Recently I have begun a new project in which I am using SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) 2012. Although I have been using SSDT & SSIS fairly extensively while SQL Server 2012 was in the beta phase I usually find that you don’t learn about the capabilities and quirks of new products until you use them on a real project, hence I am hoping I’m going to have a lot of experiences to share on my blog over the coming few weeks. In this first such blog post I want to talk about file and folder organisation in SSDT.
The predecessor to SSDT is Visual Studio Database Projects. When one created a new Visual Studio Database Project a folder structure was provided with “Schema Objects” and “Scripts” in the root and a series of subfolders for each schema:
Apparently a few customers were not too happy with the tool arbitrarily creating lots of folders in Solution Explorer and hence SSDT has gone in completely the opposite direction; now no folders are created and new objects will get created in the root – it is at your discretion where they get moved to:
After using SSDT for a few weeks I can safely say that I preferred the older way because I never used Solution Explorer to navigate my schema objects anyway so it didn’t bother me how many folders it created. Having said that the thought of a single long list of files in Solution Explorer without any folders makes me shudder so on this project I have been manually creating folders in which to organise files and I have tried to mimic the old way as much as possible by creating two folders in the root, one for all schema objects and another for Pre/Post deployment scripts:
This works fine until different developers start to build their own different subfolder structures; if you are OCD-inclined like me this is going to grate on you eventually and hence you are going to want to move stuff around so that you have consistent folder structures for each schema and (if you have multiple databases) each project. Moreover new files get created with a filename of the object name + “.sql” and often people like to have an extra identifier in the filename to indicate the object type:
The overall point is this – files and folders in your solution are going to change. Some version control systems (VCSs) don’t take kindly to files being moved around or renamed because they recognise the renamed/moved file simply as a new file and when they do that you lose the revision history which, to my mind, is one of the key benefits of using a VCS in the first place. On this project we have been using Team Foundation Server (TFS) and while it pains me to say it (as I am no great fan of TFS’s version control system) it has proved invaluable when dealing with the SSDT problems that I outlined above because it is integrated right into the Visual Studio IDE. Thus the advice from this blog post is:
If you are using SSDT consider using an Visual-Studio-integrated VCS that can easily handle file renames and file moves
I suspect that fans of other VCSs will counter by saying that their VCS weapon of choice can handle renames/file moves quite satisfactorily and if that’s the case…great…let me know about them in the comments. This blog post is not an attempt to make people use one particular VCS, only to make people aware of this issue that might rise when using SSDT.
More to come in the coming few weeks!