Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The New Plan Viewer Rocks!

SQL Anywhere has had an XML-based "Graphical Plan" display in ISQL for many years, but Version 11 is introducing a separate "Plan Viewer" window with several improvements.

The big difference is you no longer have to go to the ISQL - Tools - Options - Plan tab to tell it "What kind of plan do you want?"... the Version 8, 9 and 10 Plan tabs are gone gone gone:

Now you can pick those options each time you ask for a plan. Here's what ISQL - SQL - Get Plan shows you in Version 11:

The Plan Viewer is an excellent example of productive dialog design, with "in your face" buttons instead of hidden popup / dropdown / flapdoodle menu options that are holdovers from IBM's "Common User Access" methodology of the 1980s.

Here's one quibble: Maybe putting the Get Plan button wayyyyy over on the right might not have been the most intuitive choice. But... that only confused me on a really wide screen, and only until I realized the button was there.

Another quibble is that the top "SQL" frame isn't resizable to see more (yet... maybe later).

There is a Hide SQL button at the bottom, and that's great, that should stay, it's way easier than drag - fumble - minimize.

Another "in your face" item is the Save button, a nice departure from the tiresome File pulldown.

But don't say "wizard"... the Plan Viewer is not a wizard... wizards are where ten windows replace one, with at most one useful button per window, plus Microsoft Bob graphics that do nothing to relieve the frustration.

The Plan Viewer is... well, it's exactly what it says it is, it's the Plan Viewer, all in one place.

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