Open Source Database Designer has produced a very practical database designer utility that allows users to create EREntity Relationship database model diagrams either from scratch or reverse engineered from existing databases. The types of databases that DBDesigner natively connects to includes MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and a host of desktop databases through ODBC. The screenshot shows the tool in action with MySQL WordWeb database data (this is a very nifty database of over 100,000 English words) .

DBDesigner has reverse engineered a model of the Wordweb database based on the primary keys. Now because some of the keys have different names, DBDesigner was not able to map all of the relationships. But in the two minutes that it took for me to establish the connection I was able to load in all eleven tables, see all of the columns including all primary keys . And even though the model was not complete I could get a very good idea of how the tables related to one another.

Proof of the latter statement – is the four table join I was able to do showing the antonyms of words. Yes, DBDesigner also has a built-in Query tool. The Query tool has some unique pop-up buttons which I confess I still have not gotten the hang of. But it does allow me to do 4-table joins with very fast response time which I could have used on a project with 1/4 of the 100,000 ++ records in the WordWeb database. Watch for a full review of the tool when I get time to do the full ER diagraming tutorial. This is another very handy tool for cash strapped database developers.

(c)JBSurveyer 2006
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