SQL Server's Data Description Language (DDL) allows you to write scripts that define data and data relationships in a database. It's used to load data into a database rather than create the database itself. So, if you're testing SQL Server, DDL scripts will quickly repopulate a database with test data or other needed objects; if you're trying to solve a problem in collaboration with others, DDL scripts can help replicate the exact conditions for testing on their own computer.
One problem with DDL scripts, however -- and with SQL Server in general -- is the lack of integration with any kind of source code control mechanism. Conscientious programmers use source code control systems, such as Microsoft's own Visual SourceSafe, to track and manage the different iterations of a given program's code. A database programmer working with test data and data structures would be inclined to do the same thing, but the mechanisms usually aren't there to support it.
DDL Archive Utility is a freeware utility that lets a database programmer create SQL Server 2000 DDL scripts that can be imported into a Microsoft Visual SourceSafe repository. DDL scripts produced through DDLAL are exactly the same each time they're generated; other tools that generate DDL scripts will create "phantom differences" each time they're run, which breaks compatibility with SourceSafe. DDLAL lets you also specify which database objects and data sets to script, so you don't have to waste time scripting objects you don't need. The program can also be scheduled (via Task Scheduler or another mechanism) to make repository backups of database objects on a regular basis.
The only database objects needed by the program itself are a set of tables and stored procedures installed by the application via the instArchUtil.sql script included with the program. These structures should not be modified by the end user, of course.
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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