Contents Lab128 - Tools for Advanced Oracler Tuning and Monitoring. Reference Guide.

User Interface - Overview

Lab128 uses a standard GUI (graphical user interface) interface with some shortcuts to make navigation easy and efficient. It is mostly intuitive and self-descriptive, although it still makes sense to read this chapter.

Lab128 windows and their relationship with Oracle instance.

All activity in Lab128 is centered on an Oracle instance. You can connect to many Oracle instances, but anything you do is relevant to only one of them at any given time. The currently active window is a window that has the user's focus. The window belongs to only one Oracle instance, this instance is the current one. The menus and links will take effect in the context of the current Oracle instance.

When Lab128 starts for the first time, it shows an empty application window. You need to connect to an Oracle instance to have something to work with. Connect to the instance using Main menu | Instance | New. A standard login form will prompt for the connection details. If Oracle accepts your credentials, the Main window for that instance appears. It also means that a new Lab128 Instance monitor has been opened. The Instance monitor is represented by the Main window and set of child windows all collecting and providing data about same Oracle instance. The Instance Main window provides a big picture over what's happening in the Oracle instance. It is a convenient place to start exploring server activity. The information is presented dynamically in the form of graphs, labels, and tabular views (grids).

Shortcuts, hot spots, links.

Many other forms can be called from the Main window by using hot spots - the technique also known as drill-down. The user interface relies on the mouse; as the mouse pointer moves around, its shape changes to over the hot spots. In most cases the hot spots look like all-familiar web links. For example, move the mouse over the "Users" label in the left upper corner and a hint describing the hot spot / link will pop up. All tabular views in the Main windows are hot spots. Clicking the mouse over a hot spot opens another window containing details about that specific area. Of course, all these windows can be opened from the Main menu, View item. The names in this menu should be self-descriptive. Most of the windows can also be opened using buttons in the Toolbar.

Other windows may have other hot spots / links. The windows can be browsed by drilling down to more detail using hot spots. To return quickly to the Main window, press the house icon on the Main menu bar, or use Back and Next arrows on the Main menu bar to navigate between previously visited windows.

Performance graphs.

The Main window and some other windows contain graphs. These small graphs show the statistic's recent history in time, about 20 minutes. The right edge of the graph corresponds to the current time. There are vertical time marks indicating every 5th minute:

The graphs automatically adjust their vertical scale when it is appropriate. Simple graphs are convenient ways to get a quick view of a statistic's recent changes. To get a bigger and more detailed chart, click on any graph: a new Detailed Chart window will open. You can rescale this window or do other actions as described in the Detailed Chart window help. To combine several statistics in the same Detailed Chart window: go back to the Main window, click the mouse right button on the graph to get this pop-up menu:

Pop-up Menus.

Pop-up menus are used extensively throughout this application. The example of pop-up menu has been given in the previous chapter.

Here are more examples of how different elements can provide additional options through the pop-up menus:

For example, on this picture the SQL ID was right-clicked opening a pop-up menu with options to drill down to more details about this SQL statement. By the way, all SQL identifiers behave same way in all windows. The session identifiers (SID) provide similar pop-up menus.

This is another example; on this picture we want to copy OS Process ID into the clipboard to be used somewhere else.

As in any Windows application, pop-up menus are invoked by clicking the right mouse button when pointing the mouse over an area. The pop-up menu allows you to see and change properties or do other actions. All tabular views, graphs and Detailed Charts have pop-up menus. You can try to see if there is a pop-up menu by right-clicking on different controls in the windows.

Selected Time Interval.

Many of windows in Lab128 work in three modes:

Lab128 switches to one of the modes once you change time selection or clear selection. Some additional features and reports, for example Statspack report, are enabled only in the context of selected time interval.

Let's open Detailed Chart by clicking on any graph in the Main window, for example, on Physical Reads. In the opened window, find point in time you want to see the rate of physical reads. Move a mouse pointer to that position on the graph area and click. A vertical selection line should appear showing where selection was made. The left box in the bottom area indicates selected time. Value in the upper right corner of graph shows the rate of physical reads at that time.

Now select time interval by clicking at the begin time and then keeping the left button down and moving mouse to the end time. It can be done in opposite direction - clicking at the end time first, then moving to the begin time. As mouse moves, the selection changes and information updates. The right box at the bottom area shows end time of the selected time interval. See also Selecting time interval in Detailed Chart help.

Selecting time interval is very common step when exploring performance in the past and can be everywhere in exactly same way as described above. Each window can have its own selected time interval. Sometimes you want to switch to another window, while retaining selected time interval because you want to explore different aspects of this interval. This can be done in pop-up menu. For example, right-click and select "Show in SQL Explorer". This will open SQL Explorer and the selected time interval will be same as in the calling window.

Ordering data in tabular grid views.

Click on the column header to order data in the tabular view. To change direction of ordering, click again. Click once again to return back to unordered view. You can cycle though ordering modes until you get what you need. If you need to order on more than one column, press and hold Shift key, then select ordering for the second column, third etc.

Calling context-sensitive help with the F1 key.

Now that you know the basics of the user interface, you can start experimenting with Lab128. Remember, you can get context-sensitive help anywhere in the application by pressing the F1 key.