Database projects in visual studio 2010
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Database projects in visual studio 2010. Anthony Brown [email protected] Agenda. What are they? How they work What else you can do Limitations. What are they for. Offline development of database objects

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Database projects in visual studio 2010

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Database projects in visual studio 2010

Anthony Brown

[email protected]


  • What are they?

  • How they work

  • What else you can do

  • Limitations

What are they for

  • Offline development of database objects

  • Manage database objects in source control

  • Validation at design time, not deploy

  • Allow easy creation of databases in a consistent state

Version comparison

Before database projects

  • Created a change script which was run against all environments

  • Had to maintain change script for each change and run in specific order

  • Had to know state of target server to work out which scripts to run, or create complex scripts

Before database projects

if not exists (select null from sys.tables where name = 'ErrorLog' and schema_id = schema_id('dbo'))


CREATE TABLE [dbo].[ErrorLog] (



[UserName] [sysname] NOT NULL,

[ErrorNumber] INT NOT NULL,

[ErrorSeverity] INT NULL,

[ErrorState] INT NULL,

[ErrorProcedure] NVARCHAR (126) NULL,

[ErrorLine] INT NULL,

[ErrorMessage] NVARCHAR (4000) NOT NULL




if not exists (select null from sys.columns where name = 'newcolumn' and OBJECT_NAME(object_id) = 'ErrorLog')


alter table ErrorLog

add newcolumnint null


With database projects

  • Change script generated at deploy time based on compiled project and state of target database

  • Do not need to know state of target database before deploy

With database projects



  • All database objects are stored in a project

  • All objects are defined fully

  • Server projects for server level objects (logins, endpoints etc)

  • Database projects for database level objects (tables, stored procedures, users etc)

Import schema

  • Can import whole database only into blank project

  • Can import script into existing database project



  • Validates all objects

  • Doesn’t need a database connection

  • Creates compiled dbschema file

Schema compare

  • Gui method of comparing project and target server

  • Not available in professional


  • Used to generate sql file that will make the target database the same as the project

  • Optionally runs the sql file against the target database

  • Can be run from

    • Visual studio

    • Msbuild/team build

    • Vsdbcmd

    • API




  • Managed in an xml file

  • Validated to ensure object and user/role exists in project

  • Might need to define login for user in server project

  • Not very user friendly 

  • Can import from a script


What else they can do

  • References (dbschema, xsd, clr)

  • Static code analysis

  • Database unit tests & data generation (execute only in professional)

  • Refactor (execute only in professional)

  • Extensibility

New in 2010

  • Code snippets

  • Intellisense

  • Integrated debugger

  • Extensibility

Not supported - 1

  • Sql agent jobs

  • Replication

  • Replicated tables schema modification (can workaround by setting VerifyDeployment=false)

  • For replication on stored procedures

Not supported - 2

  • Change data capture (change tracking supported in 2010)

  • Reference data

  • Circular cross database references

Not supported - 3

  • Session/global temporary table

  • With check/with no check on constraints

  • Non sql server linked servers

  • Create resource pool

  • Create workload group

  • Create full text stoplist

  • Reporting services

  • Integration services

  • Analysis services

  • Table – lock escalation

  • Index options – maxdop, drop_existing, sort_in_tempdb

Further reading



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