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Questions and Answers – "Quadrant"

[This content is no longer valid. For the latest information on "M", "Quadrant", SQL Server Modeling Services, and the Repository, see the Model Citizen blog .]

 

Last Updated: November 2009

 

Q. "Quadrant" looks substantially different from what was presented at PDC 2008. Was the intent of the tool changed in the last year?

A. At PDC 2008, “Quadrant” was presented as follows:

  • “Quadrant” is a tool for interacting with data
  • Best browsing experience for SQL Server database content
  • Relationship-driven navigation and ad hoc query
  • Unique editing model
  • “Quadrant” is extensible
  • “Quadrant” can be customized to specific domains through customization via UI as well as extensibility features
  • “Quadrant” is based on a model driven application framework

All of these capabilities are still in the product in the November 2009 SQL Server Modeling CTP. There are some changes to the user interface and the models that are installed, however. The biggest changes are:

  • “Quadrant” no longer includes a ribbon. Instead, it minimizes the UI to maximize the space you have to visualize and manipulate data, putting common functionality into a small menu and specific functionality into context menus directly on your data.
  • “Quadrant” no longer includes models for Business Process Modeling, and Workflows. Those models were removed in the May 2009 CTP timeframe. Instead, the core models that are now getting installed are UML 2.0, Common Language Runtime, and Identity.
  • “Quadrant’s” viewer capabilities have been focused on the following core viewers: Tree, List, Table, Tree/Master Detail. Diagramming functionality has been reduced, for the time being, to a simple read-only diagram viewer (without support for nested diagrams, for example). We’re also making “Quadrant” extensible through custom viewers.

 

Q. Who are the target customers for "Quadrant"?

A. With “Quadrant”, we are investing in modeling technology that enables developers to describe parts of their application in data; data is executed from the database. We believe that this is how applications will be developed, deployed and managed in the future. Today, “Quadrant” is designed to give developers rich ways to interact with data in SQL Server databases.

 

Q. What are the intended uses for “Quadrant”?

A. In the November 2009 CTP there are three main scenarios that we support with “Quadrant”:

  • A tool for viewing, querying and editing data in a SQL database with a variety of built-in viewers (tree, list, table, master/detail)
  • Ability to modify built-in viewers with simple UI-based customization functionality (e.g. create composite viewers)
  • Create domain-specific browsing and editing experience by configuring and extending “Quadrant” (e.g. CLR domain browser)

 

 

Q. Does "Quadrant" replace SQL Server Management Studio?

A. No. “Quadrant” includes some capabilities that are also present in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to make common tasks readily available, such as dropping databases or connecting to databases. In contrast to SSMS, “Quadrant” is a tool for developers. The focus of this CTP is browsing and editing data and creating viewers over data. Administrative tasks that can be carried out in “Quadrant” that are typically done in SSMS today are limited to those executed while creating database applications to avoid frequent context switching between “Quadrant” and SSMS, such as database creation, deletion, and some schema editing.

 

Q. How does "Quadrant" relate to Visual Studio?

A. Visual Studio editions offer a variety of tools to create data applications, for example:

  • Database projects
  • Server Explorer
  • Schema Explorer
  • T-SQL Editor and Debugger
  • Query Designer
  • Database Diagram Viewer
  • Entity Designer

 

In the current CTP, “Quadrant” is a tool for browsing and editing data and for creating viewers over data. There are no plans at this point in time to merge “Quadrant” with Visual Studio.

 

Q. What is the “Quadrant Database” or “Quadrant Repository”?

A. “Quadrant” itself is a model driven application. Its models are stored in the “Quadrant” repository, which is a SQL server database following this naming convention:

Quadrant.<CTP version>.<user account>

We support modifications to “Quadrant’s” UI models. In the November 2009 CTP, this can simply be done by right-clicking on a viewer (for example, a table viewer) and choosing the command “View source”. The respective model file in “M” will be opened in an “M” editor inside “Quadrant”. After changes are made, the file has to get deployed back to the “Quadrant” repository database via the “Deploy” command.

 

Q. What dataset sizes is “Quadrant” intended for? At what point do tasks like loading data, scrolling, browsing, querying or editing become slow?

The goal for this CTP release was to bring several major pieces of functionality into Quadrant. We have focused on the core browsing and editing model, with limited scalability features such as row virtualization in our table and list viewers. As the product gets closer to release, we continue to do more performance work, especially as related to the scenarios that our customers report as important to them.

 

Q. When will "Quadrant" ship? Will it be its own product or part of another?

A. “Quadrant” will be released with a future release of SQL Server.

 

Q. Can you give an overview of the functionality in this “Quadrant” CTP?

Area

Functionality

Create database

Create database on the client and server

Create schema

Create new schema using M

Modify schema

Modify existing schema using M

Create viewer

Create viewer from scratch using M

Customize viewer

Customize an existing viewer - using UI

Customize viewer

Customize an existing viewer - using M

Publish viewer

Package viewers as an .msi

Import data

Use T-SQL console to bulk import data

Convert data

SQL to “M”; “M” to SQL

Explore and organize data

Discover relationships

Explore and organize data

Organize workpads on an infinite canvas

Explore and organize data

Sort content

Explore and organize data

Organizing content in folders

Explore and organize data

Use table viewer

Explore and organize data

Use diagram viewer

Explore and organize data

Use list viewer

Explore and organize data

Use composite viewers (master/detail)

Explore and organize data

Use tree viewer

Query data

Using “M” query bar or T-SQL console

Editing

Review and resolve errors in change list

Editing

Create one or more items with foreign key constraints between them

Editing

Update existing items

Editing

Cut, copy, paste text

 

 

Q. What are the options to submit feedback or ask questions about “Quadrant”?

A. Questions can be directed to the SQL Server Modeling Forum on MSDN. Feedback, suggestions, and bug reports can be submitted, browsed, and tracked through the Microsoft Connect site for the SQL Server Modeling CTP.

For more information on “Quadrant” on the MSDN Data Developer Center, http://msdn.microsoft.com/data, especially the “Quadrant” page.

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