About the Course


Back in 1980, while busily programming Basic on a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-11 in Cincinnati, a friend introduced me to a new software product called VisiCalc. We were in the burgeoning microcomputer era and the infancy of personal software programs. My less than thoughtful reaction to the glowing flicker of green lines and text in VisiCalc was, “Meh… not really feeling it.” After all, who really needs an electronic spreadsheet?

Now, I realize how quickly I dismissed not only a revolutionary product but an entirely new way to personally interact with software. Forty years later, with my gray and white hair, I was introduced to a new product called “Azure Data Studio” while attending the SQL PASS Summit conference in Seattle. This time, my reaction was not: “Meh…” but instead, “Wow!”.

Azure Data Studio icon

Who this course is for

This course is intended for data and database engineers and anyone else who is involved in exploring and analyzing data. This includes SQL developers, data analysts, data scientists, and database administrators. This course will also be helpful for professionals involved in data integration and data warehousing, as well as for Python and PowerShell developers looking for a data-centric platform for using their language of choice.

In addition, you do not need to be on Azure! Azure Data Studio works equally as well with on-premise databases as it does with databases that live on the Azure platform.

What you need to get the most from this course

Azure Data Studio is free for both private and commercial use. With Educative, you do not need to install anything because Azure Data Studio runs on our platform. If you wish to download it, please see the appendix section of this course.

Azure Data Studio runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux (refer to the above link for supported OS versions).

The currently supported Database Platforms are SQL Server and PostgreSQL, which include both on-premise and Cloud instances.

Note: The sample database that we will use in many code examples is based on SQL Server 2019.

The database is already set up for you on Educative. However, you will need to set it up if you choose to follow along with this course on your own machine. If you do not have a database system handy and would like to start with a free version of SQL Server, you have a couple of options: Developer and Express Editions. If you wish to download it, please see the appendix section of this course.

Source code and Notebook samples

All the supporting SQL, PowerShell, and Python scripts, along with Notebooks and the car_crash sample database, can be downloaded from this book’s GitHub repository: Hands-on Azure Data Studio, as shown in the figure below.

If this is the first time you have cloned a repository using Git, please jump ahead to the Source Control by Design chapter for a step-by-step walkthrough to download this GitHub repository.

Companion database

The sample SQL Server database referenced by many of the code samples is included in the aforementioned GitHub repository. See Appendix A for a quick reference of the database schema.

Why this course

After stumbling across Azure Data Studio (ADS) at the 2019 SQL PASS Summit in Seattle, Jim realized that this product/platform could revolutionize how we interact, discover, process, and share data and analytics. Knowing also that this new approach to data engineering and related processes would be a fascinating journey, Jim decided to document its capabilities and share the lessons learned. This course is the result of his journey.