Three very useful open source SQL editors

Wed, Mar 26, 2014

Three very useful open source SQL editors

This is an update to Two very useful open source SQL editors. A year later and I have added one more SQL editor to my first list. I keep this post updated to give context to lists of Open Source SQL front ends such as this one Open Source SQL Clients in Java and SQuirreL SQL Alternatives. I constantly try Open Source SQL front-ends and this post includes the ones I think you should seriously consider.

Working in Business Intelligence (BI), I write and execute SQL statements every day. Actually it is more like every other minute. The SQL tool I use is very important to me. Over the years I have mainly stuck to SQuirreL SQL Client and wandered off every once in a while to try out different tools. One thing is for sure, no one tool will have everything you need. At some point you have to make a choice based on the features most important to you.

Different database vendors will most likely have their own front-end specifically developed for their database. Oracle has SQL Developer and Sybase has Interactive SQL and so on. I would recommend any budding BI practitioner to probably start with the tool supplied by the database vendor. You are not likely to have compatibility and connectivity issues allowing you to get productive much quicker.

If you use more than one database at a time and want to use the same an Open Source SQL front-end I would recommend one of the following:

Don’t be fooled by the dated screen shots on the web pages, these tools look better than that. They are incredibly feature filled tools that with some learning will meet you SQL development needs. Each tool needs a series of blog posts to do justice to the available features. Here are some features technical and not technical that they have in common that have led me to recommend these tools.

None technical reasons:

  • Open Source Software, all three are free for commercial use. The source code is available for those with the necessary skills to debug or contribute features.
  • All under active development with regular builds being released. Probably about a build (new version) a month. I use the latest testing builds and don’t stick to the stable versions. For the faint at heart stick to the stable release versions.
  • Active forums, community members and primary developers, to some degree answer some questions posed on the forums or mailing list.
  • Cross platform, all applications run on different platforms ,Windows, Linux and Mac, due to the fact that are written in Java.

Technical Reasons

  • JDBC used for database connectivity, which means that 99.9999% of the time you will be able to connect to any database. Most databases provide a JDBC driver.
  • Data explorer component from all products are quite customisable. It is possible to customise the schema’s that display, customise the SQL statements generated such as the INSERT, UPDATE or DDL statements created.
  • Data import and export wizards for data in various formats including CSV, Microsoft Excel formats XLS and XLSX.
  • All the tools keep SQL history. You can customise how many statements are kept in history.

I would urge you to take a serious look at these two tools because you will not get much better generic Open Source SQL tools. I have not included HeidiSQL because it is MySQL specific and runs on Windows only. It is a fantastic tool when you are only using MySQL. TOra is another great tool that I found only works well with Oracle.

Am I missing a great Open Source SQL front end out there? I would like to hear from you.

Tags bi/open source software/sql/sql editor/

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