Blog Post

MySQL Showdown: Querious vs. Sequel Pro


Administering databases is not generally an exciting task, it’s right up there with TPS reports and their cover sheets. So why then, are you using the command-line MySQL client to administer your MySQL databases when you have a nice shiny user interface provided by OS X at your disposal?

The people behind Querious and Sequel Pro asked the same question, and have come up with two different answers. Neither are yet at a ‘1.0’ release (Querious is close at 1.0beta2, Sequel Pro is at 0.9.3), however both are extremely functional and stable.

Compared to Querious, Sequel Pro has a relative long history, being an open-source project inherited from the now defunct CocoaMySQL. Querious on the other hand, is a brand new offering and is a commercial product costing $25 (a 30 day trial is available for download).

We’ll take a look at each app, pound for pound, and see who comes out stronger.

MySQL Server Version Support

The first, and critically important, difference to note is that Querious will only connect to MySQL 5 servers. This is potentially a big limitation (it is for me as most of the databases I work with every day are still MySQL 3) — so if you also need to connect to MySQL 3 or MySQL 4, Sequel Pro is the only option out of the two.

Concurrent Connections

If you want to work with multiple servers or databases at once, Sequel Pro presents a new window for each instance. Querious gives you the option of using a tabbed interface like Safari, or creating a new window, and is thus more flexible.

Browsing Databases

Sequel Pro lets you pick the database from a drop down list, then presents a flat list of tables for browsing. This is functional but does limit the visual overview to one database at a time.

Querious gives you a tree view with all databases which expand to show their tables. This allows quickly seeing multiple tables from different databases — the difference is subtle but potentially useful.

Both applications let you browse table records, allowing you to easily sort fields by clicking the column headers or filtering a specific field. Querious takes this one step further, allowing full text searches across all fields, or even specifying a custom WHERE clause just for that table.

Table Structures

Viewing and modifying table structure definition is much the same with both apps, allowing easy modification of table fields and indexes. Sequel Pro displays both structure and index on the same screen, while Querious splits these into two. The advantage that Querious has here is that it allows viewing and modifying the table and individual field character encoding. Sequel Pro doesn’t support this. Both have an easy facility to show and copy to the clipboard the corresponding CREATE TABLE query for the table definition.


At the end of the day, the most important feature of any database tool is how efficiently you can run queries. Almost any database task can be performed via a query, so any UI feature that is missing can be made up for by a strong query runner.

The huge advantage that Querious has over Sequel Pro when it comes to to running queries is syntax highlighting and code completion. The code completion will give you options to complete SQL reserved words and table entities. The syntax highlighting visually distinguishes reserved words from table entities and user constants, allowing you to spot typo errors quickly. Sequel Pro on the other hand, just gives you a plain text box.

Both applications support query histories, allowing you to click and see previous queries you’ve run. Sequel Pro does this with a drop down list to select a previous query. Querious lists these with a datetime stamp — requiring you to click the item before you can see the query — this could increase the time it takes to find that old query you’re looking for. Unfortunately, neither app allows you to go back and forth in the query history via keyboard shortcuts. On the keyboard shortcut note: in Sequel Pro you can type your query and then press enter to execute it. This should work the same with Querious (and does with an external aluminum keyboard) but it just ignores fn-return on my MacBook Pro. This is a minor bug, but is critical for every day use. Keyboard shortcuts are a must-have feature for me to use an app on a daily basis — stopping my work flow to move the mouse constantly just slows things down.

Querious and Sequel Pro also offer ‘Query Favorites,’ allowing you to store commonly used queries. Sequel Pro just uses a single drop down box again to select the query. Querious takes this further allowing multiple collections of favorite queries, giving each one a name. This allows you to group common queries by tasks or databases.

Server Maintenance

Querious allows editing users and allows full user privileges management with a simple point & click interface. Sequel Pro has no specific UI to handle this.

Both apps expose menu options to perform table maintenance such as analyzing, checking, flushing, repairing and optimizing. They also allow you to flush user privileges. The one thing that Sequel Pro can do that Querious can’t, is view the current server-side variables.

Importing and Exporting

Querious and Sequel Pro both allow importing and exporting databases or single tables in SQL or CSV/Tab files. Sequel Pro also allows exporting tables in XML.

Clipboard Support

You can select records (from a table or query) with both applications and copy them to the clipboard. Sequel Pro will copy these as tab delimited text, allowing pasting into a text editor or spreadsheet like Numbers, effortlessly. Querious goes a step further, providing an option sheet when copying, allowing you to specify the format to go into clipboard: CSV, Tab or SQL. The ability to copy records as SQL Insert statements is quite powerful, especially if you want to move specific records to another database or table quickly.


When it comes to MySQL 5 servers, Querious matches and exceeds the features of Sequel Pro with style. If you don’t need to connect to a MySQL 3 or MySQL 4 database, Querious is just more polished and feature-rich than Sequel Pro and is well worth the small price tag. I hope they add MySQL 3 and MySQL 4 support soon, as I will start using it the instant they do so.


61 Responses to “MySQL Showdown: Querious vs. Sequel Pro”

  1. MySQL Workbench

    MySQL Workbench 5.1 (Beta 1) should be out March 6,2009. It will be available on MacOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, Windows. These are *native* C++ implementations on each platform. WB 5.1 is focused on Data Modeling (replacing Mike Zinner’s popular DBDesigner product).

    MySQL Workbench 5.2 (Alpha 1) should be out mid April 2009 (around the MySQL Users Conference 2009). This will include a ground up rewrite of the MySQL Query Browser.

    We are looking for MacOS user testing/feedback.

  2. I don’t believe I’ve seen this in Sequel Pro, but Querious allows one to export specifically the results of any query in various formats. What’s more, one can create a “document,” a sort of mock table. I have found this document feature to be very handy when trying out little bits of SQL.

  3. MySchizobuddy

    Navicat and other XX client wasn’t included in the comparison, cause it says
    “MySQL Showdown: Querious vs. Sequel Pro”

    is that title not clear enough for people.

  4. Not sure why Navicat isn’t included in this comparison – it is the leading mySQL admin tool IMO.

    Don’t get me wrong, these other apps probably suffice for many people, but if you’re managing mySQL databases every day as a part of your job, Navicat is the #1 choice.

  5. Mike Wille: I use MySQL Administrator and MySql Query browser, but I believe Query Browser is stagnated because it will be replaced with MySQL Workbench. Workbench, now in beta for Mac, will add query support in 5.2, with 5.1 being the first Mac version (they have monthly updates, so there is work going on there).

  6. Clarification: I couldn’t get it to work in Querious. To be clear I was creating my own tunnel in Terminal, and trying to connect to that. That sort of thing shouldn’t require explicit tunneling support in the app — but I still couldn’t get it to work in Querious. ::shrug::

  7. I’m pretty sure Sequel Pro can handle tunneling.

    I couldn’t get it to work. It just hung when I tried to connect through my tunnel. A connection through the same tunnel worked great in Sequel Pro. That and the license/price made it an easy choice.

  8. +1 on SQL Grinder – connects to any DBMS for which a JDBC driver is available (which, @MGZ, includes SQL Server – I use it a lot for that myself). @#13 Josh, I don’t know about copying from MSSQL to MySQL directly (or whether that’s even what you’re asking) – but in my experience SQL Grinder makes exporting from any source out to a delimited text file dead simple. From there you should be able to import elsewhere fairly easily, I would think. I use it almost every day and like it a lot.

  9. William Macdonald

    Navicat has so many more useful features like the ability synchronise data & structure between two databases. This feature alone is fantastic.

    Navicat also has the ability to connect via HTTP. So if you host does not allow connections on 3306 or SSH, you can just upload the supplied PHP script and you are good to go.

  10. Eric Mockensturm

    Querious is very nice but it doesn’t seem to support displaying the content (and editing) text blobs. It just gives the raw data (hex) instead of the ASCII like Sequel Pro (and CocoaMySQL) does.

  11. @MGZ: check out SQL Grinder that Hilton mentioned. I haven’t given it a try yet but I will.

    @Mike W: excellent point, I forgot about that. There are a bunch of excellent features there. In my experience, it handles Cyrillic characters much better than Navicat. Please add to the showdown! I suppose it’s more targeted to running queries than designing tables or handling permissions.

    @Mike: just try it. They do the same stuff but since these are desktop apps, the interface is vastly more functional and polished.

  12. This may sound like heresy, but are there any tools like this for Mac that connect to SQL Server? I have to maintain some SQL Servers, and I hate having to go into Parallels just for that reason.

  13. I guess I’m trying to figure out why no one is mentioning MySQL Query Browser in these comparisons. I’ve tried all three and MySQL Query Browser (and the supplemental MySQL Admin tool) blows the others out of the water when it comes to supported features.

    If anything is against Query Browser, I would say that it seems to have stagnated after Sun’s Acquisition of MySQL.

  14. Yes, I do currently use phpmyadmin; it meets my minimal needs, but I’m always open to learning new tools.

    Are there one or two features of these alternative admin programs that would make me wonder why I waited so long to switch? :-)

  15. Hey Hilton, with SQL Grinder can you copy tables and data to and from MSSQL and MySQL easily? That to me would make the price worth it easy. The MySQL ODBC adapter is pretty wonky with text fields and binary.

    Mike, do you use PhpMyAdmin to administer databases? If so, you’re going to be really happy when you switch.

    Andrew, this was a great column, thanks! Could we have a Navicat / SQL Grinder / Querious deathmatch next?

  16. I’m sure I’m missing something obvious, but won’t let that stop me.

    How do these tools compare to using phpmyadmin and why would one choose one of these, or similar tools, as opposed to simply using phpmyadmin?

  17. Raj Seshadri

    What critical features does SQLYog provide that you find worth it to run it in Wine?

    I have crossover and vmware, and have yet to find more than 3 programs I’m willing to run in virtualization, so I’m very interested :-)

  18. Raj Seshadri

    Querious is very nice looking, and promising. It’s very fast. The search options are decent and the data refresh is quick.

    I tried Navicat, but it has a major UI issue in that it doesn’t cursor queries so if you open a slow view, or large table, you’ll be stuck for many seconds. Querious doesn’t have this problem from what I’ve seen.

    View support is critical for me, so for the time being, I’m staying with phpmyadmin (run local + ssh tunnel to connect to db), which has very limited support (you have to do “show view …” to see view logic)… the ability to right-click a table/db and open a new tab/page with that context is supremely useful to me.

  19. @Preston: I think you’ve got your apps mixed up bud. Querious is the app that does not support older versions…and it is NOT open source. Sequel Pro is the open source app that DOES support older versions. So it’d actually be in Querious’ best interest (in terms of additional sales) to try and support older versions if possible.

  20. Preston Holmes

    I hope they DON”T add backwards compatibility support for older versions of MySQL. This is an open source project and time spent covering older versions:

    Takes time away from other feature development
    Limits the feature set to the “common denominator” across MySQL versions

    Sure if there is a new developer that is passionate about providing support for older versions, thats cool if they want to put in the time. But the core dev, and guidance should be: “ONWARD”!!


  21. 1. SSH Tunneling – Checkout I actually found this earlier this week after starting to play with Querious and needing a way to tunnel. Works great!

    2. I have also used Navicat MySQL. They just released a new OS X version. It’s UI doesn’t look as nice IMHO, but it has more features than Querious and Sequel Pro.

    3. I may be missing somehting, but I can open different connections under different windows.