Microsoft has taken a moralizing stance on some of the new data-access features in Visual Studio 2005. For reasons only they understand, the Microsoft Visual Studio development team has chosen to hide some Visual Studio features that many of you have been using since the first release of Visual Studio. For example, every ADO.NET book, article, or course explains how to create an updatable DataSet with the DataAdapter Configuration Wizard (DACW). But when you start Visual Studio 2005, you won't find this wizard in the Toolbox—at least not in the July Community Technology Preview (CTP) build. The Command and Connection wizard icons for each of the providers are gone too. These features are still in the product, but Microsoft has hidden them. If you're like me, you still find uses for these productivity aids—especially when teaching folks how to use ADO.NET. Fortunately, it's not hard to expose them again. Just follow these steps:

  1. Start Visual Studio and create a Windows Forms project. You can create a project in any language.
  2. Pin down the Toolbox tab because you're going to create a new tab.
  3. Right-click below the items in the Toolbox and select Add Tab from the popup menu. Give your new tab a meaningful name such as Deprecated Data Components That Microsoft Doesn't Want Me to Use.
  4. Right-click again on your new tab, and select Choose Items to expose the Choose Toolbox Items dialog box. (Expect a long wait while it initializes.)
  5. Scroll down in the dialog box to the section for your data-access provider. For SQL Server, you need to add items from the list of SqlClient components. If you type S, the pointer will promptly move to the first S. You can also enter SqlClient in the Filter dialog box to locate all matching components, as Figure A shows. Just check the components you want to add to your custom menu.
  6. Repeat this process for the ODBC and OLE DB components that you want to expose in the Toolbar. When you're done, you should have a new Toolbox tab with the ADO.NET components you've used for the last three versions, as Figure B shows.

Unfortunately, not all of the productivity features we got used to in Visual Studio 2003 are still in Visual Studio 2005. For example, when you want to create a quick call to a stored procedure to build the Parameters collection, Visual Studio 2003 lets you drag a stored procedure from the Server Explorer to the form, and Visual Studio takes care of the rest. This method doesn't work in Visual Studio 2005. But I understand that one of the new refactoring add-ins can build a Parameters collection from a stored procedure, so all hope is not lost.