SQL Tools December release recap

The December releases of Azure Data Studio 1.25 and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 18.8 are now generally available.  Additionally, the mssql extension for Visual Studio Code has recently been updated to version 1.10.0. Read on to learn more about each of these updates and grab the latest versions of SSMS, Azure Data Studio, or the mssql extension for VS Code.

Azure Data Studio v1.25

Azure Data Studio follows a four by two development model, where the development cycle includes a two month effort for fundamentals between a four month period focused on improvements and feature creation. In looking at this month’s release notes, you will see that limited features were added but over 30 bugs were fixed. Taking a period to focus engineering work on fundamentals helps keep the codebase healthy and ensures we dedicate attention to addressing imperceivable functionality and improving engineering processes.

Upper left corner of Azure Data Studio with Projects pane open showing 2 projects, AdventureWorksLT and WideWorldImportersDW.

SQL Database Projects extension in Azure Data Studio

The 1.25 release of Azure Data Studio is accompanied by an update to the SQL Database Projects extension, which introduces workspaces and an improved viewlet focused on projects in the sidebar. A workspace is a logical collection of projects and can contain a single project or multiple projects. The new projects viewlet displays any projects in the current workspace and the associated objects and actions, including pre or post deployment scripts and database references. Containing projects in workspaces facilitates quickly reopening the same set of projects

Azure Data Studio included with SQL Server Management Studio

As highlighted in a previous blog post, starting with SQL Server Management Studio 18.7, Azure Data Studio is now included in the SSMS installer. This change brings new features to SSMS, now and increasingly in the future. Since this release, we have had the opportunity to discuss some of the unique challenges that users face in deploying SQL tools. Today we’d like to share more information about the roadmap and current installation processes for SSMS and Azure Data Studio. Before we discuss these details, we’d like to thank those who stepped forward to engage in discussions about the specifics of their environments.

The roadmap for graphical SQL tools can be scoped in two phases, continued version 18 releases and a future major version of SSMS. For the remainder of v18, skipping the installation of Azure Data Studio can be accomplished via a command line flag. A future version of SSMS will require dependencies provided by Azure Data Studio but this change will be communicated ahead of the release.  At this time, installation without Azure Data Studio can be accomplished through the command line flag “DoNotInstallAzureDataStudio=1”.  An example use of this would be:

SSMS-Setup-ENU.exe /Passive DoNotInstallAzureDataStudio=1

A common set of questions about the combined installation has led to additional information in our installation documentation, but the most frequent question was “Can Azure Data Studio be updated separately?” The SQL Server Management Studio installation will not overwrite an equivalent or newer version of Azure Data Studio, allowing independent Azure Data Studio updates if desired.

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) v18.8

Rounding out the year with a fourth release of SSMS, this release includes a handful of fixes and new functionality added for auditing in Azure SQL Managed Instance (MI). For more about the EXTERNAL_MONITOR keyword, review the documentation.

The introduction of filtering of Extended Events by the wait_type name introduced a defect and has been temporarily removed while the defect is corrected. Details on the other changes can be found in the release notes, including fixes for a long-standing issue with XML column reordering and the SQL Replication Monitor auto-connect capability.

mssql extension v1.10.0 for Visual Studio Code

The v1.10.0 release of the mssql extension for Visual Studio Code brings Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentication support, improvements to syntax colorization, and some bug fixes.

2020 recap

The Azure data platform user base is growing across their choice of deployment options, platforms, and current skillsets. During the past year, we have seen a progression of SQL Server tools to support new workflows and experiences, including Azure Arc, Azure SQL Edge, and SQL Server on Linux. Of the flagship graphical tools, this included four version releases of SSMS and monthly releases of Azure Data Studio. We look forward to continuing to bring new capabilities to you in 2021.