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Fall 2008

Good Tools: MySQL Workbench: A visual database design tool
-James Conners (CCE/PAL) Relational databases make ideal data storage backends for many applications. MySQL in particular,being free and being supported by many programming languages, is especially popular. And being so popular

Source: JoinVision E-Services GmbH, July 2006 there has been much interest in developingapplications that support working with MySQL databases. In addition to the command line interface built in to the software, there are many available programs both free and commercial for creating, updatingand managing MySQL databases. And so as a result it is often times the case that within a team of developers each one has his or her preferred interface. Certain tools seem to be better suited fordifferent tasks. A consequence, however, is that many times updates made throughout a particular database's life cycle are done using different software, sometimes introducing inconsistencies. Forsmaller applications that require rapid development and deployment, this may not be a problem. When the scale of the project increases along with the number of

developers maintaining the database(s),it often becomes more important to establish best practices along with some way of reviewing changes and the state of the project.

One application I've recently found useful for creating andmaintaining largerscaled database projects is MySQL Workbench, a visual design tool and successor to DBDesigner4. Specifically, we've recently updated one of our largest databases containing almost fortytables using this software. With the free version the capability is available to reverse engineer an existing MySQL database using the CREATE script that you can export using almost any databasemanagement application. Using this script the software will build a model, including an entityrelationship (ER) diagram, for the database. Existing tables can be edited and new tables added through the...