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Walkthrough: Create and Deploy a Database that References Another Database

In this walkthrough, you will create a database project for a database that refers to another database. The database to which the project refers is also managed by using Visual Studio Premium but will be in a different solution. This approach emulates the common scenario where different developers manage different databases or where a developer cannot deploy the database that is the target of a reference.

This walkthrough illustrates the following tasks:

  • How to create a database project.

  • How to refer to a .dbschema file that was produced by another database project.

  • How to define variables and their values for the database project to which you are referring.

  • How to deploy your database project into your isolated development environment.

You must have installed Visual Studio. In addition, you must have completed Walkthrough: Create and Deploy a New Version-Controlled Database and deployed the resulting database to your isolated development environment. To add your project to version control, you must have installed version control software, such as Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.

To create the database project

  1. On the File menu, point to New, and click Project.

    The New Project dialog box appears.

  2. Under Installed Templates, expand the Database node, and then click SQL Server.

    NoteNote

    If you are using Visual Studio Professional, instead you look under Installed Templates, expand the Database node, expand the SQL Server node, and then click Advanced.

  3. In the list of templates, click SQL Server 2008 Database Project.

  4. In Name, type OrdersDB.

  5. Select the Create directory for solution check box.

  6. Accept the default values for Location, Solution Name, and Add to Source Control, and click OK.

    NoteNote

    You could, at this point, add your solution to version control. In this walkthrough, you add the solution to version control in the final procedure.

    The new database project, ProductsDB, appears in Solution Explorer.

  7. On the View menu, click Database Schema View.

    Schema View appears if it was not already visible.

    Next, you add the tables to the database project.

To add the OrderItems table to your database project

  1. In Schema View, right-click the OrdersDB project, point to Add, and click Table.

    The Add New Item dialog box appears.

  2. In Templates, click Table.

    NoteNote

    In the Categories list, you can click Tables and Views to more easily find the template for a table.

  3. In Name, type OrderItems as the name that you want to give the new table.

  4. Click Add to add the table to your database project.

    Solution Explorer shows the new file for the table in your database project. Schema View shows the new table object. The Transact-SQL editor appears and displays the definition for your new table.

  5. In the Transact-SQL editor, modify the table definition to match the following example:

    -- =============================================
    -- Create OrderItems table
    -- =============================================
    CREATE TABLE [dbo].[OrderItems]
    (
    [POID] INT NOT NULL,
    [ItemID] INT NOT NULL,
    [ProductID] INT NOT NULL,
    [Quantity] INT NOT NULL,
    [Price] FLOAT NOT NULL,
    [Notes] NVARCHAR(75) NULL
    ) ON [PRIMARY]
    
  6. On the File menu, click Save dbo.OrderItems.table.sql.

  7. In Schema View, expand the dbo.OrderItems node.

  8. Expand the Columns node in the dbo.OrderItems table.

    The columns that you defined in the Transact-SQL editor appear.

    Next, you add a primary key to the OrderItems table.

To add a primary key to the OrderItems table

  1. In Schema View, right-click dbo.OrderItems, point to Add, and then click Primary Key.

    The Add New Item dialog box appears.

  2. In Name, type PK_OrderItems as the name that you want to give the new primary key.

  3. Click Add to add the primary key.

    Solution Explorer shows the new file for the primary key in your database project. Schema View shows the new primary key object. The Transact-SQL editor appears and displays the definition for your new key.

    NoteNote

    The icon for the primary key appears with the red circle that contains a white "x," which indicates that the default definition contains an error. This behavior is expected because the default definition refers to the "column_1" column, which does not exist.

  4. In the Transact-SQL editor, modify the primary key definition to match the following example:

    -- =============================================
    -- Create PK_OrderItems primary key 
    -- =============================================
    ALTER TABLE [dbo].[OrderItems] 
    ADD CONSTRAINT [PK_OrderItems] 
    PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED  ([POID], [ItemID]) 
    ON [PRIMARY]
    
  5. On the File menu, click Save dbo.OrderItems.PK_OrderItems.pkey.sql.

    The error indicator disappears from the icon, which indicates that the primary key definition is now valid.

    Next, you add the cross-database reference.

To add a view that references a table in another database

  1. In Schema View, right-click the Views node, point to Add, and then click View.

  2. In Name, type ItemDetailsView as the name that you want to give the new view, and then click Add.

    Solution Explorer shows the new file for the view in your database project. Schema View shows the new view object. The Transact-SQL editor appears and displays the definition for your new view.

    NoteNote

    In Schema View, the icon for the view appears with the red circle that contains a white "x," which indicates that the default definition contains an error. This behavior is expected because the default definition references the "[sometableorview]" table or view, which does not exist.

  3. In the Transact-SQL editor, modify the table definition to match the following example:

    -- =============================================
    -- Create ItemDetailsView view
    -- =============================================
    CREATE VIEW [dbo].[ItemDetailsView]
    AS 
    SELECT O.[POID], O.[ItemID], P.[ProductName], P.[UnitPrice], O.[Quantity], 
           O.[Price], O.[Notes] FROM [dbo].[OrderItems] AS O
     INNER JOIN [ProductsDB].[dbo].[Products] AS P
            ON P.[ProductID] = O.[ProductID]
    
  4. On the File menu, click Save dbo.ItemDetailsView.view.sql.

  5. On the View menu, click Error List.

    In the Error List, six errors appear. The errors occur because Visual Studio Premium cannot validate whether the database to which you are referring will exist on the target server when you deploy the database project. This condition is noteworthy because you can deploy to different target locations. To resolve the errors, you next define a cross-database reference.

To define a cross-database reference

  1. In Solution Explorer, expand the OrderItems project, and click the References node.

  2. On the Project menu, click Add Database Reference.

    NoteNote

    You can also right-click the References node and click Add Database Reference.

    The Add Database Reference dialog box appears. Because the solution contains only one database project, Database project schema (.dbschema) is specified by default.

  3. Click Browse.

    The Select Database File dialog box appears.

  4. Specify the ProductsDB.dbschema file that was created when you built the project in the prerequisite walkthrough (for example, My Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Projects\ProductsDB\ProductsDB\sql\ProductsDB.dbschema), and click Open.

  5. In Database Reference Variables, select the Define database variable check box. In Name, type ReferencedDBVar. In Value, type ProductsDB.

    NoteNote

    In this walkthrough, you can assume that the database to which you are referring is always on the same server as the database to which you are adding the reference. Therefore, you do not have to define variables for the server name.

  6. In Updating schema objects and scripts, select the Update the existing schema object definitions and scripts to use the database reference variables check box, and click OK.

  7. In the Preview Changes dialog box, click INNER JOIN to display the details of the change, and then click Apply.

    The definition of the view is updated to match the following:

    -- =============================================
    -- Create ItemDetailsView view
    -- =============================================
    CREATE VIEW [dbo].[ItemDetailsView]
    AS 
    SELECT O.[POID], O.[ItemID], P.[ProductName], P.[UnitPrice], O.[Quantity], 
           O.[Price], O.[Notes] FROM [dbo].[OrderItems] AS O
     INNER JOIN [$(ReferencedDBVar)].[dbo].[Products] AS P
            ON P.[ProductID] = O.[ProductID]
    

    The variable name that you specified identifies the table to which you are referring, and the six errors have been resolved. Next, you build and deploy the database project.

To configure, build, and deploy the project

  1. In Solution Explorer, click OrdersDB (the project, not the solution).

  2. On the Project menu, click OrdersDB Properties.

    The properties window for the project appears.

    NoteNote

    You can also right-click OrdersDB in Solution Explorer and click Properties.

  3. Click the Deploy tab.

  4. In Deploy action, click Create a deployment script (sql) and deploy to database.

  5. Click Edit to specify the target connection.

  6. Specify the information to connect to the database server to which you want to deploy the OrdersDB database.

    Important noteImportant

    To successfully complete this walkthrough, you must deploy the database to the same server to which you deployed the ProductsDB in the prerequisite walkthrough. If you want to deploy to a different server, you must define a variable for it.

  7. In Select or enter a database name, type OrdersDB, and click OK.

    The Target Connection box contains the connection string, and the Target Database Name box contains OrdersDB.

  8. Accept the default values for the other options, open the File menu, and click Save Selected Items.

    Your project deployment settings are saved.

  9. On the Build menu, click Build Solution.

    Your database project builds. If the build was successful, Build Succeeded appears in the status bar, and the build results appear in the Output window.

  10. In Solution Explorer, click OrdersDB (the project, not the solution).

  11. On the Build menu, point to Deploy OrdersDB.

    Your database project is deployed by using the connection that you specified in the build configuration. The message "Deployment succeeded" appears in the Output window and in the status bar.

You would now typically put your database project under version control to share it with the team.

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