Open Letter to the SQL Server Community about SQL Prompt

There have been quite a few posts on the SQL Server Central forums about SQL Prompt, our tool for providing Intellisense for the leading SQL Server editors. There are still concerns about whether v2 is truely free and also about the quality and design of it.

The editor of SQL Server Central offered me the chance to reply. You should be able to see it somewhere on their site in the next couple of days. I’ve stuck it below for those interested:

Free SQL Prompt 2.0 valuable, but flawed; 

V3.0 being built from scratch the Red Gate way

I’ve been reading the interesting forum discussion on SQL Server Central about the free version of SQL Prompt made available by Red Gate in May. Steve Jones very kindly

invited me to clear up any misunderstandings in an open letter to the community.

When we acquired SQL Prompt we knew that it was a popular piece of software – clearly it had great potential. It’s always seemed unfair that SQL Server professionals were the only ones denied the benefits of Intellisense. But, despite its potential and popularity, SQL Prompt was very early in its life and contained a number of significant problems.

Our original plan was to sell the tool shortly after buying it, but after spending more than a month with some of our best people working on it, there were still a lot of problems – many of which stemmed from the fundamental design of the software. Technically, the right thing to do was to start again. But while all this was happening, we’d been telling people that SQL Prompt would be available soon. We faced two choices: Remove the tool from circulation and disappoint those for whom SQL Prompt was already a massive productivity enhancer, or provide the tool and risk damaging our brand by selling something that had quality and design problems.

After some heated discussions, we decided to distribute the product, but didn’t feel that we could charge for it because of the quality issues. SQL Prompt 2.0 is a completely free product that has no time bombs or other restrictions. This was controversial inside Red Gate because we were in danger of damaging our good reputation for quality.  But in the end, we thought this was the right thing to do for the SQL Server community.

I take blame for the fact that we failed to amend the licensing agreement for SQL Prompt, which mistakenly implies that it’s a paid-for product. This was a blooper. Just to reiterate, v2 is free and always will be, but we will stop distributing it when v3 releases in September. Right now, focusing our testing and development engineers on producing a really robust and feature-rich new tool, rather than hacking around with the old one, is the right thing to do.

Our team (which includes Bart Read, our development lead) is confident of delivering a really excellent new tool, SQL Prompt 3, at the end of September. The full list price will be $195, but between now and the release date we’re offering pre-orders at $99.  

We believe SQL Prompt 3 is going to hit the spot. Providing fast, accurate, flexible Intellisense that works seamlessly even with very large SQL Server databases is a challenge, but it’s just the sort of challenge we like to meet.