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Eight More MySQL Apps for OS X

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A few weeks ago I took a detailed look at two MySQL database tools Querious and SequelPro, comparing their feature set. These are by no means the only two options for accessing MySQL with a shiny UI — so here is a quick look at eight more MySQL front ends that are available for OS X.


SQLGrinder is all about running queries for any database natively on OS X. As expected from a query runner, it supports syntax highlighting and query history (although there are no keyboard shortcuts to go back in your history) which is only persistent while the app is running, however you can create saved favorite queries. Copying records from a query gives you CSV text in the clipboard, and importing and exporting is also done via delimited text.

While it lets you browse a database and view the table structure and indexes, there is no UI to modify the tables. SQLGrinder does support AppleScript and Growl, giving a tidy OS X experience. SQLGrinder supports MySQL, Oracle, SQLServer 2005, Sybase, FrontBase, OpenBase and PostgreSQL. It costs $59 and a trial is available (can be run 20 times). For a query runner that can talk to anything, it does its job well.


YourSQL is a free open-source MySQL client for OS X that allows full database creation, modification, browsing and query running with an intuitive (albeit, a bit cramped) UI. It also allows importing data from CSV or Tab or SQL and exporting to CSV, Excel or SQL, while copying records to the clipboard gives tab delimited text. The query runner is strong, with syntax highlighting and full query history that can not only be navigated with keyboard shortcuts, but persists from one application session to another. This is quite a capable basic tool, with a great price tag of nothing.


PGnJ, like SQLGrinder, just runs queries. PGnJ supports syntax highlighting and query history (although the history is only for the current session, it is not persistent when the app is closed) with full keyboard shortcuts throughout, so everything can be done quickly from the keyboard. Table definitions are easily viewable, to aid with building your queries. An SQL Library (with variable support) is present, although this feature is buggy. Common templates (such as create table, alter column, etc) can be selected if you can’t remember the appropriate syntax. Only one database can be viewed at a time, and you have to know the database name — you can’t browse a list of all databases on a server. Copying query results is also limited to the current cell or record — you can export query results to a file however, in SQL, XML, CSV/Tab & HTML formats.

In addition to MySQL, PGnJ can also connect to PostgreSQL, Oracle and SQLite databases and costs $49 (a 15 day trial can be downloaded). This application has a lot of potential to be a killer query runner, but has some rather rough edges that need ironing out before it is worthwhile.


Unlike the other tools here, SQLEditor does not let you administer your database, or run queries — it is a design and ER modeling tool, supporting MySQL, PostgreSQL and Oracle. This lets you design your database with an excellent UI, and then export the resulting SQL to file, or directly into a database. You can also import directly from SQL or from a database — allowing easy diagramming of an existing database. SQLEditor is $79 with a 30-day trial.


Cross Platform

MySQL Query Browser and MySQL Administrator
MySQL Query Browser and Administrator are available freely from MySQL itself. Together they allow full browsing, modifications, query running and database maintenance. While the tools are cross-platform, the UI is relatively OS X friendly and doesn’t seem out of place (I’ve found this unusual for cross-platform apps).

Supporting syntax highlighting and code completion, the query runner has a query history (unfortunately there are no keyboard shortcuts) and works well. There is not a way to copy records to the clipboard, however the query results can be exported to CSV, HTML, XML, Excel XML or a property list file. Along side these tools is MySQLWorkbench, which is currently feature complete, but still in first beta. This compliments the administration tools with a DB design and ER modeling tool.


NaviCat is a powerhouse of a cross platform database administration application. There are three varieties, one for MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle, with the MySQL version costing between $79 and $119 depending what feature set you want. A fully featured 30-day trial can be downloaded.

NaviCat has a horrible, Windows-like UI, but is incredibly featured, allowing pretty much everything from table modifications to stored procedures, views, event triggers, backups, user maintenance and scheduling maintenance tasks. The query runner has syntax highlighting with full code completion, and a UI based query builder. Copying query records to the clipboard results in Tab delimited text, while you can Import and Export in almost any format, including SQL, XML, CSV, DBF, XLS and even import from ODBC. Despite its price and horrid UI, it is one of the most powerful and functionally complete MySQL tool available for OS X.


RazorSQL is a java-based cross platform browser and query runner that boasts support of 29 databases, including MySQL. A 30 day trial is available, with the full version costing $59.95.

Like NaviCat, RazorSQL is fully featured allowing browsing and modifying table, stored procedures, views, triggers and users. Query running supports syntax highlighting and basic query history (no keyboard navigation). There is no code completion that I could find, although it has a UI-based query builder. The UI has the typical cross-platform windows look and feel. Clipboard copying gives Tab delimited text, however you can export in CSV, Tab, XML, HTML, XLS or text and import in CSV, Tab, XLS, fixed width text or SQL. If you need a cross platform fully featured tool to access almost any database, this does the job fine.


Aqua Data Studio
Aqua Data Studio is a java-based cross platform database IDE supporting 11 databases, including MySQL. It requires Java 1.6 and a 64bit Intel Mac. A 14 day trial is available, with the full license costing $399 per user. This price could be possibly justified however, as compared to all the other apps listed here, this is much more than a database administrator. Aqua Data Studio also lets you do full database comparisons, version control (supporting SVN and CVS) and a full ER modeling tool.

If you need a complete package for an enterprise-level supporting role, this could be your one-stop solution. Otherwise it’s complete overkill for basic MySQL administration.


14 Responses to “Eight More MySQL Apps for OS X”

  1. NaviCat is good, and I use it pretty much daily… but I just wish it had a nicer interface. It also crashes extremely frequently, even though I’m running the very latest version 8.0.7.

    I don’t need some of the advanced tools it provides — I rarely use views, or stored procedures — but I do use the database synchronisation/transfer tools a lot. If I could find an alternative, more “OS X” application that could sychronise databases, I’d happily move away from NaviCat.

  2. franklee

    I voted for Navicat. From the easy user interface that is VERY comprehensive to the AWESOME backup feature, this product has saved my ass many of times, and I’ve only owned it for 1 year.

    I’ve had to move sites from one server to another, and this product do the transfer for me with one click of a button. Truly amazing.

    If you’re serious about saving time, give up the demos, and get the real thing.

  3. @Frank – awesome, thanks.
    I guess I should have realized that because I actually use another program (on my Windows Virtual Machine) called PHPRunner that connects to my mySQL databases using a similar PHP connection script.