According to Microsoft's own documentation, ADS (that's Azure Data Studio) is "a cross-platform database tool for data professionals using the Microsoft family of on-premises and cloud data platforms on Windows, MacOS, and Linux." To be blunt, it is the replacement for SQL Server Management Studio. There, I said it. And I'm not taking it back.

What? Surely Microsoft can't replace SSMS! Yes. They can, and they will. Just not quite yet.

You see, SSMS still has a long life ahead of it. Microsoft had fifteen years to pile more and more features into a product that was, itself, a welcome replacement to the old Query Analyzer tool. Anybody remember that dinosaur? Anyway, unless you're looking for an easy-to-set dark theme for your interface, there's not much that SSMS can't do (yeah, I went there).

Except, that's not all. For everything SSMS can do, there's something that ADS can't do. Yes, Ken Van Hyning and his crew are diligently pumping out new features every month, but they still have a long hill to climb. For instance, look at ADS's graphical query plan. Yes, it exists, but it pales in comparison to the one in SSMS, which should be jealous of SentryOne's Plan Explorer, but I digress.

Yet, I'm using ADS. A lot. Why? Well, as much as I like the cross-platform nature of it, that's not the reason. Yeah, I do run one Linux machine from time to time (a shout out to the people behind my favorite distro, Lubuntu), which ADS runs great on, but the fact that Microsoft's description points out that it's a cross-platform, twice in the same sentence, is not a big point for me.

The big selling point for me is that ADS is developer-friendly. Of course it is - they forked VSCode to create it! But it's true! It's fast and light. It's insanely configurable. It has git integration baked in. You can even set a dark theme in just three clicks! (cue the applause)

It's also extensible! Like, actually, out-of-the-box extensible. Not SSMS extensible, where every not-quite-legit extension (because there is no such thing) is tracked by a line on a spreadsheet in Ken's OneDrive (not lying - just ask him).

So, yeah, I use it. For my PowerShell scripting as well as my T-SQL work, and any JSON files I might be fiddling with. I even use it for poking around C# files now and then, although my particular environment pretty much locks me in to Visual Studio for substantive changes there.

Still, as I said, there are a lot of things it can't do yet. If you're a developer like me, you won't really care. You'll be happy to be using the VSCode environment, in all its Electron-y, Monaco-y goodness, with the SQL Server integration built in (and not bolted on like the mssql VSCode extension).

If you're not primarily a developer, you may still find yourself gravitating toward it for various reasons. Although I suspect that most DBAs who use SSMS on a daily basis will continue happily using SSMS for a long time yet - and that makes sense. It's still the standard and will be for a while.

ADS continues to improve. Though sooner or later, it will get over whatever hurdle is holding each of you back. And, hey, when you do make the jump, you'll get that easy-to-set dark theme too! In the meantime, you can keep tabs on their progress here, here, and here.

Godspeed!

J