What’s next in ApexSQL Plan 2017

In the initial version of our new product ApexSQL Plan 2017, a number of useful features and enhancements will be included.

Query execution plan graphics

One of the main features of ApexSQL Plan is the ability to create and manipulate with actual or estimated query execution plan graphics. It is also possible to manipulate with individual parts of query execution plan, such as nodes and connectors.

Customizable operation and data flow properties

This feature allows users to manage property details for each operation in the execution plan. These details can be included or excluded from the tooltip by clicking on the star button which is a “on/off switch” for each property in the tooltip.

Details for each data flow in query execution plans are also customizable. Using the same principal, include or exclude properties and review them in the tooltip.

Another impressive feature in the query execution plan view is that it can identify a missing index.

Operation cost highlight and data flow line thickness

Costs by” option allows the user to review the highest cost operations within the execution plan, and highlight them by CPU, IO or both combined (CPU+IO). This feature helps in finding which table should be focused on to enhance the query.

Line width by” option controls the representation of high rows/data size usage with thicker lines of connectors by setting preferred criteria – data size or rows count.

Layout options panel

Using the Layout options panel, it’s easy to customize execution plan diagram layout by zooming, filtering, stretching, flattening, setting layout modes and link styles, rotating, or restoring default values.

Wait stats analysis

Another new feature which allows the analysis of wait stats for executed queries, with a collection of all wait statistics along with correct wait time, and signal time.

IO by table tab

The IO by table tab is used for analyzing the number of logical reads including LOB, physical reads including read-ahead and LOB, and can be also used to analyze how many times a database table was scanned.

Query columns tab

The Columns tab is used for reviewing all columns used in the plan, and their associated operations and indexes.

Expressions tab

The Expressions tab shows simplified and expanded expressions that are used in the selected query, and allows implicit conversions within.

XML viewer

Another great feature is the XML viewer which displays the execution plan in XML format it also allows exporting the results to XML files. The XML viewer is located in the Plan XML tab.

Query version history

This feature is used to display the history of different versions of query executions for the current application tab. To see the version history of the desired query, click the History button in the main ribbon bar, then select records to choose which version of execution plan will be loaded, and include comments within particular version of the query.

Query performance

Using this feature, you can get a list of slowest queries recently executed by defined criteria and collected from SQL Server with provided all important details. To activate the Query performance tab, click the Performance button in the main ribbon bar.

Query store

Another addition to ApexSQL Plan is the Query store tab. Using this feature, you can review query execution data collected from SQL Server 2016 Query store. To activate the Query store tab, click the Query store button in the main ribbon bar. The Query store feature is supported for SQL Server 2016 version and higher.

Each row in the Query store tab contains a SQL query with a SELECT statement. Once mouse hovered the whole query text will appear in the tooltip and can be copied by using the copy button in the lower right corner of the tooltip.

Join diagrams

Join diagrams are used to graphically display relationships between database tables involved in the execution plan. If a query contains a JOIN statement, the corresponding diagram will be generated in the Join graph tab.

Deadlock diagram analysis

ApexSQL Plan can be also used to open deadlock files. Once a deadlock file is loaded the deadlock diagram will be shown which can be analyzed to identify the cause of a deadlock.

HTML and XML exports

Almost every tab in ApexSQL Plan can be exported in HTML and XML formats for later use. The export options are available for every column by right clicking and selecting the desired option in the context menu.

When a grid is exported, you will be prompted with a message, if you want to open the exported file right away.

New GUI themes

ApexSQL Plan will include three graphical interface themes. From which the White theme is set by default but it can be changed to Colorful or Dark theme to give it a smooth new look and make it more appealing.

(Dark theme look)

Theme related settings can be changed in the Options window by selecting the desired theme and clicking OK.

SQL Server Management Studio integration

By integrating ApexSQL Plan into Server Management Studio, you can view the execution plan from SSMS directly in ApexSQL Plan. To do this, just right-click the execution plan and in the context menu select the “View with ApexSQL Plan” option.

April 26, 2017