SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT)

You may or may not already have heard about it, but the next version of our favorite database, SQL Server 2012, ships with a client tool called SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT).  Just like the BIDS was actually Visual Studio 2008 (or 2005 if you’re long enough in the business) with BI-related project templates, SSDT is Visual Studio 2010.  But that’s not all: it contains additional functionality!  Do you remember the database projects you could create using the “data dude”, or officially known as Visual Studio 2008 with the GDR2 add-on?  Well, this is version-next of the data dude.

Let’s find out how such a database project can be created!

Getting Started With SSDT

Obviously the first step is installing SQL Server 2012 and making sure to select SQL Server Data Tools in the Feature Selection page:

SQL Server 2012 Feature Selection with the SQL Server Data Tools checked

With that up and running, launch the SQL Server Data Tools from the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 folder in the Start menu and go to File > New Project.

New Project - SQL Server Data Tools

One of the template categories is called SQL Server.  Under that you’ll find a template called SQL Server Data Tools – Database Projects (Web Install).

Erm, hang on, what do you mean, “web install”?  Does that mean it’s not installed yet?  The description on the right also gives some clue to what’s going on: “provides instructions for installing SQL Server Data Tools – Database Projects from the web”.  Okay, let’s get on with it then!

Click the OK button to proceed to the installer.

Installing the SSDT Database Projects template

SQL Server Data Tools - Database Projects (Web Install)

I think the message in that window above is a bit misleading.  It says that “Database Projects” is required, but isn’t that what we’re going to install now?  Sounds like chicken and egg to me!  Let’s just ignore the message then and click the Install button.

Data Developer Center - Download SQL Server Data Tools

We’re now presented with a web page in Internet Explorer.  In this Data Developer Center, click the blue Download SQL Server Data Tools link.

Next, when presented with the following pop-up, click Allow:

Do you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer? Yes we do!

The next window is the Web Platform Installer 3.0 that wants to install the Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools.  Click the Install button to get to the next step.

Web Platform Installer 3.0 - 1 items to be installed

As usual with any installer from Microsoft, we need to accept the license terms so click the Accept button.

Web Platform Installation - Accept License Terms

Finally, the installation begins!

Web Platform Installation - Progress Bar

To keep us busy, we’re presented with another pop-up with a progress bar:


Woah!  Is this thing installing SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB like it says in the message?  I didn’t ask for that!  MS people, as I already have a version 2012 DB engine running on my machine, please make this optional…

Just a little later we’re presented with this:

Web Platform Installation - Congratulations!

Clicking the Finish button gives us yet one more pop-up:

Web Platform Installer 3.0 - Spotlight

The Web Platform Installer presents us with a list of applications we can install, including Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools.  Oh my, I thought we just finished installing it?  Let’s not be silly and click the Exit button

To conclude, we need to restart Visual Studio 2010, or aka SSDT.

Really Getting Started With SSDT

With everything up and running smoothly this time, open SSDT once more and in File > New Project you’ll now find the SQL Server Database Project under the SQL Server collection:

New Project - SQL Server Database Project

If you also have Visual Studio 2010 installed in Premium or Ultimate edition, you should take care to open up the correct SQL Server template collection.  The reason for that is because the data dude projects are included in those versions of Visual Studio, as shown in the screenshot below:

The SQL Server templates in Visual Studio 2010

So the templates under Database > SQL Server are not what you’re looking for!

That’s it for now, I’ll demonstrate my favorite SSDT feature in an upcoming post!

Have fun!



SSDT Main page on Data Developer Center

SQL Server Data Tools Team Blog


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  1. IL’s avatar

    Compiled from “SSDT – Installation confusion” by James Serra
    SSDT-BIDS is a Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) replacement, meaning it has a suite of Visual Studio 2010 add-in tools for building Integration Services (SSIS), Analysis Services (SSAS) & Reporting Services (SSRS) solutions.
    SSDT-DB – add-in tools for building SQL Server database solutions/projects (let’s call that suite SSDT-DB), a replacement for Visual Studio Database Developer edition (aka “Data Dude”).
    SQL Server 2012 Setup installs SSDT-BIDS: Visual Studio 2010 Integrated Shell, applies SP1, but does NOT install SSDT-DB.
    SSDT installs the Visual Studio 2010 Integrated Shell, applies SP1, installs SSDT-DB, but does NOT install SSDT-BIDS.
    Note that when SSDT-BIDS is installed, it also installs the menu item “SQL Server Data Tools” under the “SQL Server 2012″ Start Menu option. When SSDT-DB is installed, it also installs the menu item “Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools” under the root of the Start Menu. Both of these menu items point to the same executable.


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