Documenting your database with Visual Studio 2012 SSDT tools

Posted by Kris Lankford - November 16, 2012


The title of this post is interesting and something I am wishing you and your colleagues had a better way to do. I understand as I am asked this question frequently. I couple of weeks ago I was asked the same question by a customer who documents their database using the ApexSQL Doc tools which uses the extended properties on objects to create automated documentation. I thought that was super interesting and went down the path to see how we could could support the creation of this documentation while leveraging the Visual Studio 2012 SSDT Tools.

What I found is was rather intriguing. There is a property called “Description” on all objects in the SSDT tools. This property is rather subtle and I am betting overlooked. To be honest, this property has probably been there for a while and I just never discovered it. Adding text to this '”Description” property it allows Visual Studio to create the commands for the extended properties directly to your schema which should be version controlled. As I did more digging there seemed to be extended properties at every level in the SQL database objects.

This fills some rather challenging gaps and allows organizations to manage SQL Schema using the Visual Studio SQL database tools while allowing a way to automatically document the database. This will also work in the automation of the creation and alter scripts that can be generated as part f an automated build system. Now we essentially get a way to store, build and document the database in a nice little ALM package.

Happy Coding!


Topics: Blog

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