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SQL Server Execution Plans, 2nd Edition by Grant Fritchey

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Chapter 3: Text and XML Execution Plans for Basic Queries

Chapter 2 described how to read graphical execution plans, building your understanding of what operators do and how the data flows from one operator to the next. Learning how to read graphical execution plans is not wasted time, because what you learned there also applies to reading text and XML execution plans. While these plans don't have icons and Property sheets, they consist of the exact same operators and properties; so, by learning how to read graphical execution plans, you also learn how to read text and XML execution plans.

In early versions of SQL Server, only text-based execution plans were available and many people found them hard to read, especially when dealing with complex ...

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