Wednesday, April 16, 2014

FREE or Open Source or Inexpensive options to compare data (in tables) in SQL Server


Visual Studio 2012 (an some earlier editions) include Schema comparison for SQL Server. This is NOT what I am writing about here today. Assuming you have used this tool to make tables, etc the same you may have a need like I do when moving data from dev to production databases or the reverse. There are several ways to go about this.

FREE - SQL Server Data Tools 

Probably the best place to start is SQL Server Data Tools which is available from Microsoft. It includes among other things the ability to compare data in SQL Server tables.It is available for Visual Studio 2010 and newer. There was an option in some editions of Visual Studio 2010, but not in Visual Studio 2012. To get the functionality in Visual Studio 2012 you need the SQL Server Data Tools to be installed. Once you have it installed you will have functionality very similar to what was available in VS 2010 or the RedGate product. Here is a direct link for the download of the English ISO. One of the nice things about this option is that it is well integrated into Visual Studio 2012 and uses the same source and destination configurations as the SQL Schema Comparison that is built into VS 2012.You can also select what tables you want to compare, what columns in the tables, if you want source or destination records, etc. It will just to the update for you or you can have it generate the SQL Script that you can manually. It gives you a nice visual representation of the differences and let's you select the rows you want to change. It seems to be pretty fast. The generated SQL script even disables constraints as needed. It also seems to handle nulls properly. This is a very nice option for free!

It appears it can be called from the command line as well, but I have not tried it.

Here is the blog for the SSDT team.

FREE - tablediff.exe

IMHO, this may be the best choice for scripted options. Believe it or not tablediff.exe is a utility that comes with SQL Sever 2005 or greater. I believe this is the tool that SQL Server uses when replicating tables, though that is just what I read from someone else. It will tell you on a row by row and column by column basis what is different. It will even generate the SQL scripts needed to make the destination table look like the source table. As far as I know you cannot download it separately. However, it is installed when you install SQL Sever 2005 or newer and you choose SQL Server Replication feature. In SQL Server 2008 R2 it is included by default, but I'm not sure about the other versions. On my machine it was located at C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\COM\tablediff.exe. Once you find it you can type tablediff.exe -? for the options or refer here to the documentation. The parameters are pretty well documented and easy to follow to I won't go into all the options, but here is an example of how you would generate a change script (SQL) and see what the differences are.

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\COM>tablediff.exe -sourceserver MySrcServer-sourcedatabase MyDevDB -sourceschema dbo -sourcetable Person -sourceuser User1 -sourcepassword User1Pwd -destinationserver MyDestServer -destinationdatabase MyProdDB -destinat
ionschema dbo -destinationtable Person -destinationuser User1 -destinationpassword User1Pwd -c -o c:\temp\diff.txt -f c:\temp\diffgen.sql

This will generate two files. diff.txt which will have the differences, and diffgen.sql which will be the SQL script you can execute to make the destination table the same as the source table.

Be careful, the SQL will also generate delete statements for your destination table. This may or may not be what you want so just be aware. I recommend backing up your destination table before doing this operation.

Also, it doesn't appear to generate correct scripts for null. It put null in single-quotes. This can be changed easily with a search and replace though.

Keep in mind this is per table. If you have lots of tables and you want them all to be updated it could be a done also, but it a bit tedious. However, the nice thing about this tool is since it is command line once you have it setup you can run it again and again with little to no effort.

If you want you can even download a GUI for the command line tool. NOTE: You still need the command line tool. I was not able to get it to work with SQL Server 2008 R2, but you can decompile it and fix it I'm sure. Does it work for anyone else? All it does is exactly what you do on the command line so I'm not sure I really see the benefit if you are going to want to run it more than once.

Inexpensive - SQLDBTools

If I have a little money to spend on the solution. SQLDBTools costs $60 at seems to do pretty much what the RedGate products do, but for a fraction of the cost. It does do schema and data comparisons which is nice to have it all in one tool. I does visually let you see the differences and it also generates the change script. I have not tried this product, but it looks like the best product for the money (if you are going to pay for a solution). Given that SQL Server Data Tools now exists I don't really see the advantage or reason to pay for this tool.

FREE - Linked Server

This is a less desirable option because it doesn't do anything automatically for you. After you have a linked server you can do queries to see the differences between tables. This does nothing for automatically generating the update scripts. This solution is good for analysis only.

Inexpensive - Beyond Compare

Beyond Compare does a nice job of visually showing the differences in two files. It doesn't know anything about SQL or databases, but as long as you use SSMS to export the data to CSV, Excel, or tabular data Beyond Compare will show you the differences in an Excel like manner. Again, this does nothing for generating the change script and could be slow for very large tables.This is best for comparing two adhoc queries in my opinion.

Additional Info

I found this site that has a pretty exhaustive list of tools for SQL Server that may be useful.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Capriza Review


Capriza is designed  specifically for non-developers. Capriza rapidly converts, transforms, and optimizes existing web-based desktop applications into secure, lightweight mobile apps (zapps), complete with modern mobile capabilities such as GPS, camera, barcode scanning, click-to-call, etc

Key Features

  • Zero coding required, but can do own coding also
  • Zero APIs
  • Citrix or live-screenscraping like concept
  • Very fast app creation
  • Produces HTML5-based mobile apps  (Capriza call them zapps) from standard web-based applications that were targeted to run on the desktop browser.
  • Mobile experience is different from desktop experience; it is generally simplified
  • Runs on any modern device and platform
  • Mobile extension kit to add custom widgets, native functionality, etc
  • SSO
  • Optimized for SAP and, but can work on any web application
  • Mobile services such as
    • GPS
    • Camera
    • Bar code scanner
    • Click-to-call
    • Location services

Distribution (MDM)

  • Capriza Native App: available free through either the Apple App Store or Google Play; users login to see apps
  • Capriza HTML App: For enterprises that don't want a native app use any modern browser to access the non-native app.
  • Custom Enterprise URL: Centrally distribute and manage apps through a custom, corporate branded internet or intranet URL/Domain.
  • Enterprise App Store (EAS)for distributing apps that is corporate branded.
  • Homegrown EAS


  • Cloud-based, real-time management dashboard
    • Users
    • Infrastructure
    • Zapp Health monitoring
  • Analytics
    • Usage
    • Adoption
    • Feedback


  • Can run their software behind the corporate firewall in 8 minutes to access apps on the intranet
  • If it is public the cloud can be leveraged


  • iOS
  • Android
  • BlackBerry
  • Windows Phone
  • Samsung BADA
  • Firefox OS


  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Desktops

Browser Support

  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Android stock browser
  • Others

Professional Services are available

How it Works

Zapps work in a manner similar to Citrix. The Zapps are actually thin clients. These clients don't store anything locally on devices which lowers security concerns. All communication between components use HTTPS. Here is how a typical interaction would look:

  1. User launches a zapp on their mobile device it
  1. The zapp connects to the Capriza Relay Server (on premise or cloud) via HTTPS. It manages the communication between the zapp and the Runtime Agents.
  1. The Capriza Relay Server starts a Runtime Agent which is a headless browser.
  1. The Runtime Agent connects to the legacy web app and is rendered (not visible to anyone) in the Runtime Agent.
  1. The Runtime Agent (or maybe the Runtime Agent not sure) translates the legacy web app to a mobile friendly format and sends it to the Zapp (mobile app) to be displayed to the user.

Developer Experience

  • Capriza Designer (Firefox Plug-in)
  • Walk through web application and drag parts that you are interested in to the mobile app screen to create the screens.
  • Screens are customizable
  • No programming needed
  • Can change layouts, etc.


  • When the legacy web application changes zapp will need to change also and should be part of change management.

Cost Model

Depends on how want to license
  • Buy Platform for unlimited use
  • Per User per month for smaller uses
  • Prices vary based on specific details of how to deploy, etc.


I have investigated the product.  Below is a summary of what I found. In general please understand that this tool does NOT allow you to add functionality to a mobile application that is not already on the legacy web application. So, it is not a tool for doing new mobile development if there is not an existing web application that it will interact with. The presentation of the user interface is changed to be for a mobile device. This is typically much simplified to be more task specific. It could be very good for bring existing web applications to the mobile device when source code level access to the existing web application is not available. It could also be useful for prototyping changes to web applications that we do have source code level access to as well.

Very fast application creation when it plays nicely with the Capriza tooling
Works on any mobile device
Low cost of development due to time savings
Distribution simplified
Minor changes such as layout and cosmetics do not require the mobile application to be modified typically
Cannot be any faster than the existing web site and there is some overhead
Some web apps will be work better with this tool than others
Major changes to legacy web application affect the mobile application