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Microsoft code name “Quadrant” is a graphical tool for easily viewing, editing, and exploring data found in any SQL Server database. The following summarizes “Quadrant’s” core capabilities:
Create a database from scratch using the “M” modeling language.
Pervasive ad hoc query using the “M” query language.
Relationship-driven navigation & browsing using a variety of built-in viewers.
Connect to any SQL Server database or work with a Modeling Services database.
Unique editing model with conflict resolution.
Multiple dynamic data viewers that can be customized and configured.
In this release, “Quadrant” is optimized for developers who work with SQL Server databases. Users can create a new database using the “M” language or connect to an arbitrary number of SQL Server databases and open multiple windows (called workpads) to view and edit data in what is called a session. This is accomplished without typing a query. In every workpad, the data is displayed in one of a number of standard viewers. The query for the data displayed in each workpad is shown in the query bar at the top of each workpad. Data can be viewed in a variety of viewers: as a simple list, a set of properties, a table, a diagram, or as a tree of expandable nodes. You can change the viewer of any workpad. This allows you to either see different data or to see the data in a new way. For example, a list view gives you the most basic information, but a table view of the same data reveals properties of any single item. A tree view of the same data shows hierarchical relationships between the original list and the properties of any single item.
The following figure shows data in various viewers. The Repository workpad shows a tree viewer with an expanded node. The People workpad shows a table with rows and columns of data. The workpad labeled Kim displays data for a single person in a property viewer. The Processes workpad shows a master/detail viewer with a single item selected in the left panel, and its corresponding data in the right panel. The Onboard Employee shows a diagram viewer where each step in a process appears as a graphic element. The other workpad labeled Onboard Employee shows the properties of a single step.
For more information about using the interface, see "Quadrant" Interface Tour.
Editing and Querying Data
“Quadrant” is easy to use, and it allows you to begin browsing through any database without typing a query. Just double-click an icon that represents a table to see that data in its own workpads. If an item is editable and you have editing permission, you can directly change the data from within the workpad. When an editing conflict arises, “Quadrant” will indicate this with an exclamation mark next to the record. Click the Changes label in the lower right of the window to review the change list before deciding whether to commit your change to the database, in case somebody else has edited the record in the meantime. To commit a change, press CTRL+S on the keyboard.
You can also edit data by dragging an icon onto a field. For example, the sample data contains a collection of computers and a collection of people. Each person can own zero or more computers. To assign ownership to a person, drag a record of a computer over the "Computers" field for a person.
For more information about the editing features of “Quadrant”, see Editing Data in "Quadrant"
When exploring data, no typing is required to trace the relationships between tables; instead you can expand nodes in a tree, and then double-click items to explore them in a separate workpad. If a record is related to more data, the related data appears in the References section of the workpad. For more information about connecting to databases, see How to: Connect to a SQL Server Database with "Quadrant".
You are not limited to using “Quadrant” as a purely graphical tool. “Quadrant” uses the Microsoft code name “M” language to express changes to data and to the interface. That is, the “M” language is an underlying component used by the “Quadrant” infrastructure. You can also find specific data by using an “M” query. For example, the following query finds a specific person with the last name "Lamb."
Microsoft.Samples.Organization.People where value.LastName == "Lamb"
You can also open a blank workpad. On the File menu, click the New menu command, then click Workpad. A blank workpad will appear where you can type a new query.
For more information about queries, see How to: Use Queries in "Quadrant".
Customizing the Viewing Experience
In SQL Server terminology, a view is a virtual table. The columns of the table can come from other related tables. In “Quadrant” a view is simply what you see in a workpad. However, a “Quadrant” workpad is composed of one of the seven viewers. The seven viewers are:
Tree Master/Detail Viewer
For more information about the viewers, see "Quadrant" User Interface Reference.
You can combine viewers to form composite views. For example, a tree viewer can display the "master" in a master/detail view, and a table viewer can be used for the "detail" view. The following figure shows an example of the master/detail viewer.
With “Quadrant” you can switch the view for data in a workpad to use other viewers. You can also configure view settings, such as the columns shown in a table view, and save the configured view to reuse later.
For more information about viewers, see How to: Use Viewers in "Quadrant" and Customizing the "Quadrant" Data Viewing Experience.
Running Transact-SQL Statements
If you are familiar with Transact-SQL, you can write queries from within the “Quadrant” environment. Simply open the Transact-SQL window and type your queries and statements.
For more information, see How to: Use the T-SQL Console to Explore and Edit Data.
“Quadrant” is a modeled application, and saves its own configuration data in the “Quadrant” Modeling Services database. The exact name of the database can be found on the Help menu by clicking Quadrant Repository Connection. As you configure viewers, the changes to the data are dynamically expressed using “M” and stored in the configuration tables. As a result, you can always see the “M” for a workpad by right-clicking the workpad and clicking View Source. If you are familiar with “M” you can edit the code to change the configuration. When you have made changes to the model, you can save them and deploy them into the “Quadrant” Modeling Services database by right-clicking the “M” model editor and clicking Deploy. You can open a configuration file generated by “Quadrant” and deploy the data to reconstruct a configuration. For more information, see Customizing the "Quadrant" Data Viewing Experience.