Writing documentation is one of the most tedious tasks in
the development process, and is usually pushed off to the end, if done at all. In
Visual Studio, documentation is often added as inline comments, and compiled
using a tool such as Ghost Doc or NDoc. Databases, however, are very difficult
to document, since they do not have very good capabilities to hold textual
Two tools I have discovered recently take a lot of the pain
out of documenting databases. Developed by Logica2, dbdesc takes the pain from
documenting database schemas, and its sister program, dtsdoc, produces
comprehensive documentation for your DTS packages.
Whether you have a Microsoft Access, Firebird, SQL Server
2000 or 2005 database, in only three simple tabs and a few mouse clicks, dbdesc
can produce documentation in either PDF or XML format. The XML format can then
be transformed using the included XSLT, or ones you create yourself.
Since DTS packages are specific to SQL Server 2000, dtsdoc
works only with SQL Server 2000. Since SQL Server 2000 has recently entered
the last three years of its support lifecycle, migration to more recent
versions is imperative. Not all DTS's can be automatically upgraded to SSIS, so
having good documentation will be a great asset in recreating the packages.
In this review, we will use dbdesc to document the sample
Northwind database from SQL Server 2000, and dtsdoc to document a simple DTS
Dbdesc can be found at www.dbdesc.com
and dtsdoc is found at www.dtsdoc.com.