Attended the OPASS meeting on Tuesday night. The featured speaker was Jim Blizzard from Microsoft. He presented Visual Studio 2008 Database Edition and Team System w/ Team Foundation Server. It was a good presentation and there is a lot of cool stuff in Database Edition and Team Foundation Server. Source control, version control, and release control have always been issues with database development, at least in SQL Server, and these products certainly help with that. The most intriguing parts to me were data generation and refactoring. Having a tool to generate consistent test data is neat so you can better test your changes is really nice. Refactoring is just as nice, change a column name and have the change propagate to all the places that column is referenced (sp's, views, constaints, keys) is very nice. Of course, for someone like myself, who works in a small shop, a lot of the Team Foundation Server features are overkill and the money to spend on it fairly significant. I'd really like to see Microsoft include the features in the Database Edition in Visual Studio Professional. There are a lot of guys like me who have to do it all and having the ability to have a database project would be nice. The other issue is, why didn't this functionality get in to SSMS, and/or is it in SSMS 2008?
Overall it was a good meeting (KForce also had some time) with a turnout of about 30 people. User groups are a good place to network, learn something, and just have a good time. Take the opportunity to check one out in your area. If you are in the Orlando area here's where you can find out more about OPASS. You can also find out about a SQL Server group in your area at the Professional Association for Sql Server web site.