For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past decade, Toad is one of the most popular database administration and development tools for the Oracle RDBMS. It just so happens that Toad is also available for Microsoft’s SQL Server platform.
This blog serves as a quick introduction to Toad for SQL Server for those who may have just heard about it. It seems that many folks find Toad extremely powerful for SQL Server development and administration, as it was just named for the second consecutive year, ‘Best of TechEd‘ in the ‘Database Development’ category by Windows IT Pro® and SQL Server Magazine®.
In the summary for the award announcement, Toad was described as the ‘Swiss Army knife’ for database tools, and had it’s features for Intellisense, Group Execute, SQL Tuning, and Compares singled out as reasons for the award.
I want to spend a few minutes going over these features in detail. If you like what you see, then you can try out the tool for yourself by downloading a 30 day trial from Quest.com.
The Swiss Army Knife of Database Tools
It’s hard to detail everything Toad does, so we often use this comparison. With Toad you get an extremely powerful editor and object browser. These main ‘blades’ are supplemented with a dozen or more utilities to help the SQL Server professional get the job done. Let’s look at a few in detail.
The easiest way to describe this feature is probably to show it. But to put it into words, it can be described as technology in the editor that attempts to automatically complete your keystrokes.
Here’s the most basic use of the tool. Start typing and let Toad pop-up a list of objects or calls that might satisfy your query/script.
In this case I had AdventureWorks set as my current database and asked for a list of tables that belonged to the ‘Person’ schema. I can now click into that object. I could also start typing and use the CTRL+Period keystroke to have Toad auto-complete the object if possible.
Here’s another example:
Let’s say I want to make a call to a SQL command, i can mouse-right-click and ‘Snippet – Insert a Snippet.’ Once you get to your call, you can then use SHIFT+F1 on the command to bring up the documentation for that snippet.
Once you’ve finished your masterpiece query or script, you can now execute that in Toad with F5. Or, you could execute that set of code against multiple databases.
I think it goes without saying that this feature is both powerful and dangerous – as are most of our favorite technologies. You do get a ‘Are you sure’ prompt before any of your scripts are executed against multiple servers.
More to come
I’d rather keep this in blog format than do an entire tech brief on Toad, so we’ll stop here and pick this discussion back up later in Part 2.