This article lists 10 of the best free tools for managing, comparing, administering and developing databases. Even if you may have heard of some of these tools before, I’m confident that you’ll find a gem or two on this list.
Adminer is a database management tool that allows you to manage databases, tables, columns, relations, indexes, users, permissions, and more from a web-based user interface. It is packaged as a single PHP file (similar to phpMyAdmin) and has support for popular database management systems like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, MS SQL, Oracle and MongoDB. Different UI designs are available for you to download as CSS files.
When you load the Adminer page, you are asked to choose a database management system to connect to, along with the server name, database name and user credentials. Once you successfully login you are shown the database tables and can begin managing the database.
DBComparer is a database comparison tool for analysing the differences in Microsoft SQL Server database structures from an easy-to-use UI. Amongst others, you can compare database objects such as tables, columns, indexes, foreign keys, users, roles, schemas and stored procedures.
When you launch DBComparer, you choose which database to display on the ‘left side’ and which database to display on the ‘right side’ of the comparison window. You can explicitly specify what objects and properties you’d like to compare from the Compare Options tab. Once the comparison process is complete you are shown both databases side-by-side (with the differences highlighted in red or blue). When you select an object, the data is shown on the Properties window and the SQL syntax is shown in the SQL Differences window at the bottom.
EMS SQL Manager Lite for SQL Server allows you to create and edit SQL Server database objects and create, edit, execute and save SQL queries. It has a user-friendly interface and a lot of the functionality is wizard driven. It makes a good alternative to Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.
Note: EMS provide Lite versions for other RDBMS’ as well, so if you have Oracle or MySQL you can get the same tool to manage these databases.
When you run EMS SQL Manager Lite for SQL Server, you’ll first need to register a database to manage. Once you’ve done that, you begin by navigating through the DB Explorer window on the left hand side or by opening a SQL script.
Firebird is a powerful and lightweight open source SQL relational database management system for Windows and Linux. Features include full support for stored procedures and triggers, full ACID compliant transactions, incremental backups and multiple access methods (e.g. native/API, ODBC, OLEDB, .NET, Python, PHP, and Perl).
SQuirreL SQL Client is a JAVA-based database administration tool for JDBC compliant databases. It allows you to view the database structure and issue SQL commands. It supports databases such as Firebird, IBM DB2, InterBase, Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostreSQL, and Sybase.
When you launch the Squirrel SQL Client you will need to start by configuring the driver definition and the alias in order to connect to a database. The driver definition specifies the JDBC driver to use and the alias specifies the connection parameters.
SQLite Database Browser is an open source tool that allows you to create, design and edit SQLite database files. Features include the ability to create and modify databases, tables, indexes and records, search for records as well as import and export data. It also contains a log showing all the SQL commands that have been issued by the user and by the application itself.
When you open SQLite Database Browser, start by opening an existing database or creating a new database. Once you’ve loaded a database, you can view the database structure, browse data and execute SQL commands using the appropriate tabs.
DBeaver is an open source universal database tool for developers and database administrators that has a low memory footprint. It supports JDBC compliant databases such as MySQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, Firebird, SQLite, and Sybase. Its main features include the ability to browse and edit databases, create and execute SQL scripts, export data, transaction management and ER diagrams. Additionally, DBeaver’s functionality can be extended by the use of plugins.
When you open DBeaver for the first time, go to Database > New Connection to setup a new connection to a backend DBMS and load a database. When connected, the database will appear in the Database Navigator tab on the left hand pane of the main window.
DbVisualizer Free is a universal database tool that allows you to manage a wide range of databases including Oracle, Sybase, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, DB2, MySQL, Informix, H2, and SQLite. Features include a database browser to navigate through database objects, visual support for creating and editing database objects, the ability to import data from a file, a SQL Editor with auto-complete and visual query building support and database admin features like managing database storage and security. DbVisualizer Free runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.
When you launch DbVisualizer Free for the first time, a connection wizard pops up that guides you through the connection to a database. Once a connection has been established, the database appears in the Databases tab on the left hand pane of the main window. The right hand pane shows the properties and data related to the object you select from the left hand pane.
HeidiSQL is a database query tool that supports MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and PostreSQL databases. It allows you to browse and edit data, create and edit tables, views, procedures, triggers and scheduled events. Features include managing multiple servers from one window, exporting from one database server into another, bulk editing, an advanced SQL syntax editor, and database optimization and repair functions.
When you launch HeidiSQL for the first time, you’ll need to set up a connection to the database server. Use the navigation pane on the left hand side to view database tables and the tab on the right hand pane to manage database options, indexes, foreign keys, as well as create database queries.
FlySpeed SQL Query is a database query tool that aims to make working with data easy. It supports popular database servers such as MySQL, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL as well as office file formats like CSV and Excel. Using FlySpeed SQL Query you can find, browse and edit data in your database in grid format or via the customizable form view.
When you first launch FlySpeed SQL Query you will need to create a connection to a database via the database connection wizard. Once you do this, navigate to the database tables and views on the left hand pane and use the Query Builder to create queries.