Solved: search text in all sql server stored procedure

Understanding the requirement of SQL Server Stored procedures, we often find ourselves in the need to search for specific text in all of them. Be it for debugging, identifying dependencies, or merely inspecting the use of a certain table, column or any other SQL element. This task, however, can be quite tedious if performed manually. In this article, we’ll discuss how to do it in a more efficient way, by scripting our way out.

Task Simplification with SQL Scripts

Utilizing the power of SQL scripts we can turn this laborious task into a quick and simple process. Rather than individually examining every stored procedure, we can directly query the database’s system views to search for a particular string within them. This solution is incredibly versatile as it is compatible with most SQL Server versions.

This procedure’s principle is very straightforward – it’s all about retrieving the data from the sql_modules view with a simple select statement. The sys.sql_modules system view contains a row for each object that has an associated SQL module. SQL modules are basically any routines or objects that are created from a SQL Server Data Manipulation Language (DML) statement-(e.g., stored procedures, views, functions).

The SQL script to perform this operation would be:

SELECT OBJECT_NAME(sm.object_id) AS object_name, 
       OBJECT_DEFINITION(sm.object_id) AS definition
FROM sys.sql_modules AS sm
WHERE sm.definition LIKE '%your_text%'

Diving into SQL Code

In the given SQL code, you need to replace ‘your_text’ with the string you are looking for. The query will return a list of object names (Stored Procedure, Function, View, etc.) and their corresponding definitions that include the specified search text. This way you can easily identify all instances of the specific text you are searching for.

Understanding the Code:

  • OBJECT_NAME(sm.object_id) is the name of the object that contains the specified text.
  • OBJECT_DEFINITION(sm.object_id) is the definition of the object, i.e., the SQL script of the object.

Please make sure that if the text you are looking for is part of a SQL keyword, this query will also return the objects where this keyword is being used. Hence it is advisable to search for distinctive keywords.

Additional Considerations

While this solution speeds up the process significantly, there are some considerations to keep in mind. The definition column in sys.sql_modules has a max size of 4000 characters. If you have a stored procedure longer than that, the text will be truncated. This could potentially cause some occurrences of the search text to be lost. The solution, however, is controlled by setting the ‘TEXTSIZE’ option to its maximum value of 2147483647.

This might not be the most conventional use of SQL scripting, but it most certainly proves the versatility and simplification it brings to the daily tasks of database professionals. It is a prime example of how understanding and efficiently using the tools at hand can significantly improve SEO and productivity.

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