Assisted data comparison

Data comparison is an often overlooked problem that many IT professionals have to approach in their daily work. Without even realizing it, they spend a significant portion of their time comparing the data. In many cases the data comparisons are implemented ad-hoc: developers, QA testers or DBAs write SQL queries that return rows with differences between data sets. Often the data to compare do not reside in the same data store - they have to be pulled in to a location where it is possible to execute a query. This takes time. This takes mental effort. This creates opportunity for mistakes.

Color lens filters representing data comparison concept

It turns out that there are many data comparison tools, varying with their capabilities and price. These tools can simplify and sometimes automate execution of data comparisons. Greg Robidoux collected a list of them on the excellent MSSqlTips site. The tools listed there are focused mostly on the comparison of SQL Server schemas and datasets. This means that users still have to load external data sets - Excel spreadsheets, CSV files or exports from other database technologies to a SQL Server instance and write elaborate queries to retrieve rows with differences. Then, SQL Server Management Studio is not exactly great when a user wants to export the data into a nice Excel file.

SelectCompare is in many ways a simpler data comparison tool that some of the utilities in the list. At the same time, it is not confined to a single technology and even more - it is not confined to a single technology in particular comparison. This means that it can be used to compare data without creating unnecessary copies and exports of the data. It can also create data comparison reports ready to distribute to the parties interested in the results.


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