SQL Server Modeling Services – Quadrant and M Overview


Last week I was part of an interesting "call" with Microsoft around SQL Server Modeling Services and what it had to offer. The purpose to get client feedback on the proposition and also provide us with some insight on what it was and where it was heading.

First let me clarify that SQL Server Modeling Services is in fact what used to be known as OSLO or the "repository". 

What is M?

"M" is the language for EDM (Entity Data Model). Think of it as the textual service syntax for EDM. "M" replaces your XML file that describes your model. "M" is an open data language, anyone can implement it and It is part of SQL Server 2008 R2. 
What you can do in M:
  • Describe it in M (Schema and SQL)
    • You get your database
    • You get your middle tier classes as well as validation on your client tier
"M" is a way for you to logically describe your data models, get TSQL out one end and your classes out another.
As of the CTP for SQL Server 2008 R2, "M" remains to be the unofficial name. 
With the new RC release of SQL Server, "M", when it compiles, it compiles the TSQL, If you go into Visual Studio and create an M file, it also generates the classes for you. 

What is Quadrant?

Quadrant is a developer tool for SQL Server. I like to think of Quadrant as the SQL Server Navigator. Quadrant has an infinite canvas on which you can explore your database schema, tables, your data within your tables and lined relationships in a seamless and easy to navigate way. With Quadrant you can create views (list, grid, table, graph, master-detail, tuple, filter etc..) in just a few clicks to visualize and drill through your data.
M and Quadrant give you the ability to refer to things by logical names. When you browse you data, Quadrant translates your mostly meaningless Foreign Keys to the name of the entity. It does this by using the value of the first column having "name" in the column name. So if you had a table with columns "product_id" and "product_name", when you traversed your purchase orders table, it will show you the product_name for the FKs. And of course you can change this behavior.
I'll drill down into more details in a further post.

Quadrant tips and tricks:

F12, Automatic map. Zooms to extent. view of the canvas.
F10, zooms on the selected work-pad.

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