I started getting frustrated with SSMS and its wonky IntelliSense/Server connections, so I started searching for alternatives to it. There were other sql editors to choose from, but I ended up ranking this one the best of the group. I’ll list what features I liked the most below.
Starting with opening up dbForge Studio for Sql Server (I’ll call it DBFS from now on), you are presented with an intuitive interface that has recently accessed files and a tabbed gui menu near the top of the start page that will help you to get to what you need to work on immediately.
As soon as you start typing a new query you will notice that the code completion works on sql keywords as well tables and columns. I found that most of the time the “suggestions” were exactly what I was looking for and near the top of the list. There are even checkboxes that you can click instead of manually typing out the columns needed if there are many. It also offer suggested columns to join if you are attempting to do that. DBFS also highlights query blocks which makes it easier to see where a query starts and ends.
Instead of creating queries manually, there is an option to use the graphical query builder. This feature allows you to build a query graphically by dragging tables onto it and performing joins, where conditions, group by, having, and order by with the gui, which may be helpful to newbies or for creating complex queries.
The output windows has additional functionality being able to sort columns by clicking on their name, filtering by a condition to show only those rows within the output results, show only certain columns, generate scripts from the results, export data, and even modify the table data right within the cell without having to write t-sql.
The export data feature is especially good as it allows you to export to every major file type (XML, JSON, CSV, Excel, HTML, PDF and more) right out of the box. You can also change what column to export along with changing the format of the data such as specific date time, float, and currency requirements. You can also specify what rows to export such as 5 to 50.
The output window will also show what data type the column is using (E.g. the DepartmentID is a smallint) which is handy when you are trying to work with it in a query and you don’t need to look it up in the Object Explorer.
Another feature I found very helpful was the ability to format the sql document. It moves around your code and code blocks to standardize things such as tabs, spaces, indents, case, and overall structure. I know as I start coding my queries can get kinda messy, but this feature solves that and makes the code look professional and uniform across the document. You can even setup a custom profile if your org has a different, but standard in-house of wanting it to look.
Perhaps the icing on the cake is the fact that DBFS has a dark theme. I don’t know why SSMS dosnt have this yet as users have been asking for it for years, but it is here and it is great. The dark theme allows your eyes to focus on the code you are writing (or debugging) rather than the background and saves you from having eye strain and a headache from the glaring white of the background.
All in all I could probably make this review go on forever with all the additional and improved features that this product offers, but it would be easier for you to just visit the dbForge website to see a complete list.
TLDR: This is a much better SQL editor that SSMS and I would recommend it to anyone who has to write T-SQL daily and is looking for a better tool.