Azure Data Studio vs dbForge SQL Complete: Which One’s Best at Code Completion?

May 31st, 2022

With the right SQL code completion tools by your side, you can get approximately 2 to 4 times more productive with your daily coding routine, as evidenced by our clients in success stories. Empowered with context-sensitive suggestions, advanced code formatting, and productivity boosters, you can streamline monotonous operations and work every day with a far sharper focus on things that require your attention the most. After all, you want to work smart and make it a pleasure, don’t you?

That is why we are here. Today we’ll be comparing the code completion-related features of two major solutions for SQL developers—Devart’s dbForge SQL Complete and Microsoft’s very own Azure Data Studio—and see which one gains the upper hand when it comes to accelerating database development and making the user more effective.

Let’s start with the general information and capabilities of both tools.

A quick overview of SQL Complete

dbForge SQL Complete is a high-end add-in that seamlessly integrates into SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio; both of these rank among the top Microsoft IDEs, and the latter, sure enough, ventures far beyond SQL.

However functional these IDEs may be, SQL Complete substantially enhances them with IntelliSense-style suggestions, instant statement expansion, rich formatting capabilities, predefined and custom code snippets, as well as safe refactoring with auto-correction of references to the objects you need to rename. Among other things, we should mention a set of built-in data aggregation and manipulation tools and a T-SQL Debugger for complex queries, stored procedures, triggers, and functions.

A quick overview of Azure Data Studio

Azure Data Studio is a cross-platform database IDE that delivers a solid SQL editor with IntelliSense completion, smart code snippets, integration of version control, and a built-in terminal. You also get a few other goodies, such as customizable server and database dashboards, but overall, Azure Data Studio is not about in-depth administration or server configuration.

Generally, Microsoft recommends using Azure Data Studio if your work is mostly about editing or executing queries, if you need the ability to quickly chart and visualize result sets, and if you are comfortable working with the command line.

This is why it makes sense to compare it with SQL Complete—both of these solutions focus on fast and efficient query writing, and both support CLI. Now we only have to find out which one makes it all better.

Code completion comparison: dbForge SQL Complete vs Azure Data Studio

For your convenience, we have divided all features into 3 categories: SQL code completion (obviously, this category is the biggest one), SQL code formatting, and Productivity enhancements.

Features dbForge SQL Complete Azure Data Studio
SQL code completion
Context-sensitive suggestion of keywords Yes Yes, but not context-sensitive
Context-sensitive object suggestions Yes Yes, but not context-sensitive
Context-sensitive object suggestions for CTE Yes Yes
Context-sensitive object suggestions in the SQLCMD mode Yes No
Name suggestions for objects on linked servers Yes No
Sorting of suggested keywords by relevance Yes No
JOIN clause auto-generation Yes No
Phrase completion Yes No
Auto-generation of table aliases Yes No
Column picker for quick list building Yes No
Wildcard expansion Yes Yes
Expansion of INSERT, EXEC, ALTER, and UPDATE statements Yes No
Exclusion of databases from suggestions Yes No
Highlighting of identifier occurrences Yes Yes
Pair highlighting Yes No
Highlighting of matching columns in the INSERT statements Yes No
Named regions Yes No
Parameter information for functions Yes No
Quick object information Yes Yes
Row count information Yes No
SQL code formatting
SQL formatting Yes Yes
Formatting in files and directories Yes No
Quick selection of formatting profiles Yes Yes
Automated formatting from the command line Yes No
Productivity enhancements
SQL snippets Yes Yes
Semi-transparent suggestion box Yes No
Current statement execution option Yes Yes
Semicolon insertion Yes No
Generation of CREATE/ALTER scripts for server objects Yes Yes
‘Copy Data As’ from the grid to XML, CSV, HTML, JSON, Excel Yes Yes
‘Go to Definition’ for database objects Yes Yes
Recovery of recently closed documents Yes No
Releases
First release v1.0 (November 19, 2010) v1.0 (September 24, 2018)
Latest release (at the time of publication) v6.10 (April 4, 2022) v1.35 (March 17, 2022)
Total number of releases 130 65

As you can see, SQL Complete is the clear winner here. It expands the capabilities of SSMS so greatly that it basically leaves no chance for Azure Data Studio to overcome it any day soon in this respect.

Conclusion

That said, if using SSMS is just fine with you, and if you need to give a powerful boost to your daily SQL coding, you don’t need Azure Data Studio really. The combination of SSMS and SQL Complete is your best bet.

What’s more, besides the completion, formatting, and productivity features that have been mentioned in the comparison above, SQL Complete delivers quite a few other things that you will most certainly find highly useful in your daily work:

Try it all free of charge — download SQL Complete for a free 14-day trial and make your daily work with SQL an easy breeze.

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