I’ve recently been introduced to a fantastic free tool from Red Gate, who provide several software packages for use with SQL Server. I’ve used their SQL Compare tool for a few years now and it’s been great, but only gets used on an occasional basis.
SQL Search, however, has become my best friend! It’s an add-in that integrates into SQL Server Management Studio and allows you to search for specific text across all your database objects. Once it’s indexed the database, it’s incredibly quick, in fact instantaneous (I’m working at the moment on a database with around 1000 tables and 3000 stored procedures).
One of the first things I do when I start working on a new database is script out all the stored procedures and triggers and save the result so that I can find where particular tables or columns are used. With SQL Search, I no longer need to do this and don’t have the disadvantage of the scripted objects going out of date.
SQL Search has almost become my starting point for my use of SQL Server. If I want to view or modify a particular stored procedure, it’s easier to type part of the name into SQL Search than it is to search for it in object explorer. If I’m just wanting to view it, it’s instantly available in the preview pane as soon as I click it in the search results. If I want to go further, the very useful “Select Object in Explorer” link is available.
There are a couple of improvements I’d like to see. Firstly, at the moment, if two words are entered it returns results containing either of the words. This isn’t the default behaviour I would have chosen, it makes more sense to me that the results should contain both the words. Changing this or allowing a boolean search would be a definite advantage.
Secondly, it would be nice to see the code in the preview pane coloured coded in the same way as in Management Studio rather than being presented in plain text.
Overall though, a fantastic product and best of all, it’s free (for now at least!).