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Backup SQL Diagrams In Less Than 5 Minutes

, 16 Oct 2009
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Import, export and move your SQL diagram around using sysdiagrams

Fancy Diagram

Introduction

Many times I had to generate databases from scripts, sometimes I use scripts to load data into tables but always I have the same problem with the diagrams, I keep losing them... you may also have this problem when using SQL Server on a shared hosting (most of the shared hosting companies will not grant you permissions for diagrams) so whenever you restore a copy of your online database, you lose your diagrams.

A good diagram is a key for understanding the data flow in a project. It could be a monster diagram with 20 pages and relationships that takes hours to prepare (by the way, you can also use copy and paste through your diagrams to modify and design your tables).

Anyway, my point is that using sysdiagrams (a system table used in SQL Server 2005 and above), you can very easily backup and restore your diagrams. Just keep in mind that you must have the database structure on your source and destination databases.

Using the Code

You can do it in less than 5 minutes (no kidding). The attached script refers to a sample Microsoft database named "AdventureWorks" that comes with SQL Server but you can easily apply it to any database. First make sure that your database can use diagrams.

You may need to set a database owner, do it from your Database Properties -> Files.

Database Properties

You may also need to click Yes (in order to create one or more support objects):

Create Support Objects

You can manually create new database diagrams or copy the existing ones (if any):

SELECT * FROM [dbo].[sysdiagrams] ORDER BY [name] ASC

Query Results

Copy the [definition] value from the query results (or any other diagram) and paste it to the INSERT script. (Please note that the value may seem empty, but copy it anyway and it will have a value when you paste it.)

Use AdventureWorks

-- Clear all diagrams (backup first)
-- DELETE FROM [dbo].[sysdiagrams]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- Create ExampleDiagram (all tables on which this diagram is based on must be in place)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
INSERT INTO [dbo].[sysdiagrams] ([name] ,[principal_id] ,[version] ,[definition])
VALUES
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)

-- Show all available diagrams
SELECT * FROM [dbo].[sysdiagrams] ORDER BY [name] ASC

That's it. Now you can save the new script and use it to recreate your diagrams.

Points of Interest

This is just a "manual" way of doing it, you can iterate through all diagrams and generate a script that saves all of them at once (go ahead - make my day).

History

  • 16th October, 2009: Initial post

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Yovav
CEO People, Inc.
United States United States
CEO and founder of People, Inc.
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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionManually scripting large diagrams can result in "the docfile has been corrupted" PinmemberHiTechMagic8-Jan-14 4:21 
GeneralGood, Clean and Simple Pinmembergaurav_verma_mca15-Oct-09 19:52 
Great article and a good tool

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