Getting DataDude, or What Do I Install Next?

Monday is at ZoDD. Monday’s we’ll be discussing some subject that relates directly to Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals (aka DBPro) – a feature or a new Power Tool or a new piece of available functionality.

Today I’m going to start off by addressing something that I get a lot of questions about – namely, where does DBPro fit into the overall installation scheme of Visual Studio, and what is the correct sequence of events to get the whole thing installed properly.

First off, it is important to understand that DBPro is a part of the Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) suite. This is distinct from Visual Studio Professional, which is oriented towards the individual developer. Team System is an integrated set of Visual Studio products focused on the ALC (Application Life Cycle), and DBPro contributes the database support portion of that integration. So a bit of the functionality that makes DBPro powerful is actually derived from features already in the larger Team System suite of which it is a part. That isn’t to say that you can’t use DBPro on top of Visual Studio Professional – but you do lose some of the integration features. DBPro on top of VSPro will be a subject of an upcoming post.

Anyway, DBPro released its first version in December of 2006, and this drop was out-of-band from the rest of Visual Studio Team Suite. As a result, the Version 1 bits were made available as an add-on to the existing VSTS installation. So, to get the whole shebang, you need to first have VSTS, and then install DBPro on top of that installation. The DBPro Version 1 bits can be found here. If you want to just try this stuff out, then you can download a trial version of VSTS (which you can find here), install it, and then download and install the standard DBPro installation described above on top of that. In this case, when the VSTS trial expires after 180 days, the DBPro bits will go with it.

So that gets you the initial installation. However, since December, the DataDude team has made a bunch of improvements to the original functionality, and on July 23rd, we released our first service release. This release came out as a patch to DBPro version 1, which means that you must first have the standard drop described above already installed. But before you can install the new patch, you must first be sure that you have the first Service Pack for VSTS installed, which can be found here. Note that if you are installing on top of the VSTS trial download, you must make sure you add this Service Pack, as the trial does not come with the pack pre-installed.

Once you have VSTS SP1 installed, you can add the DBPro Service Release 1 to your installation. DBPro SR1 can be found here.

There’s one more, optional, step. The DataDude team has a commitment to bringing a stream of continuous updates your way, and part of how we accomplish this is through a series of Power Tools. Power Tools are add-in features to DBPro which may be installed selectively, and are not required for core DBPro functionality. We make these tools available as previews to upcoming features, or as a way of testing the waters for the usefulness of potential DBPro enhancements, or just to provide useful new features without having to wait for the rigors of official release management. Note that these Power Tools are not covered by the normal support channels, so if you have problems or issues with them, you need to bring them up in our Forums. We just had our first official Power Tools drop last week, and they can be installed from here. I’ll cover some of the Power Tool functionality in upcoming posts, and you can read about them on Gert Draper’s Blog.

It’s worth noting that DBPro requires a local instance of SQL Server 2005 running to use as our validation database. We’ll run on top of SQL Express, so if you install VSTS, the default instance should be fine. If you have a local instance of SQL 2005 Developer Edition, we recommend you use that.

So, in summary, to get the full range of DBPro, here’s the sequence of events:

· Visual Studio Team System full installation (link to trial)

· Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals, version 1 (link)

· Visual Studio Team System, Service Pack 1 (link)

· Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals, Service Release 1 (link)

· Visual Studio Team System for Database Professionals, Power Tools Release 1 (link ,optional)

And finally, as a side note, when Visual Studio Team System 2008, code-named Orcas, ships, DBPro will be finally integrated into the main VSTS installation package, and you won’t have to manually add us to the installation any more.

Hope this clarifies some of the questions I’ve heard. Next week, I’ll talk about what DBPro looks like when you drop it on top of a Visual Studio Professional installation. Until then!