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A Clash of SSMS Add-Ins

Jordan Sanders
Published: February 8, 2023

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is one of the most proven database administration and management tools. Whether you use SQL Server Management Studio for Database Administrators or just for database development, it’s a proven tool. We want to increase our capabilities, adapting this tool to our specific needs. For this, we use a range of SSMS add-ins and extensions.

We’ll discuss two productivity-focused add-ins that help us achieve more in less time. They’re a great way to extend the functionality of the SSMS. They make it more flexible and enhance our SQL codings with autocompletion, snippets, and refactoring.

These are SSMS Tools Pack and dbForge SQL Complete. Let’s first take a brief overview of both products, then look at features that might interest you. It helps you decide whether SQL Complete is better than SQL Server Management Studio.

The Overview of dbForge SQL Complete

We start with dbForge SQL Complete, available for SSMS and Microsoft Visual Studio. It offers IntelliSense-like context-based code completion, SQL formatting, and smart refactoring with auto-correction of references. This makes coding up to four times faster.

It’s suitable for your own use, but it helps to form and unify SQL standards for corporate teamwork. This tool has a powerful T-SQL debugger, tab coloring, and document outline. SQL Complete has many features, and a clean interface — all of that make your work more convenient. 

Pricing: DBForge SQL Complete is available in three editions: Free Basic (Express), Standard, and Professional. The Express edition is a unique offering that comes completely free of charge. There is no other way to extend the code completion functionality in SSMS for free.

SQL Complete can also be purchased in a package called dbForge SQL Tools, which includes fifteen essential products that cover nearly any aspect of SQL Server development, management, and administration.

The Overview of SSMS Tools Pack

While the second contender, SSMS Tools Pack, doesn’t come close to being as versatile and powerful as the first contender, it does offer quite a bit of functionality. It is a SQL Server Management Studio plugin that was created to boost the user’s productivity. It’s easy to use and delivers a handy SQL editor, CRUD procedure generation, snippets, formatting, convenient search with filtering, and SQL execution history. Like SQL Complete, it also includes features that aren’t essential yet, like tab coloring and the ability to export to Excel spreadsheets.

Pricing: SSMS Tools Pack is a commercial product with licenses available in Small, Large, and Enterprise team packages. A free version is available for one computer for sixty days.

Feature Comparison of dbForge SQL Complete and SSMS Tools Pack

To make this comparison, we used the latest versions of tools — SQL Complete v6.12.8 and SSMS Tools Pack v5.5.2. Read the feature descriptions carefully. Some may be far more critical for your particular goals than others.

Feature

dbForge

SQL Complete

SSMS

Tools Pack

Compatibility

SSMS integration

Yes

Yes

Visual Studio integration

Yes

No

Improved code quality

Find invalid objects

Yes

No

CRUD procedure generation

Yes

Yes

Generation of the CREATE/ALTER script for server objects

Yes

No

Execution Plan Analyzer

No

Yes

Renaming of objects, variables, and aliases

Yes

No

T-SQL Debugger

Yes

No

Run on multiple targets

Yes

Yes

Safe work with document environment and databases

Various options for executing statements

Yes

Yes

Execution warnings

Yes

Yes

Execution notifications

Yes

No

Transaction reminder

Yes

Yes

Run At Status Bar Element

No

Yes

Tab coloring

Yes

Yes

Custom SSMS main window title

Yes

Yes

Execution history of SQL statements

Yes

Yes

Tab management

Yes

Yes

Quick Connect Active SQL Editor Window

No

Yes

Document sessions

Yes

No

Operations with data in the SSMS data grid

Results Grid data visualizers

Yes

No

Copy Data As from the SSMS grid to XML, CSV, HTML, and JSON

Yes

No

Copy Results Grid headers (column names + types)

Yes

No

Export to Excel from the SSMS Results Grid

No

Yes

Grid aggregates

Yes

Yes

Find in Results Grid

Yes

Yes

Generate Script As from the SSMS data grid

Yes

Yes

Increased coding productivity

Context-sensitive suggestion of object names and keywords

Yes

No

Expand SELECT *

Yes

Yes

Object information

Yes

No

Parameter information

Yes

No

SQL snippets

Yes

Yes

New query template

No

Yes

‘Go to definition’ for database objects

Yes

Yes

Highlighted occurrences of identifiers

Yes

No

Named regions

Yes

Yes

Document Outline window

Yes

No

Unified SQL standards

SQL formatting

Yes

Yes

Multiple predefined formatting profiles

Yes

No

Preservation of the original formatting for any selected piece of code

Yes

No

Command-line interface

Yes

No

Settings

Import/Export Settings Wizard

Yes

Yes

Quick search for options

Yes

No

Releases

Initial release

v1.0 (November 19, 2010)

v1.0 (May 1, 2008)

Latest release (as of September 2021)

v6.12 (September 12, 2022)

v5.5 (July 1, 2020)

Total quantity of releases

133

41

The Verdict of Comparison of dbForge SQL Complete and SSMS Tools Pack

We saw that dbForge SQL Complete has more features than SSMS Tools Pack. It offers more to improve productivity, provides a much wider range of data operations, has noticeably more advanced formatting, and supports a command line interface. You should also be aware that SQL Complete is updated more frequently.

If you’re looking for an SSMS Tools Pack alternative, then SQL Complete is the best solution for you. It’s compatible with both Microsoft Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to see how effective it is. 

Source: dzone.com