Anyone who does database development has had to deal with common nightmares.
One of these is keeping the production server and the development server in
synch. It seems like every time I've been involved in a big database project,
people are sneaking in "we'll just make this change on the production server
and duplicate it on the dev server later" or vice versa.
Anyhow, comparing SQL Server databases by hand is not precisely my idea of
fun. That's where Red Gate Software's SQL Compare comes in.
It's a simple utility to use. Select two databases, tell it which objects you
want to compare, and let it rip. SQL Compare generates SQL Scripts for all objects
of interest, and then looks for differences. You can tell which objects are
different in the two databases, as well as which ones are in one but not the
other. It's easy to drill in and look at the differences in the SQL as well.
You can also tell SQL Compare what to count as a difference. For example, if
you're not worried about column order in tables, you can tell it not to consider
different column orders as a difference. This sort of thing makes it superior
to generating your own scripts and running them through a diff tool -- and SQL
Compare is easier to use anyhow.
You can download a 2-week trial for free from the company's Web site.
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.