SQL Server stored-procedure watch, or Better 'finger-pointing' through software

[PROGRAMMERS REPORT, OCTOBER 8, 2002] -- Among the finger-pointing games in development today, none are more common than those accompanying the discussions between application developers and database administrators when an application rolls out and proves to be too slow. The target of discussion usually centers on somebody's stored procedure.

Now, with a few advanced stored-procedure debuggers on the market, the quality of discussion in these finger-pointing games may improve. Tools such as Compuware Corp.'s DevPartner DB for Microsoft SQL Server dig down and uncover activity that hitherto may have been pretty much a ''black-box'' problem.

At last month's VSLive! 2002 in Orlando, Fla., Compuware announced the availability of an update to its workbench for debugging stored procedures on SQL Server. New features include stored-procedure performance profiling abilities that, according to company representatives, are an advance on what Microsoft makes available as part of the database. For developers whose programs may be criticized, but who do not have much pull in the database department, the software provides a simple method for evaluating stored procedure performance in their applications.

''It lets you walk through the stored procedure,'' Scott Peerbolte, a product support engineer at Compuware told Programmers Report on the Orlando show floor. ''You can then debug a stored procedure in the context of a running app.

''You may find that an app calls a stored procedure on the database, and it seems to be bombing,'' added Peerbolte. ''Now you can capture the parameters being passed in, start the debug session and watch the execution on the database.''

Such capability should be useful to application developers, who are the ones ultimately responsible for making their app work. ''DBAs don't want to be developers,'' noted Peerbolte. Of course, that can become a problem when issues seem to arise on the database side of things.

''We can reduce the finger-pointing, or at least give DBAs and developers less things to point at,'' said Peerbolte.

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About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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