Product Reviews

Debugging SQL

DevPartner DB might soon become your SQL toolbox fave.

DevPartner DB provides a standalone environment for testing SQL Server 7.0 and 2000 stored procedures and triggers. It includes a lot of features that are missing from the basic SQL Server tools, including check in/check out, private workspaces to organize the objects you're working with, and a debugger that can single step, breakpoint, and more.

The core of the product is its debugging capabilities. You can launch a stored procedure from the tool's UI, or you can catch the execution from an application and debug when it's been called with actual data. You can also edit variables on the fly if you'd like to experiment with validation or boundary condition issues.

DevPartner DB also includes some performance monitoring tools. You can keep track of locks that are blocking stored procedures. You can also profile performance right down to the level of individual lines of T-SQL code. Combined with the native query plan tools, this gives you a fast way to home in on trouble spots in your application's database.

I also liked the GREP search utility that's integrated with the product. You can search through data, but you can also search through code. For example, if you have a complexly-nested set of stored procedures, you can search to find out which ones use a particular temporary table or call another SP.

Overall, DevPartner DB seems to be a fine tool if your focus is on SQL Server development. Many of its capabilities can be duplicated by a database project in Visual Studio .NET (though the integrated profiling and user-definable project trees are among the features that would be hard to copy) so this might not be the best choice if you only do occasional database work. But as a data-oriented developer I'd love to have it in my toolbox.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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