Top 5 MySQL GUIs in 2021

Gayatri on November 24, 2021

MySQL Database

MySQL is among the most widely-used and popular database technologies. Ahead of SQL databases like Postgres and SQLite, MySQL has been the more popular choice for many years. This article compares some of the best MySQL GUIs for database developers and administrators.

Developers and database managers are faced with a number of tasks when working with a database such as creating and executing queries, managing objects, debugging, etc. This can quickly become challenging to manage. Database GUIs have been created in order to make it easy to manage MySQL databases visually, without having to manually type SQL commands. GUIs make the processes of designing, creating, and administering databases easier and more convenient. 

 

1. mySQL Workbench 

MySQL Workbench is a unified visual tool for database architects, developers, and DBAs. A full-fledged GUI solution, MySQL Workbench offers functionality to design, develop, and administer your MySQL database. This is the only SQL client which is supported and developed by Oracle, the company behind MySQL itself. So you can be sure that it will contain all recent features to match the updates for MySQL’s server. 

Pros:

  1. Create and manage database-server connections, connection parameters, and integrated query execution
  2. Assemble data into meaningful graphical designs
  3. Table Editor makes it easy to alter tables, columns, indexes, triggers, options, privileges, inserts, and partitioning
  4. MySQL Enterprise support. Regularly maintained
  5. See server status and health, as well as server logs – using intuitive dashboards
  6. Available for Linux, Mac and Windows
  7. available in 3 editions – Community, Standard, and Enterprise. Community is a free open-source edition offering a basic set of features, and the remaining two are commercial editions with extended functionality.

Cons:

  1. Sometimes buggy. Some users have reported it tool crashes
  2. Sometimes large queries can’t be stopped and have to be forcefully killed. In some cases, the entire application has to be killed.

 

3. dbForge

The dbForge GUI is the best option when it comes to IDE for MySQL. It’s the first thing that pops out when you search for it online. A positively reviewed database GUI, dbForge is a multi-purpose tool that offers a lot of worthwhile features and functionality necessary for MySQL database development and maintenance. 

dbForge helps in creating and executing queries, developing and debugging stored routines, and automating database object management, and much more.

Pros:

  1. It can connect to a number of MySQL flavours – MariaDB to Percona to even Alibaba cloud’s MySQL 
  2. Query profiler helps DBAs capture different session statistics such as execution time, query plan, status variables
  3. dbForge uses MySQL native commands like EXPLAIN and SHOW PROFILE to gather session data and presents it in an easy-to-understand format in the GUI
  4. Master-detail browsers, pivot tables and MS Access style reporting helps in data analysis
  5. GUI functionalities can be saved as command-line outputs before you run them
  6. Use text-based commands for automating tasks like backups or data import/exports
  7. Natively import JSON, XML, Google Sheets, Excel, Access or ODBC databases

Cons:

  1. Complete version can be expensive for some users
  2. Very basic JSON viewer (for example, no ways to collapse or expand blocks of data).
  3. Users report that in some cases the autocomplete feature stops working, whenever many connections are opened.

3. dBeaver

DBeaver is another open-source cross-platform GUI tool popularly used for SQL databases by both developers and database administrators. The GUI allows you to navigate easily through your data and perform full-text searches to create filtered tables and views. DBeaver runs as a desktop application. The process of connecting it to your local database is very intuitive and you don’t need to have CLI experience to get started with this tool.

This tool supports the import and export of data with many file formats such as CSV, HTML, XML, JSON, XLS, XLSX. You can also use this tool to generate ER diagrams for a database/schema.

Pros:

  1. DBeaver connects to any database which has a Jdbc driver – such as MariaDB, Sybase, SQLite, Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, MS Access, Firebird, Teradata, Apache Hive
  2. You can run DBeaver MySQL GUI on Windows, Linux, and macOS
  3. Table Editor makes it easy to alter tables, columns, indexes, triggers, options, privileges, inserts, and partitioning
  4. create multiple data views to support a variety of user needs. 
  5. It has a free open-source edition as well as an enterprise edition. You can buy the standard license for the enterprise edition at $199. 
  6. Easy Import/Export/Backup
  7. Mock Data Generator

Cons:

  1. It can be a bit slow when dealing with large data sets compared to some expensive GUI tools 
  2. Sometimes buggy 
  3. Sometimes large queries can’t be stopped and have to be forcefully killed. In some cases, the entire application has to be killed. 

 

4. PHPMyAdmin

PHPMyAdmin is another widely popular web-based MySQL administration tool written in PHP.

Easy to install and use, PHPMyAdmin is completely free to use. Allows you to use either the GUI or direct commands.

 It sports basic functionality, enough to help users create functioning websites without having the expertise in MySQL. Over the years, however, it has had the time to develop and enhance the tool for a bunch of top requested features. Database administrators and architects can use the tool to handle tasks ranging from simple to complex such as creating multi-format database graphics. 

Pros:

  1. Support for MySQL functions like browse or drop for tables, databases, fields, views, and indexes
  2. Importing and exporting data in a wide range of formats
  3. Transformation of stored data using predefined functions and formats
  4. Can be easily accessed from most computers because it’s web-based
  5. Simple to install and use
  6. Available in 80 languages – both left-to-right and right-to-left ones, making it accessible for global users

Cons:

  1. It cannot be used for any and all databases, as it supports only MySQL and MariaDB 
  2. Though it supports the classic servers and systems, its growth is not parallel to the technological growth of the current industry standards

 

5. HeidiSQL

HeidiSQL is a lightweight freeware tool for working with databases. An easy to use GUI, HeidiSQL can be used for browsing or editing data, creating and modifying tables, managing user privileges, or other tasks. HeidiSQL is available for Windows and Linux

It is free to use, and also allows you to connect to your database via SSH tunneling. It also supports batch insertion of ASCII and binary files into database tables.

Pros:

  1. A portable version is available for download, so you can use it without administrative privileges, nor requiring installation 
  2. Easy to use and very intuitive user interface
  3. Full database user management and privileges management options
  4. Automate connections via command-line utility
  5. Great syntax checks and auto-completion features.

Cons:

  1. Can work with Linux distributions, but will require the Wine platform
  2. Some users are reporting sudden crashes/bugs, but nothing that significantly interrupts the daily usage
  3. No official support for Mac OS

6. DronaHQ

DronaHQ is a web-based low-code internal tool builder to create internal tools like database GUIs, Admin Panels, Dashboards, and custom apps.  The low-code platform makes it easy to build apps on top of your team’s data using ready connectors and API integrations. 

Thanks to a WYSIWYG UI editor and pre-built UI controls, you can create full-features MySQL GUIs, perform CRUD operations, connect to anything with a REST or GraphQL API, view data in tables, charts, JSON viewers, and automate tasks. By creating interactive GUI tools on the platform, you get to quickly view, edit, and analyze information whether you prefer lists, tables, charts 

Pros:

  1. Easily connect to MySQL and practically anything with a REST or GraphQL API in a couple of clicks
  2. Visual builder is easy to learn. Reusable controls like charts, table grids, lists, detailed view, buttons, form fields, and custom UI controls further save time spent in designing the perfect user interface 
  3. A visual query builder to query your SQL/NoSQL databases when you need server-side filtering based on criteria defined at run time.
  4. Built once, you can access your database GUIs from any end-user portal – web, tablet, mobile
  5. Support unlimited user in all (usage-based) pricing plans
  6. If you need to share the tool/app with more end-users, you can grant role-based access permissions to control who has view rights, edit rights, delete permissions, and so on.

Cons:

  1. DronaHQ is not primarily designed for MySQL so it is missing some features like real-time query debugging
  2. Only about 50 ready connectors but more are in queue 

Best MySQL GUIs for Your Project

In addition to the above, there are a plethora of MySQL GUIs to choose from. 

MySQL Workbench is ideal if it’s just some quick and easy querying that you need to do. If you need to build a more robust GUI, you would be better suited to build it with a framework such as DronaHQ.  

dbForge has loads of features for the developer. Code Completion is anyone’s game, but what about database schema AND data comparison and an advanced debugger for your code? What about generating test data for your load testing? This tool offers these features and more.

 DronaHQ offers a complete set of powerful building blocks to design custom internal tools. You can create a frontend app in under a minute visually by dragging and dropping UI controls from a library of over 100+ pre-built controls. Bind the UI controls to the SQL database of choice or pick from over 50 data integrations or any other data source with a REST or GraphQL API. Get started for free >