Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Random Online Utility: SQL Profiler Express

Here's a handy tool I stumbled upon this week: SQL Profiler Express. While not a web-based tool, it's still handy. It's a small (1.5 MB), free, open-source Windows application that provides SQL Profiler-like features for SQL Express 2005 and 2008. Somewhat ironically, the project is hosted on Google Code and not on Codeplex, but the software runs exactly as advertised.

For those not familiar with SQL Profiler, it is a tool from Microsoft that normally installs with full versions of SQL Server. It allows you to essentially "sniff," or "trace," all of the communication with an instance of SQL Server that you have permission to access. It is a very helpful tool for seeing what's really happening at the database level when debugging or optimizing your application. For example, you can use profiler to see exactly what SQL is being executed when you use OpenAccess ORM or LinqToSQL.
Unfortunately, SQL Profiler does not ship with SQL Express. Kind of a bummer since most .NET developers these days install the Express tools on their local dev machines. Enter SQL Profiler Express.
The tool provides most of the key functionality that you need as a developer from the "full" SQL Profiler, and as I said before, it works exactly as advertised. Point it at a SQL Server Express instance, define your trace parameters, and start watching the SQL activity. In some ways, I even prefer it over the real Profiler since it is small, lightweight, and provides a focused set of features.
Add it to your developer toolbox and be sure to thank the developers for contributing this to the community.


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