One of the hottest trends in the world of databases right now is administration using mobile devices. Today’s database administrator doesn’t have to be chained to his/her desktop workstation all day long and then hope that he/she doesn’t get the dreaded wakeup call at 3 AM! I remember them all-too-well; just one is enough to make you regret accepting the on-call responsibility for a bit of extra pay.
Being one of the most popular databases on the planet, MySQL administration has been made a whole lot easier thanks to a number of new mobile apps. In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at the new products for iOS and pick out some of the more promising ones. In a future instalment, we’ll pick out some good choices for Android devices.
Driven by Demand
MySQL is an open source product, and is completely free. Not so for front-end applications. Some apps cost a little, usually $10 or less. While that may not sound like a lot of money, due to the sheer volume of MySQL users, there is a very real possibility that small start-up companies of only one or two people could become very rich on one product. And, truth be told, database interfaces are not rocket science; they always entail the same operations and are well supported by most programming languages. The litmus test for database apps is the User Interface (UI). Chances are that the more intuitive and slick the UI is, the more enamoured the user will be with the app.
Our first app is by Excelsis Consulting. It’s available from iTunes as a free download.
It’s a great looking app for MySQL versions 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x that will run on iPhones and iPads with iOS 6.0 or later. Unfortunately, with the free price tag comes the limitation that you can only view data and not edit it. It’s optimized to withstand the occasional signal drop and is an easy way to mine your data when away from your office. A schema viewer is included for creating queries as well as export to CSV functionality for migrating data to external apps.
Ads are used to support development costs, but you can select to remove ads while purchasing. There is also a SSH version called MySQL QueryDB SSH, which features SSH tunnel support and, best of all, does not contain ads.
The current version is 1.12 and comes in English and Japanese.
MySQL QueryDB Client is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and is optimized for iPhone 5.
MySQL Editor Pro
Our next app is by Pasha Topchiyev. It’s available from iTunes for the sum of $14.99.
Unlike our fist app, which was geared towards data mining, MySQL Editor is a full-featured MySQL client. It also has the price tag to prove it. At $14.99, it’s the most expensive of the lot.
Having said that, it does look very good and boasts many features, including:
1. Support for SSH connections (but no key support)
2. Viewing of server variables
3. Managing users and privileges
4. Managing table and view schemas and their indexes
5. Creation and management of triggers
6. Import and export of SQL scripts via iTunes
7. A Script Editor with syntax highlighting
8. A full searchable MySQL syntax reference
MySQL Editor Pro supports iOS 4.3 to 5.0 and is currently at version 1.2.1.
Here’s a free MySQL management tool from TotenDev Desenvolvimento de Softwares LTDA.
This app was designed to provide all of the same functionality as your favorite desktop tool.
MySQL ODBC does an excellent job for on-the-go management of your databases, but does have some drawbacks. For starters, the SQL screen could be more intuitive. A dedicated "commit/rollback" button might be a worthy addition as well.
The current version of 1.3 is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or higher.
This app is worth a mention on the name alone, which is of course a clever take on the MySQL dolphin logo. Made by Driven Tree, LLC, it can be yours for the low price of $5.99.
Flipper is not intended to replicate a full desktop SQL development environment, but does enable the user to write and execute complex queries from their mobile devices.
Flipper also has the ability to retrieve an entire database schema and load the results into iPhone’s flash memory. Doing so eliminates the need to make additional server calls or hold open a connection while writing new queries.
Flipper 1.4 requires iOS 2.2.1 or later and is geared towards MySQL version 4.1.0 and above.
Other Worthy Contenders
You may also want to consider the following apps for iOS:
iMy by Spanware, $5.99
According to the Spanware site, iMy was the first MySQL client for the iPhone. It’s touted as “a full MySQL client for the iPhone” but it doesn’t appear that it supports database management. Rather, its main feature is the ability to generate complex queries without ever using the keyboard. It supports SSH for establishing secure connections.
MySQL Database by Vacata AG, $2.99
Although perhaps not the most imaginatively named app of all time, version 2.3.1 of MySQL Database does support many languages besides its native Russian.
This app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or higher, but is optimized for iPhone 5.
MySQL Mobile Database Client by impathic, $9.99
Unfortunately, I came across this product a little late in the game to give it a thorough reviewing, so I am adding it here for your consideration.
It’s a full-featured app for querying and editing MySQL database schemas. At version 6.0.4 it appears to be a fairly mature product. If anyone has some experience with this product, feel free to tell me about it.
Navicat has just jumped into the mobile app game with the release of Navicat iOS for MySQL a Cloud service. I hope to review those in an up-coming article, but first, we’ll be moving on to apps for Android.