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Book Review: Web Services and development require more cross database tool
Feature: Finding s good ones that help in movement of data between DBMS is hard

There is no doubt that the three biggest challenges to IT development are 1)the blur of OS/platforms, languages, services, and databases that make up "a system"; 2)figuring out the governance of a company's systems - who pays for development, operation, data streams in and data streams out; and 3)the ever increasing size and mmore demanding interoperability requirements between systems. In essence, IT problems are general cases of nearly the same problems confronting database developers. As hospital administrator pointed out - "many different databases, growing like weeds and 'you want them all hooked together when ??' "

One of the difficulties of working with multiple different databasesis the fact that each database has tools, query builders and control centers that stop distinctly at their own proprietary boundaries. Thus, though IBM's DB Control center is admirable it hardly knows anything about IBM's Informix, Derby or Notes datbases. Ditto for Microsoft's new Visual Studio-based SQL Server 2005 Express or Oracle's SQL Developer. So as we prepare to review the major databases we have been confronted with the problem of not only making cross platform joins work (nearly mission impossible); but simply shuttling data between the databases with some degree of efficiency. So we have been looking for some good SQL Developer tools. Here is what we have found so far.

dbQwikEdit Pro
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dbQwikEdit provides a remarkably robust tool for developers to manage a wide array of databases for the bread and butter operations:
- SQL Queries through an smart editor and an Access-like Query Builder;
- Database table browsing including online updates to row values, row appends and deletes;
- Broad DML changes including extensive Alter Table, Index, and other schema updates;
- Ability to Import/Load data from text, CSV, and Excel files;
- Ability to Export data in a broad range of formats including CSV, Excel, RTF, XML and others.
More or less, dbQwikEdit has all the operations needed to keep an existing databases operational and support developers working with theose databases.

As one can see from the screenshot, dbQwikEdit is a savvy Windows GUI app using treeview explorer window, multiple panes, multiple tabbed views, pane tab closers, and nifty popups to make the above operations move quickly and fairly simply. In fact I could not help thinking of such excellent tools as TOAD, SQLYog, Navicat or MySQL Query Browser - the resemblance of functionality and even GUI implementation of features was remarkably similar in stretches. But dbQwikEdit has a key attribute the others do not. It can be used for managing multiple databases and all their tables and objects through native connections to SQL Server, Access, Oracle, CSV, Excel tables of data plus ADO/ODBC for a host of other DBMS systems.

However, that generality has its limits. Note in the screenshot, the syntax used for adding a filter condition - dbQwik Edit is very intolerant of departures from that exact syntax. In addition, each database has extended its SQL with dozens of uniquely named (but of course comon function) commands - dbQwikEdit rarely knows those database specific SQL commands and functions. For other database objects like constraints, triggers, stored procedures, views and other advanced entities, dbQwikEdit has only barebones facilities. Nonetheless for $100, dbQwikEdit provides good value for viewing and basic development of a wide range of databases - and its fall-off-the-log easy to use.

Quest Toad Data Modeler Freeware
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Quest has Toad a fairly popular database browser and editor that could give dbQwikEdit a run for its money in certain areas; however Toad the databrowser edition is database specific - you buy one version for DB2, another for Oracle and a third for MySQL. Bzzzzzt - not going to work. However, while scanning the Quest site I ran across the Toad Data Modeller. It in contrast, has a freeware version which is remarkably handy as a data modeling




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