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Posted July 15, 2019
Graphical Tools for Accessing Azure Cosmos DB
By Marcin Policht
While the most common methods of interacting with Azure Cosmos DB involve programmatic access, there are times when you might want to perform a quick change or take a peek at some of documents in a collection. In such instances, it is typically more convenient to rely on the graphical interface. Fortunately, there are several options you can use to accomplish.
- Data Explorer:
The Azure portal includes Data Explorer, which provides a graphical tool embedded into the Azure Cosmos DB account blade for managing and viewing content of Azure Cosmos DB account. While the tool facilitates a wide range of management tasks, its interface is a bit cumbersome to use, primarily due to limited space allocated to it within the Azure portal.
- Cosmos DB Explorer:
The Cosmo DB Explorer offers a stand-alone, full-screen version of Data Explorer, which eliminates the primary nuisance of its Azure based counterpart. However, besides its extended real estate, it also simplifies the process of granting read-only or read and write access (permanently or temporarily, for the 24-hour period) on the database account level to users without Azure AD credentials (or without direct access to the Azure portal). To grant permanent access, you need to provide these users with either read-only or read-write (depending on the level of access you intend to grant) database account connection string (which you can retrieve from the Keys blade of the database account). To grant temporary access, you first need to retrieve either the read-write or read only access URL, both of which are revealed once you click the Open Full Screen button in the Data Explorer interface.
- Azure Storage Explorer:
The Azure Storage Explorer constitutes the proverbial Swiss Army knife when it comes to managing Azure Storage. Its capabilities have been recently extended to include support for Cosmos DB SQL API and MongoDB API (in public preview at the time of authoring this article). To connect to a Cosmos DB account, you can sign in to the corresponding Azure subscription or connect via a connection string (the same one you could use to connect from Cosmos DB Explorer). Azure Storage Explorer supports a number of Cosmos DB operational tasks, including creating and deleting databases, collection, documents, as well as management of stored procedures, triggers, and user-defined functions. In addition, Azure Storage Explorer supports management of Cosmos DB Emulator.
- Visual Studio Code:
You can install Azure Cosmos DB extension (currently in preview) in order to be able browse and query SQL API, MongoDB API, Azure Table, and Gremlin (Graph) based account databases from within the Visual Studio Code interface. Just as with the other tools, you can connect to them by either authenticating to the target Azure subscription hosting the account or by providing the corresponding connection string. The extension activates Cosmos DB Explorer, allowing you view and manage database, collections, graphs, stored procedures, and documents. You also have the option to carry out the same tasks on a Cosmos DB Emulator.
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