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These useful tools will simplify the way you maintain your data.

Software Review: MissionKit 2009: Database Comparison And Merging From Altova

Last year I covered each of the items in the Altova MissionKit 2008. The new version, MissionKit 2009, has been released, and rather than going through each product, I am going to focus on some new technologies that have been introduced into the product line. The feature I will look at in this article is database comparison and merging.

When you are working with databases, there are many times when you need to locate changes, migrate differences, or synchronize versions of database data. It is here that DatabaseSpy 2009 and DiffDog 2009 come in. They, each in their own way, allow you to do comparison and merging across systems.

DatabaseSpy 2009 is a multi-database query, design, and database comparison tool that connects to all major databases. It makes management and care of your databases easier and provides the ability to visualize, design, compare the contents, and change the structures, even across different brands of databases.

Because DatabaseSpy 2009 is a multi-database tool, it is able to connect to all of the following major database types:

• Microsoft SQL Server 2000, 2005, 2008
• IBM DB2 8, 9
• IBM DB2 for iSeries v5.4
• Oracle 9i, 10g, 11g
• Sybase 12
• MySQL 4, 5
• PostgreSQL 8
• Microsoft Access 2003, 2007

Altova MissionKit 2009

The SQL editor features customizable auto-completion to accelerate query development. The graphical database design tool gives you the ability to visually modify tables and relationships without having to write SQL statements, and the ability to interact across multiple databases.

An area in which DatabaseSpy shines is its ability to let you compare and merge the contents of database tables via its graphical representation. This is especially handy when you are moving from one system to another. You are less likely to suffer downtime because something is missing.

DatabaseSpy 2009 can compare different versions of a table in the same database type, or compare and merge the contents of equivalent tables and entire database schemas from different database types. When you compare different database types, DatabaseSpy 2009 even resolves database type naming inconsistencies.

This means you can compare the customer table in your SQL Server database with a backup copy. Or if you are moving from Access to MS-SQL Server you can compare the contents of any table, or your entire database schema, in the two implementations. Automatic table mapping options let you map columns based on name, data type, or column position. You can set preferences for comparison options, XML-aware comparison for columns containing XML data, and display of the Results view.

When you identify differences between tables, you can merge content in either direction, update individual cells, or update entire tables. You can generate a Restore script to document your changes or as a precaution against accidental deletion of critical data, and if you need to perform the same comparison again in the future, you can save database comparison selections in a file to easily reload.

Altova MissionKit 2009

DiffDog 2009 is another compare and merge tool. DiffDog allows developers to identify differences quickly. It lets you compare XML or source code files quickly, and then merge changes with a click of the mouse. With Quick Comparison you can efficiently compare two directories with huge quantities of files, then immediately open and edit any unequal file pair in a side-by-side view. You can connect your laptop to the office network and sync up files quickly and easily. For optimal efficiency, you merge directly within the differencing interface, then instantly re-compare.

DiffDog 2009 is an incredible diff merge tool for comparing and merging text files, folders, directories, and database tables. Its unique XML-aware differencing functionality is essential for developers working with XML.

If you work with changing data, especially with databases, you will find that DatabaseSpy will be an important weapon in your arsenal. It will save you time and headaches many times over. It will increase your workflow and make your life easier.

If you work with a variety of changing data, including files and directories, then DiffDog will do the same, allowing you to highlight differences and make sure that you have all the files you need when you need them. As a bonus, the Altova MissionKit 2009 provides you both of these tools in one consistent interface. I highly recommend the Altova MissionKit 2009.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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