7 Applications to Make Working with MySQL Databases Easier

May 12 2008 by Jacob Gube | 35 Comments

MySQL is the most popular open-source database. Whether you’re an aspiring web application developer or a person working on an existing database-driven web application like a content management system, ecommerce platform, or blogging platform — there are a variety of handy applications that you can use to make MySQL database design and administration (relatively) a breeze. So if you find yourself in a position where you have to work with MySQL, you don’t have to use a command-line interface, check out these 7 outstanding applications to help you create, write, manage, and visualize your database.

1. TurboDbAdmin

TurboDBAdmin - Screenshot

TurboDBAdmin is a free web-based AJAX application that helps you manage, explore, and edit MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. It gives you the ability to export your database into a downloadable file which you can keep as a back up in case you need to restore your database. Installation is very simple, just upload the application to your web server, edit the config.php file to reflect your database information, and it’s ready to go — just navigate to your installation directory in your web browser to access the application. It works in Apache and IIS HTTP servers, and requires PHP installed and enabled on the web server.

TurboDBAdmin demo page

2. EMS SQL Manager for MySQL

EMS SQL Manager for MySQL

EMS SQL Manager for MySQL is a first-rate graphical interface tool for MySQL database administration and development. It comes in two versions: the Full version (which isn’t free) and Lite version which is still feature-packed. The Lite version of the EMS SQL Manager for MySQL allows you to effortlessly create and manage users and permissions without having to use a command-line interface. It also has several SQL editors that you can use that have syntax highlighting/coloring to make queries easier to read.

View the Feature List of EMS SQL Manager

3. MySQL GUI Tools

TurboDBAdmin - Screenshot

MySQL GUI Tools is a bundle of graphical user interface tools that includes MySQL Administrator 1.2, MySQL Query Browser 1.2, and MySQL Migration Toolkit 1.1. MySQL Administrator is a GUI for managing databases and has database optimization features, rapid back up and restoration of databases, access to log and error files, and more. The MySQL Query Browser gives you a script editor that can help easily edit and debug troublesome queries, among other things. MySQL Migration Tool Kit allows you to simplify the process of transferring MySQL databases into other server environments, providing features such as remote server-to-server migration and optimization of migration processes by creating scripts you can run again if you move or copy databases frequently.

4. phpMyAdmin

phpMyAdmin - Screenshot

phpMyAdmin is a browser-based MySQL database administration tool written in PHP. It’s my personal graphical interface administration tool of choice because it’s simple to use and has a big list of features and options. You can easily export a database for back up or migration into another server environment. You can also import a database effortlessly. Optimizing a database is a one-click affair, and is useful to try if your web applications seem sluggish (be sure to back up your database first though).

phpMyAdmin demos page

5. Instant SQL Formatter

Instant SQL Formatter

Instant SQL Formatter is a web-based application that “beautifies” your SQL code. It’s not strictly a MySQL database tool as it supports other databases such as MS SQL and Oracle. It can output scripts for many popular languages such as PHP, VB.NET, Java, and C#. There’s also a desktop version that has added functionalities such as additional formatting options, batch conversion of files, and highlighting/colorizing SQL statements.

6. DB Designer 4

DB Designer 4 - Screenshot

DB Designer 4 is another excellent visual database editor for MySQL. DB Designer 4 is an open source project released under the GNU GPL license and is available for Linux and Windows OS. It allows developers to create and share plug-ins to extend the existing features of DB Designer 4. It has two modes: Design mode – which is a visualization tool for creating and maintaining databases, and Query Mode – which lets the developer build complex SQL queries for use with PHP or another scripting language. DB Designer 4 also has a full set of documentation options to help you manage and record information about your database.

View DB Designer 4 screenshots

7. WWW SQL Designer

WWW SQL Designer - Screenshot

WWW SQL Designer allows you to model databases via your web browser. It’s a great way to document your database design, just use the print screen function key on your keyboard (or your preferred screen-capturing application), paste it into an image editor or word processing software, and you’ll have a document of your database model. Once you’re satisfied with the model, you can auto-generate the MySQL code. WWW SQL Designer is a simpler alternative to more complicated desktop applications, and if you just want to quickly create a database schema example, you can just use the live demo without installing anything.

WWW SQL Designer live example

Have you got a favorite MySQL application or tool? Share it with us on the comment sections.


Amit Singh

May 13th, 2008

why didn’t it came to my mind first to publish this list… :D

I think of the list i use phpMyAdmin and DBDesigner most, as WWW Sql designer it is really good and used it, before i came to know about DBDesginer.


May 13th, 2008

i use SQLyog.. cool GUI, full funtional, remote access, ssh etc

Neil Smith

May 13th, 2008

I usually use HeidiSQL http://www.heidisql.com/

Pretty useful standalone client – multi windows, syntax highlighting, export, BLOB editor, DB/table name completion etc.

Ran Baron

May 13th, 2008

I second Ol.keene, SqlYog from http://www.webyog.com/ is by far the most advanced and user friendly mySql Gui out there today, with http tunneling and a free community version you can’t go wrong. for web access I would recommend phpMyAdmin long time favorite.

Amit Singh

May 13th, 2008

you have missed one one type of application, for creating diff between two databases layout.

check out 8th MySQL tool missed by Six Revision List

Matthew Weber

May 14th, 2008

I would love to see a list of MySQL fronts ends for Mac OS X. I’m still using a very very old application called Cocoa MySql. It hasn’t seen any serious updates to for years, but its efficient and well thought out UI keeps me coming back. You’ll have to use a hack version of it to get it to work with MySQL 5, however.

Matt Walsh

May 15th, 2008

The Mysql GUI tools are decent but the Query Browser crashes constantly – at least on a Mac.

Rob Merrell

May 17th, 2008

@Mathew Webber:

I’ve found that SQLyog works fantastically with wine under Linux. You might get the same results on OS X.

Dan Previte

May 17th, 2008

DB Designer is now MySQL Workbench. You can find it at http://dev.mysql.com/workbench/


May 18th, 2008

Here’s a couple other tools worth considering, especially if you need to work with multiple RDBMSs




May 21st, 2008

I find Navicat the best one out there, reliable and good at transferring data from one format to another..


Roshan Shrestha

May 22nd, 2008

I use and like http://www.squirrelsql.org/ as it lets me work with any database.

And lets not forget Microsoft Access (On Windows)! AS long as you install the right ODBC driver, you can use it as a client for any database (by “linking” to the tables).

James Coletti

May 22nd, 2008

You forgot SQL Maestro for MySQL. It’s great software, unfortunately Windows only.


John Bäckstrand

May 22nd, 2008

When working with MS SQL I tend to miss Navicat. It just rocks.


May 22nd, 2008

SQLYog and MySQL Workbench are two apps that I use daily


May 22nd, 2008

Navicat ? Netbeans 6.1?


May 22nd, 2008

Mate, you forgot the most important open-source MySQL manager of all times, SQLYog.

If you’ve never used SQLYog before, then you have no idea what MySQL is capable of.


May 22nd, 2008

I couldn’t live without Navicat. This app rocks for managing DB’s. I love the transfer data between DB’s feature. Very easy to provision a templated DB and have it ready to transfer certain tables over to a new install. Nice.

kevin cheung

May 22nd, 2008

i voted Navicat. It has a Access-Like interface, easy to use and work fast in querying the DB.

It supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. And, it has a free version and can be downloaded at: http://www.navicat.com/download.html


May 22nd, 2008

Also found Navicat great, fast and easy to use.

Tried EMS but it looks like can’t handle Unicode peacefully.

Calvin Lough

May 23rd, 2008

I just made this one: http://www.sqlbuddy.com/

Roy Lane

May 23rd, 2008

SQLyog Community Edition is enough for most of my needs.

Why should I buy Navicat? They have a funny versioning system. The versions for various platforms are out of sync!


July 29th, 2008

i choose Navicat Lite. It’s free of charge and the import and export features is powerful! I personal use Navicat Standard version. It worths every penny!


October 9th, 2008

Too bad there are no mac applications mentioned. I use mysql query browser but this program crashes all of time.


November 5th, 2009

I use MySQL Front (www.mysqlfront.de)


November 5th, 2009

I too do all my SQL development in SQLyog Community Edition. The nag screens are a bit annoying, but it has good, robust core functionality.


November 26th, 2009

I work with heavy database in mysql like for at a time I need to perform a query on let say 1 crore records on a single table so the process of retrival gets longer as its expected to work faster, for e.g, I want a count of particular column on single table, in my query i have just select count(coulm name) from table, it is getting value but its taking long long time to count and display it on my views, so my question is, Is there any kind of tool or method available from which I can retrive my data from server ?? (note: data are on server its not on local)

Awaiting for Reply



November 8th, 2010

very very good articles , he is working hard , gave good information for us,thanks


Ondřej Brejla

January 24th, 2011

I think that Adminer – http://www.adminer.org/en/ is missing in the list. And that’s a pity.


February 11th, 2011

PHPMyAdmin and MySQL Workbench are my bet.


July 5th, 2011

I want to develop my own application.So any one have any idea about that then mail me.That is project in final year.Thanks….

Rangga Saputra

October 28th, 2011

Thank’s alot for information …!


November 14th, 2011

HI ,

I’m starting to work on an idea to create my personal DB where I will store personal info like for all my 1000 friends,with their birthday date, cell #, email addresses as well as all other info… I would love to have this automazed that I can send emails to all my contact in my DB… which is the best DB to use and client…!

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