Tuesday, October 2, 2007

MySQL: You've come a long way baby

I think I downloaded my first version of the MySQL database a few years ago. Just to mess around with in my spare time. I probably downloaded a GUI as well, but do not recall being very impressed with it. Evidenced by the fact that its not still installed on my computer and I have little to no memory of it.

Well, there have been many improvements since then. Over the years I upgraded to MySQL 4 then 5. But in all that time I never got around to downloading a GUI client. Yep .. I have been using the command line client all this time. Say what you will, but it does force you to learn commands and syntax, in a way that a GUI does not.

Yesterday I downloaded the MySQL GUI Tools Bundle for 5.0. It consists of the MySQL Administrator, Query Browser, System Tray Monitor and Migration Toolkit. The install was fast and I was connected within minutes. I have to say I was impressed when I opened up the query browser. Its sleek, fast and has some great features. I am sure it is obvious by now I that I do not usually use drag & drop for building queries (and before you ask, yes I actually have used a GUI for other databases, just not MySQL) Despite my command line bias, I was impressed with the visual query building features.

Drag a table from the Object browser to one of the buttons beneath the Query Area and MySQL automatically generates the base sql statement. Drag another related table onto the "Join Table(s)" button and the query browser will automatically generate the JOIN code on the related columns.

Drag a table or view onto a Resultset tab and the data is automatically displayed in the Resulset window. You can make modifications directly in the Resultset grid. Changed values are highlighted and committing or rolling back the changes is as simple as clicking the apply or discard button.

The Export Resultset feature is a real time-saver. I was pleased to see it supports CSV, HTML, XML, Excel and PList format. Though I think the Excel format is simply XML and is supported for XP and higher.

The query browser also provides create procedure / function templates.

All in all some great features and that is without mentioning the Administrator, System Tray Monitor or the MySQL Workbench tool for data modeling, which is available as a separate download.

As I shutdown my computer last night I thought MySQL, "you've come a long way baby!"


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