I’ve been using SQL Publishing Wizard (“sqlpubwiz.exe”) for probably close to 10 years now. I use it within my TFS/MSBuild to generate a deployable database script.
The general algorithm looks like this:

  • Clone the DEV database schema to a TEMP database
  • Pull in some default data from specific tables of DEV into TEMP
  • Perform some fixups on the TEMP database to prepare it for customers.
  • Script out both the schema and data from TEMP into a deployable script.

Generally this has worked fairly well. I’ve used sqlpubwiz for the first and last parts of this. However, I recently noticed it had slowed down to an abysmal speed. I believe this was due to my schema growing and getting more complex. I tried uninstalling/reinstalling sqlpubwiz, to no avail.

I noticed Microsoft has not released a new version since 1.4, which shipped with Visual Studio 2010. It is bundled with the VS2010 installer, so you have to install that just to get it! Gross!

Enter Powershell

Some googling revealed that most people recommend using either a commercial tool, such as Redgate or Apex, or implementing it yourself with SQL Server Management Objects (SMO) in Powershell. I decided to create a suitable replacement in Powershell… I did not set out to recreate sqlpubwiz, but just to cover the two use cases I needed. Specifically, script schema only, or script schema with data.

Now, there are plenty of articles on the web about scripting using SMO in Powershell. So why write this?… Because I found in order to script the data, there are a couple of non-intuitive things you need to do.

I won’t belabor the entire script, as most of it is straight-forward. The full script is in my github repo here: ScriptDatabase.ps1

However, I will draw attention to the things I found peculiar.

  1. The ScriptTransfer method does not include data, no matter how hard you try. In fact, if you try to script data with it, it will raise an exception. So instead, I found you have to use the EnumScriptTransfer method instead.
  2. The CopyData property appears to be ignored. It seems you have to set the Options.ScriptData instead.

I found both of these by a lot of trial and error :(

$transfer = new-object ("$My.Transfer") $db
$transfer.Options.Filename = "$outputFilename"; 
$transfer.CopyData = $includeData # NOTE this seems to be ignored
$transfer.Options.ScriptData = $includeData; # NOTE this is required if you want data scripted!
$transfer.CopySchema = $true

Creating a suitable replacement for sqlpubwiz

This was my old sqlpubwiz command used for schema only:

sqlpubwiz.exe script -S $(SqlMachineName) -d $(DevSqlDatabaseName) $(BinariesDirectory)\Release\Database\Temp\DBSchema.sql -f -schemaonly

This was my old sqlpubwiz command used for schema and data:

sqlpubwiz.exe script -S $(SqlMachineName) -d $(ReleaseSqlDatabaseName) $(BinariesDirectory)\Release\Database\DBDeplymentScript.sql -f -nodropexisting

My new script command for schema only:

powershell .\ScriptDatabase.ps1 $(SqlMachineName) $(DevSqlDatabaseName) $(BinariesDirectory)\Release\Database\Temp\DBSchema.sql

My new script command for schema and data:

powershell .\ScriptDatabase.ps1 $(SqlMachineName) $(ReleaseSqlDatabaseName) $(BinariesDirectory)\Release\Database\DBDeplymentScript.sql -includeData

As you can see, it’s not 100% drop-in replacement, but it accepts basically the equivalent arguments.


One of the reasons I did this was because my sqlpubwiz-based implementation had been growing slower, up to around 15 minutes or even longer on my build server (this includes both schema script, manipulation, and then the final schema+data script). When I tried installing sqlpubwiz on another computer, I couldn’t even get it working - it failed with an IndexOutOfBoundsException.
I presume it has to do with VS2010 prerequisites or some such. At any rate, I knew the days were numbered with the sqlpubwiz approach, and decided to tackle the problem.

After having done this, my new powershell-SMO-based build runs in about 3 minutes (again, this includes all steps mentioned above).

Wrap Up

I wrote this article and published my script because I couldn’t find any other articles online which addressed my specific use cases. While there are several that show how to script the schema, and several showing how to use the TransferData method to transfer data directly without scripting it, I did not run across any others showing my use case of scripting the data into a file. By writing this article, hopefully I’ll be more likely to remember it myself, and perhaps it could help someone else who gets stuck in the same situation.