Building Data-tier Application Projects
To create and manage databases using the latest version of Data Tier Applications (DACPAC), install the most recent release of SQL Server Data Tools from Get Started with Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools.
Building a data-tier application (DAC) project produces a DAC package (.dacpac) file. The DAC package is an XML file that contains the definitions of all the objects included in the DAC. The DAC package can be deployed to an instance of SQL Server 2008 R2 by using the Deploy Data-tier Application Wizard in SQL Server Management Studio.
Building a DAC Package
The DAC package output by the build process is a single file that contains all of the information required to deploy the DAC to SQL Azure or an instance of the SQL Server 2008 R2 Database Engine. In addition to the definitions of the objects contained in the DAC, the DAC package also includes elements such as a server selection policy or pre- or post-deployment scripts. The DAC package therefore forms a single unit for deploying the DAC, much the same way an executable file forms a single unit of deployment for an application. Database developers and database administrators no longer have to coordinate the handoff of multiple scripts.
Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP!) includes a new DAC Framework 1.1 that changes the DAC upgrade from a side-by-side to an in-place upgrade, and also change the format of the DAC package files. While DAC Framework 1.1 supports packages created using the earlier DAC Framework 1.0, clients still running DAC Framework 1.0 cannot process DAC packages created by using DAC Framework 1.1. SQL Server 2008 R2 customers can upgrade to DAC Framework 1.1 by using the DAC Framework 1.1 Feature Pack download.
For more information about a definition of the DAC package file schema, see Microsoft SQL Server File Format Documents.
The build process can be tailored by configuring build settings and build events in the DAC project property settings. For example, you can define the path and file name of the DAC package file produced by the build. For more information about project settings, see How to: Create a Data-tier Application Project.
For more information about the steps to build a DAC project, see How to: Build Data-tier Application Projects.