You could be the Data analyst or Database manager of either a company or your own outfit. And this outfit could be an e-commerce store, a social media platform or the next big thing in tech. Regardless of what you are currently working on, chances are, you will require an SQL editor to manage and execute the different database-related tasks the outfit produces. Therefore, having an idea of some of the best SQL editors out there that can help you easily navigate through a database will play a key part in how you successfully manage data.
In order to help you achieve your aim of editing SQL files or running SQL queries, we have scanned the web, spoken to the professionals and used our vast experience to curate the top five SQL editors you can use. And the most important thing to note is the five highlighted options on this list are free!
The Criteria for Choosing the Best Free SQL Editors
- Cross-platform Capabilities – When selecting an SQL editor, it is important that you consider options that support multiple database environments. This will help you easily integrate your edited scripts into any database without hassles.
- Extensibility – Pros who are already used to certain premium features would definitely be interested in an SQL editor that can be extended to capture particular requirements.
- Ease of Use – SQL editors are used by everyone interested in Database management/query including amateurs. Therefore, an SQL with user-friendly features must be considered before making your choice.
Now that you know the criteria we used in comparing the different free SQL editors available for use, it is important to state that these criteria led to the five choices below.
The Top 5 SQL Editing Software Applications
As free SQL Editors go, DBeaver is one of the popular open-source SQL clients available to database developers, programmers, and administrators looking for a feature-rich editor to work with. It’s extensive features and universal compatibility with the most popular Database systems gives it a spot on this list. As stated earlier, the criteria that were used in assessing DBeaver include; its cross-platform capabilities, Extensibility, and ease of use.
And this is how it scored:
- Cross-platform capabilities: DBeaver is popular for its’ support of most databases including the once you probably intend to work with. With DBeaver, you can execute your SQL tasks on operating systems such as; Windows, Mac, Solaris, AIX, etc. In terms of database platforms, it is compatible with, DBeaver also provides support to all options that are JDBC compliant such as; MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Oracle, to DB2, SQL Server, MS Access, Sybase, Firebird, Teradata, Derby, etc.
DBeaver also provides support to non-JDBC driver databases or data sources such as MongoDB and Cassandra.
- Extensibility – DBeaver is completely open-source and this allows for the integration or extension of its features. This makes it a great SQL editor for professionals but individuals with limited knowledge of SQL may struggle with using it.
- Ease of Use – DBeaver is built for ease of use if users stick to the premium features that come with this free editor. It includes a tip of the day feature that educates you about its use. You can also switch between multiple workspaces and make use of variables when working with commands.
Another great option to consider is the SQuirreL SQL client or editor which is written in JAVA. This SQL editor is equipped with the ability to interact with databases that are JDBC compliant and these options are many. SQuirreL is a reliable tool for database administrators, software developers, and testers who are interested in querying today’s databases.
Now, using our criteria to assess the abilities of this SQL client, we have:
- Cross-platform Capabilities – The SQuirreL client is a very versatile editor in terms of its support for diverse operating systems and databases. You can choose to use this editor on your Mac OS, Windows, and Solaris. In terms of databases, SQuirreL provides support for; MySQL, Oracle to DB2, SQL server, Firebird and a host of others.
- Extensibility – The SQuirreL SQL project is open source and developers are welcome to extend its features however they see fit. This is why it is highly regarded by developers who intend to be more adventurous.
- Ease of Use – It goes without saying that the SQuirreL SQL is a free SQL client that is equipped with features designed to simplify your work. These features include; the ability to bookmark the SQL code templates you are partial to, and graphic visualization of data relationships. SQuirreL also has a vibrant developer community that should help you easily navigate through the features in its editor. A couple of third-party plugins hand also been made available to enhance your experience with using SQuirreL SQL.
Ordinarily, Postico wouldn’t be making this list due to the fact that it is solely built for SQL editing on Mac OS and PostgreSQL databases. But the Mac OS has become a dominant feature used by many database administrators, developers, and data analysts while PostgreSQL and its band of apps are also quite popular with the same crowd. Therefore, not listing Postico for Mac users will be a travesty! That being said, Postico is truly a top-notch SQL client that brings a lot to the table.
- Cross-platform compatibility – As stated earlier, Postico is limited to the Mac OS and PostgreSQL but when used, this client offers much more than the average SQL editor. With Postico, you can interact with data in multiple ways and they include; sorting rows, batch editing rows, as well as, create and alter columns and views.
- Extensibility – Although Postico is not open-source, the fact that it was built by Postgre gives it certain advantages over other editors when working with PostgreSQL. You can also take advantage of the apps on posture.app when working with both Postico and its native database system.
- Ease of Use – Postico is equipped with one of the nicest user interfaces you are likely to ever encounter when dealing or using SQL editors. Also, Postico simplifies the process of data querying through its provision of automatic indenting, highlighting syntax, multiple result sets and an auto-suggest feature designed to help you with column names. It is also worth noting that Postico is a free SQL editor although you will be required to purchase an upgraded version for executing extensive tasks.
The Workbench is more than just an SQL editing tool due to the fact that it offers much more. And much more, in this case, refers to the data modeling, and migration features it offers. This is why MySQL workbench is officially introduced as a ‘unified visual tool for data modeling, SQL development and executing comprehensive administrative tasks. But for today, our focus is on its SQL editing capabilities and what makes it a great SQL client.
- Cross-platform compatibility – The workbench was built to be compatible with only MySQL databases and it can be worked with on Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. Despite what may be seen as a limitation, the popularity of MySQL makes this native MySQL editor one worth having.
- Extensibility – Here, it is important to state that there are two versions of MySQL Workbench; a standard version and an open-source version which is totally free. And here, the open-source version is what makes the list. MySQL Workbench gives experienced developers the option of working with third-party plugins as well as trying or building stuff of your own.
- Ease of Use – The MySQL editor is equipped with visualization features that simplify the process of editing data and queries, as well as, visualize results in multiple ways. With the editor, you have the option of saving commonly used code templates, executing multiple queries, and a new history feature that allows you to access edits and other tasks you did in the past.
Rounding up our list of the top five SQL editing tools you can use with your database systems is the HeidiSQL client. HeidiSQL is another free, open-source SQL editor with a wide reach. The editor can be used with most JDPC compliant databases across multiple operating systems as this review will show.
- Cross-platform compatibility – HeidiSQL was built to be compatible with Windows, but you can put on your DIY hat, install Wine on your Linux or Mac OS and get HeidiSQL to run. In terms of its compatibility with databases, HeidiSQL is compatible with a couple of databases such as MariaDB, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, and PostgreSQL. As a Microsoft-based SQL editor, you can actually find the software application at Microsoft store where you can download it for free.
- Extensibility – The HeidiSQL is open-source which means it is extensible. Therefore, you can work on using third-party apps or becoming a part of its developer community to extend its features.
- Ease of Use – HeidiSQL was built for managers and individuals from the non-technical crowd who are interested in editing or viewing SQL queries. Therefore, it is equipped with multiple simplicity features such as; making use of command lines to connect to servers, bulk edit tables, batch-insert binary files into tables among others. The HeidiSQL is totally free and a great editor that rounds up this list.
There is a multitude of free SQL editors or clients that can be used to handle SQL editing tasks but these five have been chosen due to their robust features. It is also worth noting that these options are backed up by vibrant online communities that would help you handle or troubleshoot most of the problems you will run into. So, if you are looking for a free SQL editor to achieve your goals, simply pick any from this list.