Last week during a presentation, one of the attendees asked me about my favorite feature in Azure Data Studio. This was an interesting question and I thought of writing down a quick blog post on this.
It’s been over a year that I have almost stopped using Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio during my day to day work. These are the 2 tools which I have used most of my career as a Developer. I decided to move from Windows to Mac at work, hence I needed some tools which were cross-platform. Visual Studio Code and SQL Operations Studio(Azure Data Studio) came to the rescue. Both these tools are awesome — lightweight, super fast and highly extensible.
Azure Data Studio is an open source, cross-platform data management tool that works with SQL Server, Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse from Windows, macOS and Linux machines. SSMS continues to be the flagship product for performing administrative tasks in the Microsoft Data Platform, however from a development perspective you can leverage the lightweight tool for your data development purpose — Azure Data Studio. I have been developing Microservices during the past 1 year where I am primarily executing DDL and DML scripts against the database, not requiring any administrative tasks– hence using Azure Data Studio was a good fit.
Azure Data Studio is an open source GitHub project. There are monthly releases comprising of new features/enhancements and bug fixes to address feedback from the community.
You can create new issues and track progress in GitHub — https://github.com/Microsoft/azuredatastudio/issues
Azure Data Studio provides a lot of Extensibility options and the Extension Model is actually my favorite feature of this tool. There is no need for huge software installs and in the process getting tools/functionalities which you don’t require. The base install of Azure Data Studio is very small & lightweight. Extensions provide an easy way to add more functionality to the installation. With Azure Data Studio you can customize your environment with the tooling you need.
For a period of time, I kept on bumping into high memory usage while working with Visual Studio and SSMS at the same time on my C# & SQL projects — causing the application to frequently crash & have slow performance. Restarting the system helped to temporarily fix the memory issues. If I had to install a new version of these tools, upgrading it after hours was a good option especially with Visual Studio. This used to impact my overall productivity at work. But this is not the case anymore with the VS Code and Azure Data Studio combination!
The January Release of VS Code introduced a new feature wherein you can install extensions without forcing a reload (restart) of VS Code. You are no longer required to reload VS Code when you install or enable an extension. This feature was icing on the cake – since the installation of an extension anyways used to take just a few seconds. Hopefully this same feature will be incorporated very soon as part of the Azure Data Studio!
Since Azure Data Studio is built on top of VS Code, most of the extensibility APIs are available. A lot of capabilities of Azure Data Studio are built as Extensions – and hence based on your changing requirements, you can enable/disable any extensions. There are a number of Extensions which are available and has been made by Microsoft, its Partners and Community members.
Few of my favorite extensions which I have been using on a day to day basis are —
Azure Data Studio is built on the same framework as Visual Studio Code, so extensions for Azure Data Studio are built using Visual Studio Code. If you are interested to create your own Azure Data Studio extension, you can go through this tutorial.
Catch the excellent informative session presented by Vicky Harp at SQLBits 2019 about Azure Data Studio here.
Another common question which is often asked is about SSMS vs Azure Data Studio. You can read more about it here.