Three months ago I wrote a blog post entitled Some thoughts on Visual Studio database references and how they should be used for SQL Server BI where I shared some thoughts on a feature available to database developers in Visual Studio 2010 that I would love to see added to SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Analysis Services (SSAS) and Reporting Services (SSRS). In there I said:
Over the past few weeks I have been making heavy use of the Database tools in Visual Studio 2010 and one of the features that has most impressed me has been database references.
Database references allow you to have stored procedures in your database project that refer to objects (tables, views, stored procedures etc…) that exist in other database projects and hence when you build your database project it is able to resolve those references.
It occurred to me that similar functionality would be incredibly useful for SQL Server Integration Services(SSIS), Analysis Services (SSAS) & Reporting Services (SSRS) projects. After all reports, packages and data source views are rife with references to database objects – why shouldn’t we be able to have design-time dependency checking in our BI projects the same way that database and .Net developers do?
In that blog post I shared links to three Connect submissions where I requested this feature be added to SSIS, SSAS & SSRS. In addition I also submitted a request that the feature be extended to .Net projects so that any reference to a database object in a .Net assembly can be resolved at build time. That Connect submission is at [Entity FX] Use database references to constrain the EDM and overnight it received this comment from Microsoft:
We have been working on this feature for a while and and will be available soon
This is really good news - it improves the Microsoft developer ecosystem by ensuring invalid references to database references get caught at build time (ideally as part of a Continuous integration build) rather than run time. [Hopefully it might nip this code-first nonsense in the bud too (Ooo...way to incite flame comments :) ) ]. If you want to see this feature in action then check out a video from Teched Europe last month entitled SQL Server Developer Tools Code-named "Juneau" where it is demo'd by Lance Delano and Tim Laverty.
The point of this blog post though is not just to draw attention to this forthcoming feature for .Net developers, it is to ask you to petition Microsoft to get this feature added to SSIS/SSAS/SSRS too. After all, we already know (from the video above) that the feature is coming to this new code-name Juneau development environment plus we also know that Juneau will be the development environment for SSIS/SSAS/SSRS as well - is it really much of a stretch to expect the BI tools to have access to this great feature too? I don't think so and if you agree with me then I urge you to vote and add a comment to the Connection submissions that are requesting this feature. They are at:
Let's close that SQL Developer Gap!