I’m a really big fan of using operator properties for a lot of things, at least visually. Where things sort of fall down for that is copying and pasting things out.
For some stuff, you still need to head down to the XML.
Let’s say you have a stored procedure that accepts a bunch of parameters. The rest of this one isn’t important, but here you go:
CREATE OR ALTER PROCEDURE dbo.AwesomeSearchProcedure ( @OwnerUserId int = NULL, @CreationDate datetime = NULL, @LastActivityDate datetime = NULL, @PostTypeId int = NULL, @Score int = NULL, @Title nvarchar(250) = NULL, @Body nvarchar(MAX) = NULL )
A Plan Appears
Let’s say we grab a query plan for this thing from the plan cache or query store. We can get the properties of the select operator and see compile time values:
EXEC dbo.AwesomeSearchProcedure @OwnerUserId = 35004, @CreationDate = '20130101', @LastActivityDate = '20140101', @Title = N'SQL Server';
We get this back:
Again — nice visually — but it doesn’t do much for us if we want to recreate executing the stored procedure to get an actual execution plan.
It’s also not terrible helpful if we want to simulate a parameter sniffing situation, because we only have the compile time values, not the run time values.
Bummer. But whatever.
If we right click and select “show execution plan XML”, we can scroll way down to the bottom to find the XML fragment that holds what the properties display:
<ParameterList> <ColumnReference Column="@iTitle" ParameterDataType="nvarchar(250)" ParameterCompiledValue="N'SQL Server'" /> <ColumnReference Column="@iLastActivityDate" ParameterDataType="datetime" ParameterCompiledValue="'2014-01-01 00:00:00.000'" /> <ColumnReference Column="@iCreationDate" ParameterDataType="datetime" ParameterCompiledValue="'2013-01-01 00:00:00.000'" /> <ColumnReference Column="@iOwnerUserId" ParameterDataType="int" ParameterCompiledValue="(35004)" /> </ParameterList>
This still isn’t awesome, because we have to do some surgery on the XML itself to get values out.
It’s even worse if we have a parameterized application query, because not only do we need to make a DECLARE to assign values to these variables but we need to turn the query itself into dynamic SQL.
If we don’t do that, we’ll fall victim to a common pitfall: testing queries with local variables.
For most things, I absolutely adore using operator properties. For some things, you still need the XML.
It’d be nice if there were some fancy copy and paste magic that would do that for you, but so far it doesn’t exist.
Thanks for reading!
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