Toad is an Integrated Development Environment for SQL Server, also known as an IDE (wiki).
Never heard of Toad before? Toad is famous in the Oracle world, but it probably more like the best-kept-secret in the SQL domain. Most folks find it because they are looking for ‘Toad’ that will help them with SQL Server.
That’s OK, but I want to make sure you know that Toad is great for any person who wants to develop better T-SQL code and do so more efficiently. A good IDE does not get in the way of the developer’s fingers. It offers help, but only when you ask for it. You should be able to work the way YOU WANT to, and not have to learn how to code in a brand new style.
Is Toad for SQL Server perfect in these aspects? In a word, ‘No.’
But, we are improving the tool with each and every release. Version 5.5 is currently in Beta. I want to invite all of our Toad for SQL Server users now to participate in the Beta Program today. You get to use the next version of Toad while it is being actively developed. This is not a preview version that is a step away from being released. This software is straight from the developer’s copy of Visual Studio.
A passionate Toad user and advocate shared some ideas on how to make Toad just a little bit better. After our call, I fired up the beta and started to dictate my email to the beta program manager when, lo and behold – one of his ideas was already implemented in the program! Less work for me is always good, but being able to deliver to the user and market so quickly is one of the things that has endeared me to Toad (to the point that I have the word ‘Toad’ in my Twitter handle.)
Suggestion: When Selecting Columns in Code Insight Popups, Honor Order of Selection.
As a common reference point, let’s investigate how this currently works in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), version 2008 R2.
If you type your query ‘SELECT …’, SSMS will pop up a list of columns to choose from. Unfortunately SSMS will only allow you to pick one column at a time. You type, click, type, click, …, N until you get all the all columns you need.
You can do the same thing in Toad, or you can choose all of the columns you want in a single iteration.
Unfortunately, Toad currently also sorts those columns in alphabetical order.
Version 5.5 solves that problem by now honoring the order in which you click the column in the picker.
I definitely want ‘Gender’, and…Oh wait, that’s neat, Toad also shows me the data types of all the columns…
their ‘ContactID’, and…
how many ‘VacationHours’ they have accrued. Hmm, that’s good!
Ok, Toad has written my query, and my column order is intact! ‘F5′ and boo-yah, there’s my data.
Alright, my query is written, tested, and ready for my application. One button-click, and I can suck it into Visual Studio.
What did we really achieve here?
Well, I know we made at least one person happy. But, more importantly we made a very simple change that will have a huge impact on the productivity of our users. Instead of copy and pasting columns around a SELECT list, users can now just do what they want to do and get what they want to get.
Do you have an idea that you want to share? Join the Beta and plug away!