The tool described here is free only for a 30-day evaluation.
Experts typically use Query Analyzer or a dedicated development product to do work in SQL Server, but they must contend with Query Analyzer's many little limitations as a result.
For instance, QA's interface is not interactive: If you try to build a SQL statement that refers to a particular table, the program doesn't prompt you with information about existing columns in the table. But there is one tool that can help make your programming simpler.
The program's auto-complete functionality is contextual, based on what you're typing at that moment. For instance, if you're logged into a given database in QA and you type EXEC, PromptSQL prompts you with a list of stored procedures for that database, which you can then narrow down by typing further. Likewise, if you're composing a SELECT statement, the program can prompt you for the names of columns, tables, databases and even suggest JOINs. Note that JOIN functionality only works if you have table relationships explicitly defined in your database. Also, if you have more than one FROM in the current SQL statement, only the first FROM is considered for any kind of processing.
This functionality also extends to other objects. If you have a stored procedure with variables, typing the @ character will produce a list of all variables for the current stored procedure. Ditto for temporary tables: If you type #, a list of temporary tables for the currently-used database comes up. Typing @@ brings up a list of SQL Server objects, such as @@ERROR or @@CONNECTIONS.
There are other features to make programming simpler. When you point to the name of a table in one of the program's selection lists, a tooltip pops up with a description of all the table's objects and their defaults.
The program can be downloaded and evaluated free for 30 days. A single seat license is $25; volume discounts are available, too.
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!
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This was first published in November 2005