If you don’t follow the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) blog then you may not know that two days ago an updated version of SSDT was released (and by SSDT I mean the database projects, not the SSIS/SSRS/SSAS stuff) along with a new version of the SSDT Power Tools. This release incorporates a an updated version of the SQL Server Data Tier Application Framework (aka DAC Framework, aka DacFX) which you can read about on Adam Mahood’s blog post SQL Server Data-Tier Application Framework (September 2012) Available. DacFX is essentially all the gubbins that you need to extract and publish .dacpacs and according to Adam’s post it incorporates a new feature that I think is very interesting indeed:
Extract DACPAC with data – Creates a database snapshot file (.dacpac) from a live SQL Server or Windows Azure SQL Database that contains data from user tables in addition to the database schema. These packages can be published to a new or existing SQL Server or Windows Azure SQL Database using the SqlPackage.exe Publish action. Data contained in package replaces the existing data in the target database.
In short, .dacpacs can now include data as well as schema. I’m very excited about this because one of my long-standing complaints about SSDT (and its many forebears) is that whilst it has great support for declarative development of schema it does not provide anything similar for data – if you want to deploy data from your SSDT projects then you have to write Post-Deployment MERGE scripts. This new feature for .dacpacs does not change that situation yet however it is a very important pre-requisite so I am hoping that a feature to provide declaration of data (in addition to declaration of schema which we have today) is going to light up in SSDT in the not too distant future.
Read more about the latest SSDT, Power Tools & DacFX releases at: