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Working with databases on OSX will soon be as awesome as everything else on OSX

Posted on 24/6/08 by Nate Abele

Howdy people (ha! there's a new one),

As we all know, database apps on most platforms... well, suck... even on OSX. The best we have is CocoaMySQL, which, while okay, could certainly not be called great. This shouldn't be the case. We have higher standards. We can do better.

Enter Shift. Shift started life as a direct port of the apparently-no-longer-maintained CocoaMySQL, and indeed, much of the code and interface is still the same. However, the interface mockups of the upcoming 0.5 release make this a project worth keeping a close eye on.


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Nate Todd said on Jun 24, 2008:

Hey Nate, thanks for the post. As a young project (~1 month) we are quite surprised to see the amount of attention we have been getting lately. In our minds, this just underscores the need for a decent database GUI for the OS X platform.

We will hopefully ramp up development in the coming months, so keep an eye out. If anyone has any OS X development interests, feel free to contact us. Thanks again!

-Nate Todd, Shift Project Lead

Tim Koschützki said on Jun 24, 2008:

I like Navicat a lot:

Grant Cox  said on Jun 25, 2008:

One of the guys at work loves Navicat. After using it for a bit I honestly prefer PHPMyAdmin - it does everything I want and I'm more familiar with it.

Out of interest, what do you guys want in a GUI that PHPMyAdmin doesn't provide?

Tim Koschützki said on Jun 25, 2008:

Grant Cox: With you on that one. I totally prefer phpMyAdmin myself over any other GUI so far.

Nate Abele said on Jun 25, 2008:

Well first of all, since phpMyAdmin is a webapp, not wanting to shoot myself after the first 5 page reloads is pretty high on the list. Navicat on the other hand is a disorganized monstrosity. The number of windows I need to have open to do anything non-trivial makes me feel like I need to have ADD just to use it effectively.

Not to mention that both are dog-ugly. Imagine if Apple were to write a database app. Would it look anything like either of those two? No. I want this for many of the same reasons I want to use OSX instead of Windows.

Ryan Hovey  said on Jun 25, 2008:

I prefer Navicat for its data transfer and import/export capabilities, but if one thing about it really irked me it would be not having a quick way to browse the schema via the tree pane on the left hand side.

Also Navicat costs money which a lot of non-professional do not have lying around in abundance.

I used CocoaMySQL when it was at least close to at par with what was available and the java offerings were not that good but then it was abandoned I guess.

I think there is always lots of room for improvement even on what is currently out there, so kudos to the development team and good luck!

Othmane ouahbi said on Jun 25, 2008:

You can dock windows in Navicat. so you end up with just two windows.
I like it when you just press the down button to create a new field or new record.

they also have a nice query builder, for quick prototyping.

the reports builder is not bad too.

though, I couldn't make it use utf-8 making it useless for inserting quick data.

Nik Chankov said on Jun 26, 2008:

I also prefer phpMyAdmin. I've used a lot of DB Clients /never on Mac/, but I really cannot imagine working without it.

Erlingur said on Jul 01, 2008:

I like DbVisualizer. It's got support for an enourmous list of databases (one of which is Informix which is what I use in my day job, not by preference).

Although I always go back to phpMyAdmin when dealing with MySQL. Anything else is DbVis (and it's cross platform too!)

Dirk said on Jul 04, 2008:

I really like HeidiSQL, but as far as i know it only supports windows so far.

Phoenix web design said on Jul 09, 2008:

well it has already been said but Navicat is truly great. It's visual query tools make complicated queries a breeze and it does a great job at importing and exporting XML as well.

I switched to Navicat because I had a database that CocoaMySQL started to choke on at around 11,000 records which frankly was far too small for it to choke on. Navicat handled the same db with ease. Then I had a project which was a much larger table with over a million records and Navicat handled it very easily as well.

I'll take a look at Shift and think it's great if there is a solid free MySQL tool but if you can afford the relatively low cost of Navicat I highly recommend it.

Phoenix web design said on Jul 09, 2008:

Hey Nate,

I just read your comments on Navicat...funny 'cause I do have ADD :) or so I've been told.

I agree that it is a bit non-intuitive, but it really didn't take me too long to get used to it and it handled data so much better than CocoaMySQL I forgave it's interface problems.

But definitely interested in alternatives, thanks for the update.

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