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Linux Graphical SQL Mangement, Form Design and RAD Tools
This page reviews SQL data browsing, maanagment, form design and
application generators for Gnu/Linux.
Once upon a time (circa 1995), there was a clean, well-defined
split between graphical applications and the web.
Today (circa 2000), after the web explosion,
things have gotten murky, mostly because there has been a paradigm
shift in thinking about the web. Where once was
a clean distinction between web authoring tools, Rapid Application
Development (RAD) tools, and web-to-database gateways, there is
now a jumble of features and functions: for example, is PHPNuke
a web authoring system? A rapid application development system?
A web content managment system? All of the above?. These
days, the edges of these systems have merged and overflowed onto
one-another. The paradigm shift is that of "Content Management
Systems": systems that allow one to publish web sites, maintain
interactive communities, and design interactive, data-driven web
sites, all of these backed by a powerful database, usually SQL-based.
The paradigm is continuing to shift. People are realizing that
web interfaces alone are not that pretty, and suffer from slow
response times; whereas the pretty desktop apps are almost never
network-aware. This realization is driving efforts such as
the Microsoft .net strategy, and the cross-over can be seen in
some of the tools below.
This web page is still organized along the lines of the
pre-paradigm-shift way about thinking about the web. Thus, it is
inherently incomplete and lop-sided in its treatment.
In particular, anything that stinks of web scripting has been
banished to the SQL Webscripting
Graphical Query and Management Tools
Managing databases is a chore in any shape or form. Most databases
offer only simple command-line interfaces by default. A good
GUI graphical database manager, table designer, and query tool is
as important to the novice & expert SQL user as a good graphical
file browser is to the general computer user.
- SQLManager Database Tool (New Listing!)
Database Tool is a basic graphical query generator and database
browser. Written in Java, runs on Windows, Linux. Open Source, license
- TOra is a toolkit
for managing Oracle servers. A rather thorough and complete
database browser, a PL/SQL debugger, a storage manager,
a server statistics and activity monitor, including
perfomance graphs and pie charts, and much more.
More features than you can hsake a stick at.
Qt/KDE based, runs on windows and Linux. GPL'ed.
- Knoda, Rekall, others
- Note that many of the fancier SQL packages listed in later sections
also provide basic SQL table and query functions, such as creating
and modifying tables, creating and memorizing queries, etc. See
the sections below. Among such apps are Knoda and Rekall.
- pgaccess is a
graphical tool for browsing postgres tables, formulating queries,
and more. Written in tk, runs on most
platforms, including Windows. BSD License.
- gnome-db consists of two
projects: a graphical database designer, and libgda, which abstracts
out the access layers to a wide variety of databases.
This is one of the leading projects of this kind; as to whether
its currently the most feature-rich or advanced, I'm not sure,
but its the one with the community mind-share.
One of the more interesting aspects is that gnome-db is also defining
a set of GUI components that can be included in any gnome application
to not only make that application SQL-aware, but also to provide
the basic SQL management interfaces to the application users.
is a graphical frontend tool for Postgres. GPL'ed.
Homepage includes screenshots.
Has a sourceforge
- Granger Java SQL
Granger Java SQL is a Java-based Query Tool.
Free but proprietary.
- MPSQL & KPSQL
- The MPSQL
Interactive Query Tool for PostgreSQL from
Software. Motif-based GUI that allows SQL statements
to be easily edited, executed and saved to disk. Open Source.
kpsql, which seems to be a KDE port of the same.
Note that KPSQL is GPL'ed. Note that it seems difficult to
locate on the net, and so I have created a mirror
is a project to develop a GPL'ed, gtk-based GUI tool for managing
databases, tables and records. Still in early stages of
development. Here's a
screenshot. Appreantly limited in support to MySQL,
although broader support is intended.
DB-GUI is a graphical perl/Tk-based query tool for databaases
supported through the perl DBD/DBI interfaces.
Appears to be quite mature and well-used.
Last release in December 1999.
- Gnome Transcript
- Gnome Transcript
is a simple database designer tool; supports multiple databases.
The project appears to be in hibernation since March 2000.
- glom is a graphical database
designer for the MySQL database. Based loosely on FileMaker Pro
style of operation.
gmysql is a rudimentary gtk-based graphical database designer
for MySQL. GPL'ed. Autoconf build environment.
Graphical Query tool. KDE-based. GPL'ed.
- KDE-based graphical interface to Oracle SQL*Plus. GPL'ed
Graphical Form Designers and Report Generators
Databases are useless if you can't easily get data into them, and
get the data back out again. A 'form designer' is a tool that allows
you to design a user interface that is coupled to a database.
Its a 'form' in the sense that, like a paper form, it has lots of fields
to fill out. Unlike paper, its electronic, and coupled directly to
the database. If we create a form to collect customer names
and addresses, then a 'report generator' is the software that we use
to come up with the report to management about how many customers
there were, and what cities they live in. When a form
designer/report generator also includes some programming/IDE
support, then its commonly refered to as a 'RAD' or
'Rapid Application Development' tool.
I've split this listing into two: this section lists
the free tools (GPL/BSD license)
and in the next section, the proprietary, commercial tools.
(Data With Interaction/Data Under the Interface)
is a simple system to create data driven applications under
Linux. An XML file is used to specify the relationships
between database entries and Glade graphical widgets.
No programming is required to create an application,
however, knowledge of SQL is essential, as is the ability
to create XML files.
- Knoda is a
young but rapidly growing project to create a forms designer
and report generator. The forms designer allows you to
drag-n-drop GUI elements to arrange then in a layout, and
couple them to database fields. The latest version also
includes a report designer that allows you to create
nice-looking, printable reports. Also includes basic
table & query management features as well (create/modify tables,
formulate & memorize queries, etc.)
Still in an early development stage. KDE-based.
- Bond is a database
application designer. It leverages the well-known
gtk for visually designing
GUI interfaces and coupling them to an SQL data sources.
This project is still in early stages, but as some interesting
Note that glade is one of the finest GUI designers in existance.
This, coupled to its XML-based gui specifications with can be
dynamically loaded through libgladexml, makes this a powerful
GUI tool. Bond choose to build on this tool to get the GUI
function, which makes an interesting contrast to GnuE forms
(described below) which chooses to invent a new-but-similar
XML markup that defines both GUI elements and the database
connections at the same time. So while Bond has a better
interface designer, gnue can support more interfaces (win32,
gtk, curses, with kde/qt and html/cgi-bin in the future ??)
- GnuE Forms/GnueE Designer
GnuE Forms is an XML markup language that defines the
connection of GUI elements to database fields. The forms defined
in this language can be processed to create interfaces in gtk,
Win32 or curses. Supported database backends include
Postgresql, MySQL, Oracle, ODBC and DB2. GnuE Forms is still in
heavy development, but is usable.
GnuE Designer is a RAD tool for visually designing GnuE forms.
- GnuE Reports
GnuE Reports is a project to create a report writer.
This project is in extremely early stages; only a limited
- GNU Report Generator
- The GNU
Report Generator (GRG) or
can create reports from both SQL, dBase and flat-text
databases. Supports macros, expressions, conditionals, etc.
Include Guile/scheme support.
Kanchenjunga visual RAD tool for SQL-Java development.
Alpha-level code, currently runs only on Postgres.
Commercial Form Designers and Report Generators
There's a far richer selection of commercial RAD tools, and these
tend to be a lot more sophisticated than the free tools. But
at prices frequently in the $5,000 per license range, these
are definitely not free.
is a database designer, report designer and forms designer
supporting a variety of popular databases. This is the cheapest
of the commercial tools, but is also the most approachable for
the novice user.
Commercial (proprietary license).
for the SQLFlex
database from InfoFlex.
- FairCom offers the
xxx report writer ...
- VPE Inc. sells WebBuilder.
Although they do not mention Linux, they do mention that it runs on
many Unix's, NT, and AS/400! Scalability galore! Feel free to
bug their sales staff ...
- MSP (Max Server Pages) from Plugsys
is an XBase-language based tool for creating dynamic, data-driven
websites. Proprietary, commercial.
- RadBuilder from Emediat Systems
uses a C++ like scripting language. Interfaces to C++, Java.
- APPX Software Inc. offers
a "mission critical" RAD tool. Proprietary, commercial.
VirtuFlex from VirtuFlex
Corp is a server-side, html-embedded scripting language,
together with web-based RAD tools to create interactive web pages.
(See additional listings of server-side, embedded scripting
languages below). Proprietary, commercial.
- Empress GUI Builder
Empress GUI Builder -- it is not clear if this is supported on
Linux, although the
Empress Graphical User Interface Application Builder Demo
-- the demo is. Commercial.
Very very incomplete list ...
- GTK-based ODBC configuration tool. Distributed as part of the
Last Updated June 2003 by Linas Vepstas
Copyright (c) 1996-2003 Linas Vepstas.
All trademarks belong to their respective owners.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1;
with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no
Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at the URL
the web page titled
"GNU Free Documentation License".
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