Spotlight on ApexSQL Doc 2008

When you launch ApexSQL Doc you will be confronted by the activation screen, this screen allows you to activate the product using your activation key, or to continue with the 30 day evaluation.

When you choose to evaluate the product this screen will appear every time you launch ApexSQL Doc. The progress bar at the top of the screen displays the amount of days you have left on your evaluation.

Once you have reached the 30 limit, the product will be deactivated until you have provided a valid activation key. Once you have obtained the activation key and activated the product, the activation screen will no longer be displayed at startup.

One of the enhanced features of ApexSQL Doc 2008 is its new project management capabilities. This is incidentally also the first step in the documentation creation process. 

What’s nice about this is that it allows you to save the settings of everything that you’d like to document as a project and then use it again in the future as a template for other documents.

It also allows you to recall the settings as they were in the previous document you created, or you could start out using the application defaults. 

The Interface
There are two main sections of the application interface. 



   The Graphical Treeview on the left of the screen; is a sort of project explorer, which automatically adjusts itself to include all of the necessary steps to allow you to select your preferred options at a more granular level, based on your previous selections.
   The main window to the right of the Treeview displays the various options pertaining to the selected node.


Data Sources
The first step in ApexSQL Doc is to connect to the servers and databases which you would like to document. In previous versions of ApexSQL doc you were only able to document one server at a time. In this new version you can connect to multiple database servers and Integration Services Servers at the same time.

To add servers you have to select the server type which you would like to add using the Data Source drop down and click on the add button.  The various options are:

  • Database Engine and
  • Integration services

Add Database Servers
If you have selected the Database Engine option you will see the following when you click the add button: 

This is fairly straight forward, just select the server you want to connect to, enter your authentication details and click on the connect button.  If you want to document databases from multiple servers, repeat this process for every server. 

Once the server is added you are then required to select at least one of the databases to be included in the documentation.  ApexSQL Doc won’t allow you to continue if you haven’t selected a database in the database selection section. 

If you have a lot of databases on the same server and you don’t feel like manually selected every single database, you can use the “except” option. ApexSQL doc will then document all databases except for the ones you have selected. So if you didn’t select any, it will simply document all the databases on the server.  This “except option” can be seen throughout ApexSQL Doc and functions in the same way for all options.

Just as a matter of interest, notice how the Graphical Treeview now has a multitude of new nodes. 


Add an Integration Services package
There are a couple of ways to add an Integration Services package; these depend on where the packages have been stored.  When you have selected Integration Services in the Data Source dropdown and clicked on the add button, you are presented with this screen:

The Package Location dropdown has three options. 

  • SQL Server 
    • If you have deployed your packages to your SQL Server you should choose this option.
  • SSIS Package Store
    • This option includes all packages which are currently managed by the selected server
  • File System
    • This option will allow you to browse to any SSIS package file, even if it has not yet been deployed.

Packages added from the file system are added directly to the main window. For the Package Store or SQL Server option you will be required to select the packages you’d like to document from the Package Selection Grid. 


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