Last March, I wrote about a survey that Microsoft was conducting to gather feedback to help the company produce a database-modeling and design tool (see "Data Modelers, Arise, and Take Microsoft's New Survey" at http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/42026/42026.html ). I recently learned that Microsoft is soliciting additional feedback to ensure that it has all its customers' needs in mind as it decides what the data-modeling and design tool will include. Don't complain about Microsoft's lack of a quality tool in this space if you're unwilling to spend 15 minutes offering Microsoft feedback it can use to create the tool we've all been clamoring for. Even if you participated in the survey that I wrote about last March, please invest an additional 15 minutes as this is a different survey. I encourage all of you to visit the survey site at http://whdc.microsoft.com/vsdata/databasediagramming.aspx and let Microsoft know what features are most important to you.

Microsoft hasn't publicly committed to a specific time frame for the new data-modeling tool's release, but this is more than a fishing exercise. Microsoft recognizes the value of such a tool and is willing to make the necessary investment that will bring the tool to market. Tim Laverty, a program manager with the Microsoft Visual Studio Data Tools group, had this to say about the survey:

"We're running the survey in an attempt to learn what our database customers find most important in a data-modeling tool so we can plan our feature set for the post-Whidbey releases. People in the data-modeling community are very passionate and have diverse needs in a tool, and the survey results give us an analytical basis to prioritize what we build. The other thing that we really appreciate is that customers give us a ton of subjective feedback to balance the analytical data. Though it sounds like a cliche, we really do want to create the best dev tools on the market, and this data facilitates that."

The lack of a quality data-modeling and design tool for SQL Server has been a glaring omission in Microsoft's suite of tools. I'm willing to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt and believe it's ready to make a serious investment in building the type of data-modeling tool we want. But we need to tell them what we want. The survey will run through December 15; make sure you don't miss it.