Are you a master at SQL? Or are you just getting familiar with the language? Regardless of what database system you use, nothing is better than a set of quality GUI based applications to help you work.
MySQL has released a set of GUI tools that looks very complete. I don’t do a lot with direct MySQL querying, but these tools look very nice. They are all released under the GPL, so they are free (as in beer). And best of all, they are cross platform! Well, not quite the full suite of apps, but it’s really nice that they’ve already started down that path. This is yet another great reason to look at MySQL for your database needs.
George Poulose has developed an application aptly named Query Tool. There are two versions, one using ADO and the other using ODBC. Both versions are Windows only. I used this for a short time at work to connect to an Informix database, and it worked like a charm. The DBAs ended up shutting off ODBC access outside of the normal application, making any third-party application unusable. That sucked, but life moves on. Great product from George. There is a 34-day trial on the software, but right now I’m not coming up with the official license fee. This is a great, simple product to use, and relatively cheap (if I remember correctly).
95% of my database work is done on Microsoft SQL Server 2000. I’m a DBA of this system, so I’ve got all of the fun tools installed on my workstation. I absolutely love Query Analyzer. Here are some tips from other users of Query Analyzer. Along with QA I have Enterprise Manager installed. This is a good product, but there’s nothing to it that makes me excited to get to use it. While these tools are good, you have to have MS-SQL to use them which to some is a drawback (a discussion for another post).
And last, but definitely not least, is Aqua Data Studio. ADS takes the MySQL GUI suite, and the MS-SQL suite, and many other suites and wraps them all up into one fantastic product. ADS works with most (if not all) relational databases. While it does the obligatory query editing and execution, it also has an import/export utility, a DBA toolset, a query builder, and lots more. Another major benefit is that it is cross platform. The one potential hurdle is the price tag of $399. If you are in an academic setting, they have special pricing for you, otherwise this might be hard to justify. But, if you are looking for a single product that can work with a variety of relational databases on a variety of client platforms, ADS is an excellent solution.