dacpac. "This new format is used throughout the SSDT feature set including Import, Build, and Snapshot, Schema Compare and more. This file extension change does not represent a change in functionality, as the new .dacpacs are still a single-file representation of your schema," Microsoft explains.
"To create an artifact with SSDT that can be used by these two tools, you must enable the creation of a v2.0 on project build. You can do this by checking the "Create additional down-level .dacpac file" option in the Project Settings."
The command line tool previously named sqlx.exe, SSDT's command line tool has been renamed to SqlPackage.exe, and bring the following changes:
- Extract - Create a .dacpac from a live database
- Report - Compare two .dacpacs to generate an XML report of the schema differences between the source and the target
- Script - Create a valid T-SQL update script that can be used to push changes from the source to the target
- Publish - Push a .dacpac to a live database
The new iteration also brings SSDT's Schema Compare experience changes, as well as with top-level SQL menu that is distinguished from the existing VS2010 Database Project features and environment.
There is also a Data Tools Operations Window to take advantage of, offering visual feedback on operations being carried out in the SSDT stack, along with visual changes in the command line tool when compared to CTP3.
You can download the SQL Server Data Tools CTP4 here.