About Pace-Trace

Pace-Trace, a viewer for PeopleSoft SQL trace files, creates a spreadsheet-like grid summarizes the SQL contained within the file. Other functionality then allows the user to change what data is displayed, how it is displayed, and for what final purpose. Created by and for a developer to make the process of continually working through large trace files simpler and faster, the current product can be used by many levels on an implementation team – not just programmers. Read the full feature list below for more information about it.
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Full Feature List

Trace File Processing

  • Reads trace file statements and binds
    • Trace files are read including sql statements and subsequent lines containing bind variables. Pace-Trace will substitute each bind variable into the appropriate location into the original SQL statement.
  • Robust Cursor Handling
    • This one is complicated. Cursors are used extensively in trace files from AE and COBOL, and sometimes even online processing. Because of this, if you were to open a trace file yourself, you could easily not recognize the number of times a particular statement was executed because subsequent calls to an open cursor do not actually show the full original SQL, only any bind variables to apply to that cursor. In Pace-Trace, each subsequent call to an opened cursor will display in Pace-Trace using its full original SQL text.
  • Display INSERT statements as a grid
    • When SQL INSERT statements are written to insert one record (using the “VALUES” keyword), Pace-Trace can display the entire insert statement as a grid to make it easy to see what values populate each database column in the target table.
  • Auto-Commenting of SQL
    • After specifying the appropriate comment character for your database or development platform, SQL statements are commented to allow direct copy/paste from Pace-Trace into either your database or to build custom code. The commenting of SQL is used when creating SQL reports as well as creating the SQL text for INSERT statements.
  • Read COBOL Identifier
    • A unique feature to support COBOL trace files, the GETSTMT identifier contained inside these trace files can be helpful in locating the original SQL if it needs to be changed. This identifier will be displayed before the applicable SQL in any SQL reports generated from Pace-Trace.
  • Statement ID Determination
    • By default, the line # in the file is used to identify each SQL statement; however, you can choose to have Pace-Trace look for a unique identifier at the beginning of the line of even specify column positions in the file which contain an identifier. This can be useful to locate the original SQL inside larger trace files when you have opened only part of the file, as the line # is relative to the point when you began reading the file.
  • Display Duration
    • You can choose to display the duration contained within the trace file and sort by this, which can be useful in determining performance issues. (Note: The duration indicator within trace files is of questionable accuracy, and not all trace files contain duration)
  • Savepoints
    • When viewing trace files which are in the process of changing (typically online trace files), either save a portion of the file or simply mark the current file position as a savepoint (By choosing “File > Reset This Trace File…”) to continue refreshing the file from this position. For example, you may wish to create a savepoint after recording a journal entry. You can then keep reloading the trace file from that fixed point as you perform other tasks without worrying that this position in the file is lost.

Trace File Navigation

  • Easier navigation between statements
    • When viewing the “SQL Detail” view for a selected statement, you may now move up or down through the trace file without ever returning to the grid.
    • At the SQL Detail view, your current position in the statements is indicated, as well as pushbuttons to easily move you up or down through the file. In addition, you can use the mouse scroll wheel or the PageUp/PageDown keys to move through the file.
  • Mouse Scroll-Wheel support
    • When looking at the main view (the list of all SQL statements read), use your mouse wheel to scroll through the list. Once inside the SQL detail window, hold down [Ctrl] to use the scroll wheel to move between SQL statements.
  • Extensive keyboard shortcuts
    • In the main list, use your cursor keys (up/down) to move between items, hit [Enter] to open an item, and hit [Esc] to return to the main list.
    • When viewing SQL Detail, use Ctrl+PageUp/PageDown to move between statements and Ctrl-A to select all text.
    • Almost all controls on the main screen have Alt-key shortcuts (hold the [Alt] key to display the shortcut key on the control)
  • Window Resizing
    • Resize the main Pace-Trace to increase the displayed statements in the main view.
  • Interactive Sorting
    • Click either the “Line #”, “Dur” (if displayed), or “Table Name” column headings to sort by that column. Your currently selected item will remain selected and displayed in the newly-sorted listed.
  • Easily get summary data
    • Right-click on the main grid to copy the entire grid, just the table names, or just the unique table names from the main list. A helpful case for this involves determining tables a process writes to or modifies: Load the trace file, uncheck the “SELECT” checkboxes, then right-click and choose to “Copy distinct table names.”

File Handling

  • Assign File Extensions
    • Depending on the configuration of PeopleSoft at your location, a trace file may have one of several extensions. Assign each of them to Pace-Trace to allow you to double-click on the file to open Pace-Trace with that trace file.
  • Now Reads Unix Files
    • Now reads Unix files natively in addition to PC-based trace files. Since the Unix text file format is different from the PC file format, previous versions required you to first convert the entire trace file to the DOS format before opening the file. For customers with direct access to Unix directories containg trace files, the process of using Pace-Trace becomes much simpler (and less time-consuming), since you can now reload only the most recently modified part of the trace without converting the entire file.
  • Text Editor selection
    • Most developers have a preferred text editor (TextEdit, UltraEdit, etc.). This text editor will be used when either viewing a trace file or viewing an output SQL report from within the application.
  • SQL Report Creation
    • Use Pace-Trace to create text reports of the contents of the trace file, formatted in standard SQL format, with comments between each indicating the original line number for this statement in the source trace file, the statement number in this report, as well as comment characters in INSERT statements indicating which column is receiving the value.
    • This type of external report can be useful to run an entire sequence of SQL in batch, send trace file output to another user without Pace-Trace, or use as a base for developing code.
  • Load only parts of the trace file
    • Since many trace files can be huge, you have the option of loading only the last part of the file. If you choose to Save the loaded file, only the part of the file you are viewing is saved. You can effectively perform a “tail” on a trace file to extract only the last 1 MB from a 500 MB trace file using this method.
    • For trace files that are changing (as in an online trace file), you can hit Refresh (F5) in Pace-Trace to just load the portion of the file which has been added since you last loaded the file, or all statements since you last saved off a portion of the file. An example of using this functionality would involve loading an online trace file with tracing turned on, performing some operation in the application, and then hitting refresh again in Pace-Trace to see just the new statements. In this manner, you can gather exactly what happens during a particular event.
  • Favorites
    • Use the “Favorites” menu to to provide quick access to certain trace files. For a particular troubleshooting effort, there may be several trace files you frequently switch between. In addition, you may want to store each online trace file location for several databases.