What database front end do you use?
It should let you manage databases, tables, indexes and ideally even data records.
And it should ideally be free so we can all use it too.

Databases that it could work with:

  • MySQL
  • MS SQL
  • Oracle
  • SQLite

One answer per frontend, to let voting do its trick.

  • What's the OS you want to work with ? Mac / Windows / Linux ? – Spredzy Jan 23 '11 at 10:29
  • This question covers MySQL on *nix: dba.stackexchange.com/questions/86/… – testerab Jan 23 '11 at 13:00
  • 1
    This is not an actual question, flagged. – Gaius Jan 23 '11 at 14:13
  • I agree with Gaius. there's not really a single valid definitive answer to this question. It's great that we have choices, but the choice of which to use is often subjective. Marking this CW to allow for expression of the strengths of each choice. – jcolebrand Mar 1 '11 at 5:38

I use HeidiSQL, its free and open source.

Only for MySQL, and only on Windows.

Its fast, and supports multiple servers, multiple databases, and lets you edit:

  • Users
  • Tables, columns, indexes
  • Views, procedures, triggers, events
  • Data

It also has good data management features:

  • Filtering, searching
  • Export to SQL
  • Export/import XLS

And it looks nice!

alt text

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    Worth noting that it's for Windows, though they do say it will work under WINE. – testerab Jan 23 '11 at 13:02

Oracle's SQL Developer is a free Java-based GUI that works with any database that you can use to connect to a variety of different databases using JDBC. I use it regularly to connect to Oracle and SQL Server databases. It has Sybase and Access support out of the box and there are MySQL and RDB extensions that I'm aware of. I'm not aware of a SQLite extension though it shouldn't be too hard to put one together.

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  • +1 because its the only response, so far, that supports multiple RDBMS's. That being said, I don't like it compared with other commercial solutions like PL/SQL Developer and TOAD (which, admitedly, only work with Oracle). – ScottCher Mar 2 '11 at 18:12

I also use SQLite Administrator for SQLite databases. Its free but only for Windows. Available in most common languages, English, Germain, Italian, Spanish, Greek, .. etc.

  • Opens any valid SQLite database flat file
  • Create/Modify/Delete Tables, Indices, Views, Triggers

Some nice SQL features..

  • SQL Code Completion that supports table aliases
  • SQL Code Highlighting
  • SQL Error Locating

Data features..

  • Import Data from CSV Files
  • Export Data ( XLS / CSV / HTML / XML )
  • Store User Queries into Database
  • Search for User Queries
  • Store Images into Blob Fields ( JPG / BMP )
  • Show SQL of each Database Item
  • Migrate SQLite2 Databases to SQLite3

enter image description here

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I use SQL Workbench/J for all databases (and all operating systems)

Good data browsing, schema/data compare, searching in the database, good export/import possibilities. Can also be used in batch mode to automate import/export tasks.

It does not offer any special DBA features (apart from those things that can be done through plain SQL)

Might not be ideal for SQLite (which I don't use) as the JDBC drivers for SQLite are not that perfect if I'm not mistaken.


For SQL Server I use SQL Server Management Studio with several add-ons. It is not free but you did say 'ideally' ;)

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  • Actually SSMS is free. It's included on the SQL DVD, but it doesn't require any sort of license to use. There's the express version which can be downloaded for free which supports most everything. – mrdenny Aug 16 '12 at 0:12

If you are interested more to the data-entry / database application side than to the administration's one, look at DaDaBIK. It works with Mysql, PostgreSQL, SQLite.


I use the native tools for each database platform. While this does require knowing multiple tools it also means that the most features of each of the platforms are available to me.

Using an example from Microsoft SQL Server, I'm willing to bet that few if any of the third party tools would support setting up an Extended Events session using anything other than T-SQL while SSMS for SQL 2012 includes a nice wizard to run you through the process.

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