Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A common misunderstanding: VS vs BIDS vs SSMS

I saw many posts on community sites where people are trying to figure out:
  • why business intelligence projects cannot be created in VS after installing Visual Studio 2008
  • why they can't create Visual Studio projects in BIDS
  • why they don't see VB, C# and other Visual Studio project types, if they have a machine with only BIDS installed
  • why all the project types are missing from Visual Studio that they had in SSMS, even if they installed SSMS and Visual Studio as well
  • etc.
The answer is because these three environments are not the same. However they are built on nearly the same base, they are different because
  1. Visual Studio 2008 is a set of development tools.
  2. SSMS uses an isolated Visual Studio Shell, including 3 own project types.
  3. BIDS uses an integrated Visual Studio Shell, and is able to handle the BI related project types. However these projects can be used in VS2008 as well, if both installed.
SSMS and BIDS are not extensions of Visual Studio. They are separate applications running Visual Studio Shell.

For a better understading and more information on the VS Shell and SSMS:
Regarding BIDS: as of 15th Feb 2012, the Books Online is wrong. It states that BIDS (for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2) is "Visual Studio 2008 with additional project types".

No, it is not. For those who already read themselves through the links given above, it might be clear.

By the way, BIDS and its BI project types (Reporting Server, Analyis Services, Integration Services and 4 others) can be installed using the SQL Server installation utility. SSMS as well.
A SQL Server Developer Edition costs about $50 per developer.

Hope it helped.

[Update: There is no BIDS for SQL Server 2012. Instead, there is another tool.]