Recently I noticed a tweet from notable SQL Server author and community dude-at-large Steve Jones in which he asked how many SQL Server developers were putting their SQL Server source code (i.e. DDL) under source control (I’m paraphrasing because I can’t remember the exact tweet and Twitter’s search functionality is useless). The question surprised me slightly as I thought a more pertinent question would be “how many SQL Server developers are not using source control?” because I have been doing just that for many years now and I simply assumed that use of source control is a given in this day and age.
Then I started thinking about it. “Perhaps I’m wrong” I pondered, “perhaps the SQL Server folks that do use source control in their day-to-day jobs are in the minority”. So, dear reader, I’m interested to know a little bit more about your use of source control.
- Are you putting your SQL Server code into a source control system?
- If so, what source control server software (e.g. TFS, Git, SVN, Mercurial, SourceSafe, Perforce) are you using?
- What source control client software are you using (e.g. TFS Team Explorer, Tortoise, Red Gate SQL Source Control, Red Gate SQL Connect, Git Bash, etc…)?
- Why did you make those particular software choices?
- Any interesting anecdotes to share in regard to your use of source control and SQL Server?
To encourage you to contribute I have five pairs of licenses for Red Gate SQL Source Control and Red Gate SQL Connect to give away to what I consider to be the five best replies (“best” is totally subjective of course but this is my blog so my decision is final ), if you want to be considered don’t forget to leave contact details; email address, Twitter handle or similar will do.
To start you off and to perhaps get the brain cells whirring, here are my answers to the questions above:
- Are you putting your SQL Server code into a source control system? As I think I’ve already said…yes. Always.
- If so, what source control server software (e.g. TFS, Git, SVN, Mercurial, SourceSafe, Perforce) are you using? I move around a lot between many clients so it changes on a fairly regular basis; my current client uses Team Foundation Server (aka TFS) and as part of a separate project is trialing the use of Team Foundation Service. I have used SVN extensively in the past which I am a fan of (I generally prefer it to TFS) and am trying to get my head around Git by using it for ObjectStorageHelper.
- What source control client software are you using (e.g. TFS Team Explorer, Tortoise, Red Gate SQL Source Control, Red Gate SQL Connect, Git Bash, etc…)? On my current project, Team Explorer. In the past I have used Tortoise to connect to SVN.
- Why did you make those particular software choices? I generally use whatever the client uses and given that I work with SQL Server I find that the majority of my clients use TFS, I guess simply because they are Microsoft development shops.
- Any interesting anecdotes to share in regard to your use of source control and SQL Server? Not an anecdote as such but I am going to share some frustrations about TFS. In many ways TFS is a great product because it integrates many separate functions (source control, work item tracking, build agents) into one whole and I’m firmly of the opinion that that is a good thing if for no reason other than being able to associate your check-ins with a work-item. However, like many people there are aspects to TFS source control that annoy me day-in, day-out. Chief among them has to be the fact that it uses a file’s read-only property to determine if a file should be checked-out or not and, if it determines that it should, it will happily do that check-out on your behalf without you even asking it to. I didn’t realise how ridiculous this was until I first used SVN about three years ago – with SVN you make any changes you wish and then use your source control client to determine which files have changed and thus be checked-in; the notion of “check-out” doesn’t even exist. That sounds like a small thing but you don’t realise how liberating it is until you actually start working that way.
Hoping to hear some more anecdotes and opinions in the comments. Remember….free software is up for grabs!