About two months ago, I put out a request for a good cross database platform SQL Database Development utility. Yes, I know I was not precise in defining what I really wanted. The only explicit requirement was the ability to display the database objects and data in the tables of the most popular databases – DB2, Oracle, MySQL, Sybase Adaptive Server plus any ODBC/JDBC connectable database. This was to coincide with my own series of reviews on the major free databases: DB2 9 Viper Express C, Oracle XE, and MySQL 5.0. I need a developer tool to manage all the databases at the same time without having to switch between MySQL Query Browser, DB2 Control Center, and Oracles SQL Developer.
Well someone came through with an interesting recommendation. Thank you Minnesota Bill and I hope you are no relation of Redmond Bill (not likely ,as a free copy of Hands on Java is snail-mail-wending its way to to Minnesota Bill). He suggested that I take a look at Embarcaderos Rapid SQL.
Wow – a very nice pitch. However, I must admit I had lowered expectations, especially given that it took me more time to register for the free download of Rapid SQL than it took for me to actually download and install the product. But Rapid SQL made up for that right on start-up. Right out of the box it automatically discovered my Oracle and MySQL databases and made connections to them. It missed my Access databases; but those are on JDBC not ODBC connections. As you can see from the screenshot, I was able to register and make the Access connections I wanted as well. Not too shabby.
A little exploration, showed that I could see all the objects within each different database and view data from all simultaneously. In general I could get around in 3 different major databases using the same commands, GUI, and (nearly the same) SQL. But also the screenshot shows three other things:
1)The GUI interface looks an awful lot like Eclipse (I have not been able to confirm this).
2)The GUI Interface is fairly “rich” – read busy. Like its programming counterparts VStudio, NetBeans, and Eclipse- this program will have, I suspect, a non-trivial learning curve.
3) the capabilities of Rapid SQL appear to go well beyond many SQL utilities:
a)syntax color coding and highlighting for DB2, Oracle, MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, Java, and HTML
b)code completions and context help for functions, stored procedures, and Oracle packages
c)coding assistance including shortcuts and code templates
d)built-in and user-defined hot-keys with Bookmark support
e)wizard-driven data loading from external files in a variety of formats
f)data Schema Examiner to help manage and ensure integrity of schemas and database objects
g)point and click Query Builder for supported SQL languages
h)Query Analyser and Planner for performance tuning
i)Visual Difference and other file manipulation utilities
j)Rapid SQL own macro language.
And this list is just the top ten. But most important, Rapid SQL was that – rapid. For all three databases, queries and searches consistently returned very quickly. And given that all three (Oracle, MySQL and Access) were loaded with the Lahman Baseball database with its big 100,000 ++ tables and ditto for Wordweb (in MySQL only so far) and its multi 100K tables, Rapid SQL was impressively fast. So I hope as I deliver more reviews of the major free databases I will also be able to to cover in more detail tools like Rapid SQL.