Great Tools

There are many great tools out there to make our work lives easier. Here are some of my favorite tools that I use. I will add to this list as I have time, so come back often.

  • Red Gate’s SQL Search is a FREE plug in for SSMS. This is a great tool that can be used to look for SQL Objects that have specific keywords. You can filter by SQL Object type, database, and Database Server instance. For example, I was looking for a recursive CTE that I had written in the past. I narrowed my search to stored procedures and entered the keyword WITH. I was then able to scan through a grid of possible matches. Once I found the stored procedure I was looking for, I double clicked it and it took me to that object in the SSMS object explorer.
  • SQL Sentry Plan Explorer comes with a FREE and paid versions. There is also a FREE plugin for SSMS which I highly recommend downloading. This amazing product is used to get extra information about the execution plans created in SSMS.
    • The FREE version has quite a bit of functionality. You can look each of the execution plans for each statement in the query that was run. You can get extra information on thread information and additional statistics on the query. You can also see the number of rows returned in the execution plan its self.
    • The Pro version is the paid version. It has additional features that include the ability to save ALL the information from each time you executed your query and give each execution some notes. I love this feature. You are also given an additional tab that contains the WAIT STATS.
    • The plugin for SSMS give you an additional option when you right click the execution plan in SSMS to take the Execution plan information into the SQL Sentry plan Explorer product. This is a great feature for when you realize you need more information that what you see in SSMS.
  • Balsamiq is a great tool to use for creating mock-ups. They have templates you can start from, or you can start from scratch. I use it to create mock-ups of reports. The mock-ups look hand drawn so I don’t have to worry about my users thinking that they are finished reports. I created a template with our standard attributes like our logo, the location of the title, and the location of the parameters.
  • Snagit is a screen capture tool. It is a very versatile tool. You can capture images of your desktop with menus open. You can tell Snagit that you need it to capture the image of a scrolling window so that you don’t have to paste multiple images together. And my favorite feature is you can annotate the images elegantly. Most of the graphic images in my blog posts are done using Snagit.
  • Coffee Cup HTML Editor is a great FREE tool that can be used for basic HTML editing. I use it to create simple HTML pages when I don’t need any frills.

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