Administering MySQL with Navicat

MySQL is a great database package, but one area where it has always been weak is in its administrative interface. The default approach to working with MySQL seems to be driving it from the command shell, which is OK but quickly gets unwieldy when you are working with large and/or complex queries. Not to mention that once you’ve been exposed to the slick GUI management tools available for commercial RDBMSs like Microsoft SQL Server, it’s hard to go back.

For a long time I used SciBit’s Mascon as my graphical MySQL admin tool. Mascon was OK but always felt kind of clunky to me, like it was designed by DBAs rather than UI experts. It got the job done, but never really left me satisfied.

Lately I’ve been trying a new contender, PremiumSoft’s Navicat, and so far I’m really impressed. Navicat makes working with MySQL a breeze, and it does so in a package that has the fit and finish that Mascon always lacked. (O’Reilly has a good review of Navicat on their site.)

Even more impressive, it’s cross platform — unlike Mascon (which was Windows-only), you can get Navicat for Windows, OS X, or Linux. Which means no more telling the one Mac guy in the office to go track down his own MySQL GUI on Freshmeat (I’m looking at you, Sandy 😉 ).

Apparently Mascon is no longer in development, having been replaced by SciBit’s new offering MyCon. MyCon is about $20 less than Navicat, but if it’s as clunky as Mascon was, I’d be inclined to shell out the extra money. Anyone out there who can tell me if there’s any reason not to?



December 28, 2004
12:29 pm

For the record, everyone on the tech team at forum one has a Mac except for our CTO and our most junior developer. Although officially, only Sandy does his day to day work on one.

Jason Lefkowitz

December 28, 2004
3:52 pm

Heh. True. Though until the Mac is a first-class citizen on the F1 network (i.e. lots more people are using them for day to day work) Windows-only solutions are still acceptable for you, right?


December 28, 2004
11:53 pm

Bah. Some of us Mac users use the command line.
I thought that was what made you DOS users so superior, right?
Our official policy on the F1 network is laissez-faire. We use open standards, and as long as you can play well with them, good on ya. So IMAP, iCal, SMB.
I haven’t been happy with the OS X tools (including, IIRC, a previous version of NaviCat). I’ll give it another try at some point. There are certain operations where a GUI is better, though since I have to program thinking like the command line, it’s a good mental exercise to use it. mysqldump is a Good Thing.

Jason Lefkowitz

December 29, 2004
7:42 am

“Bah. Some of us Mac users use the command line.
I thought that was what made you DOS users so superior, right?”
No, no. You’re thinking of Linux users 🙂