As we develop applications (web, desktop, or otherwise) we start to look around for “things” that make our daily activities easier and faster. These “things” that I am talking about are other applications and tools that come handy when we are close to a deadline. These tools could save your job. Let’s take couple of examples:
- You are using SQL Server Management Studio: You need to search for a field/column/table/procedure. You wish you can click on a button and type “Employee” to get all the procedures that match this criterion.
- You are handed an XML file and you need to view and easily manipulate it. You do not want to use Notepad and yet you do not want to purchase a high end editor.
These are couple of example from the thousands of questions that come to mind when developing applications. That is why here at Mr Bool we decided to create these series of posts. In every post, we will look at few tools/applications that make your job as an application developer easier. We will take one tool at a time; explain how to install it, and how to use it. We will look at its features and take screenshots when necessary. Since I am more of a .NET application developer, many of the tools are oriented to that technology. But that is not always the case.
The tools we are discussing today are: SQL Search and XML Notepad.
SQL Search: This is an add-on to SQL Server from Red-Gate. As the name implies, this can be used to do searches in SQL Server. You can download this tool free from http://www.red-gate.com. It is part of the SQL Developer Bundle. Just search the site for “SQL Search”. The current version is 1.1. There are many tools on that site are part of the Developer Bundle. Some of them are oriented to .NET developers (example ANTS Performance Profiler, ANTS Memory Profiler, and .NET Reflector). You can download a trial version of these tools, but you will end up buying them if you want to keep after the trial period ends. For our case, let’s look at SQL Search:
Pre-requisite: Since this tool is an add-on to SQL Server, you need to have SQL Server installed first.
Go to the following link: http://www.red-gate.com/products/sql-development/sql-search/and click the download button. Then click run. Follow the wizard, accept the terms and conditions, and click install.
After the installation completes, you will see the following on the standard toolbar:
Clicking on SQL Search will load a new tab that looks like the following:
As you can see from the figure above, you have a text box to type what you are searching for, and you can keep the first drop down as “All Objects”. If you are looking for something specific, you can change the drop down to (Table, procedure, function…). The second dropdown will specify what database you are searching.
Here is an example of how a search will look like. Here I am searching for “Event” in “Procedures” in the “ReportServer” database:
Notice how the search returned matches on text, and the first match is already selected and listed in the bottom pane. Once you find what you are looking for, you can select that object in the Object Explorer using the link between the top and bottom panes.
As you can see, this search tool is very handy and time saver.
XML Notepad: XML Notepad is an open source XML editor. You can use this application to view and manipulate XML files. You can view XML documents in tree and text view. You can drag and drop documents on the application and you can validate against a schema as well.
You type “download XML Notepad” in Google and download it from different locations. The one I am using in this article is XML Notepad 2007 version 2.1. Once you download and install the application it should look like the following:
As you can see in the File menu, you can create new documents or open existing ones. In this case I opened an existing file named Books.xml:
There are two tabs to see the file in Tree view and text view.
You can click on a node in the left pane to see its contents in the right pane. You can drag and drop elements in the tree and add other elements before or after existing elements. You can do that using the main menu on the top or the context menu.
In addition, you can validate your document against a schema. Doing so will give you the advantage of IntelliSense when working with the document.
XML Notepad is an application that every developer will find handy when working with XML documents.
We welcome your feedback on these posts. If you have been using a tool that you find handy, please let us know so we can add it to our posts and make it available to other developers.
Thank you for your time.
Senior Application Developer / Technical Trainer