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Changes that BI developers can expect from SQL Server 2019
SQL Server 2019 is not out yet (it's scheduled for release in the second half of 2019), but this blog shows what changes you can expect to see.

Posted by Andy Brown on 08 May 2019

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What is new in SQL Server 2019 for BI users?

This blog comes with two warnings:

Warning Notes
It's premature SQL Server 2019 is currently in Community Technical Preview (CTP)  edition, with a release date planned for autumn 2019.
It's not for true geeks The main focus of the new release of SQL Server is to manage databases better, but this blog is aimed at SQL programmers, report writers and BI developers.

Given this, what should you expect from the new version?  A fair number of really annoying changes, it seems!

The demise of SSDT

If you want to work with Reporting Services, Integration Services or Analysis Services, you'll need to install separate Visual Studio extensions rather than installing SQL Server Data Tools:

VS extensions

The SSRS and SSAS extensions installed in Visual Studio 2019 (the SSIS one is in preview, and won't install on this owl's laptop).

The demise of database diagrams

It's spot the difference time!

SSMS 2017 SSMS 2019
SQL Server 2016 SQL Server 2019

Actually, this feature was deprecated in Management Studio 2018, so (along with T-SQL debugging) it actually died with SQL Server 2017.

SSRS and SSIS haven't changed ...

I can't find any new features for SSRS and SSIS.  The Microsoft website shows this message:


Evidence that nothing is changing in the SSRS and SSIS world.

As I mentioned above, CTP stands for Community Technical Preview if you're wondering.  However, there does seem to be one major difference (read on) ...

... or have they?

When adding a dataset in SSRS 2019, you can click on the familiar Query Designer button:

Query Designer

So far, so familiar ...

However, what happens next is terrible news!

Query designer dialog box

It seems that Microsoft have sacrificed the easy-to-use native SSRS query designer for the horrible Report Builder version.  This is a terrible idea, if true!  I can't find anything on the Internet about this change, but have to believe the evidence before me.

Analysis Services is more or less the same

As all SSAS aficionados know, there are two versions of Analysis Services:

Version Notes
Tabular The new version of SSAS introduced in SQL Server 2012, and much updated since.
Multi-dimensional The clunky version of SSAS used up to SQL Server 2012.

As is always the case, the multi-dimensional version of SSAS doesn't seem to have had any love bestowed upon it.  I base this on the fact that:

  • I wouldn't expect Microsoft to update software which I'm sure they regard as obsolete;
  • I can't find any reference to changes on the Internet; and
  • Having created a multi-dimensional project in SQL Server 2019, I can't see any obvious changes.

According to Microsoft, here are two new features in SSAS 2019 Tabular:

New feature Notes
Many-to-many relationships You can now create a many-to-many relationship in SSAS Tabular, as in Power BI.  I'm not sure how useful a feature this is!
Calculation groups These will allow you to create groups of measures with similar characteristics, particularly with regard to time-intelligence functions.  They are a huge new concept to learn for DAX programmers, but at the moment will be limited to SSAS Tabular.

Having tried loading the new SSAS templates in Visual Studio 2019, I can't see any other obvious differences between the new and older versions of SSAS Tabular.

Changes to SQL

For the sake of completeness, I can't find any reference to any new features in the T-SQL programming language!

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