Dec 182018

Azure Data StudioAzure Data Studio (formerly Microsoft SQL Operations Studio) is Microsoft’s new “cross-platform, lightweight tool for modern database development and operations.” It is not a replacement for SQL Server Management Studio (not yet anyway), but I can see it becoming one over time. It is under constant development and improvement, and if you tried it back when it was first released and didn’t like it, I urge you to give it another spin. I find myself using it more and more because I really like the feel of it.

One thing about Azure Data Studio I’m not too keen about, though, is that many of the keyboard shortcuts are different. One keyboard shortcut that’s particularly helpful to me is using Ctrl + E to execute queries. I realize that F5 is the most common key to execute a query, however on most laptop keyboards you now need to hold an additional key to make the function keys behave like function keys. For this reason, Ctrl + E is a wonderful and quick alternative, but it doesn’t work in Azure Data Studio. Or didn’t, until now.

Fortunately, Azure Data Studio is designed to be expanded upon with extensions from both Microsoft and the community. In the case of keyboard shortcuts, a particularly helpful one is called SSMS Keymap, which ports many popular SSMS keyboard shortcuts into Azure Data Studio. With this extension,  Ctrl + E is once again an option, and I no longer have to click “Execute” with a mouse, or fumble to find my laptop’s F5 equivalent.

If this sounds appealing, try installing the SSMS Keymap extension yourself. Here’s how:

At the toolbar on the left, click the “Extensions” icon, or type Ctrl + Shift + X. This will open the Extensions view.

In the Extensions search box, start typing “SSMS Keymap”. The SSMS Keymap extension should appear in the results.


Clicking on the SSMS Keymap result will bring up a screen with more information about the extension. Clicking the green “Install” button will redirect you to the SSMS Keymap GitHub page, where the actual .vsix installer file can be downloaded. Download it.

At the top of the Extensions view is an ellipsis. Click it, and then choose Install from VSIX. Select the .vsix file you downloaded.

Azure Data Studio will prompt you to restart.

Congratulations, you did it! Now you can enjoy the SSMS keyboard shortcuts you love in Azure Data Studio!


Dec 062018

Another PASS Summit has come and gone, and as always I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to attend and speak! Thank you to everyone who attended my sessions, and an extra-special thank you to those of you who took the time to fill out session evaluations. Speakers are always looking to improve their craft, and the best way to do so is with candid feedback from attendees. Your constructive comments and criticism really do matter!

Now that the session evaluations have been returned, I wanted to share the comments I received.

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Nov 292018

I was going through some papers the other day and came across my undergraduate transcript, something I haven’t laid eyes on in probably a decade. Reading through it was a humbling trip down memory lane. In the 12 years since I’ve graduated, I clearly remember (more like mis-remember) doing better in some courses than I actually did. Also, I have no excuse for my sub-par performance in some classes. But I have no regrets, as this is absolutely a part of what brought me to where I am today. Want to see what I mean? Read below and I’ll take you through my transcript.

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Nov 282018

I’m very happy to be travelling to the Boston area in a few weeks! I will be speaking at the New England SQL User Group, which meets in Burlington, Massachusetts, on Wednesday December 12, 2018.

I will be delivering my session Locks, Blocks, and Snapshots: Maximizing Database Concurrency. This takes a look at SQL Server’s available isolation levels, what they are, how they differ, and why the default setting of “read committed” may not be appropriate for your workload. I’ll also have some demonstrations that show how different isolation levels can determine not only the performance, but also the result set returned by a query. And on top of that, I’m going to make it all entertaining as well!

I’m really looking forward to this presentation (and also to grabbing some great chowder while in town!) and I hope you can join us on Wednesday, December 12. You can register and find further details here!

Nov 272018

With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to remember that it is always better to give than to receive. This year, the Azure Cosmos DB team is doing just that, and giving us a ton – in the form of the Cosmos DB 30 day trial. But this isn’t just a single 30 day trial, it’s renewable unlimited times!

Now you can create a Cosmos DB container and make use of any Azure Cosmos DB features you like (including geo-replication to up to 3 regions) for 30 days for free. Once the trial ends, your database will be deleted, however you can immediately create another trial, re-load your data, and get back to experimenting and learning Cosmos DB!

Azure Cosmos DB has long offered the desktop emulator, which is great for getting familiar with the APIs and doing basic development, but there comes a point where the real cloud-based product is necessary to continue learning. And now you don’t even need to pull out your credit card to get access to the Cosmos DB service!

In short, the emulator is a great way to start, but if you’d like to get a feel for Cosmos DB in the cloud, make use of the 30 day trial. And if you need more than 30 days, sign up for it over and over again! For detailed instructions on how to sign up for the 30 day trial, see the announcement blog post.