myLittleAdmin Web-Based SQL Manager Packs a Big Punch

by Anthony Wilko

Introduction

When a host decides to offer Microsoft SQL Server databases as a feature,
customers need a way to access their databases. Usually it is through one of
the following ways:

MS SQL Enterprise Manager – Many hosts choose to have their
customers use the free built-in desktop Enterprise Manager, which has become a
familiar way to edit SQL Server. However, using Enterprise Manager has several
pitfalls.

1. It creates a potential security
risk for web-hosts; port 1433 has to be open in order for customers to manage
their database.

2. It has to be installed on the
user’s machine, if the user can even acquire the software itself (which is
included with the MS SQL installation CD or full download, but is not available
separately).

3. It also allows its users to see
not only their database, but all databases on the SQL server. While users do
not have access to databases other than their own, they already know one piece
of the puzzle to getting someone else’s data… the database name.

Web-Based Tools – Web-based tools, on the other hand, offer
more flexibility and control over what the user can and cannot see. There are a
number of free web-based tools out there, such as ASPEnterpriseManager and
Microsoft’s Web Data Admin, but free tools often lead to poor support, few
updates, and are usually incomplete tools as in the case of both
ASPEnterpriseManager and Web Data Admin. You also run the risk of potential
security compromises if the software is not being constantly revised and
updated by the community.

Payware web-based tools are often very expensive and finding a payware
solution that is complete, usable and affordable is quite a challenge. That is,
until you look at myLittleTools
myLittleAdmin.

myLittleTools’ myLittleAdmin

One program that is sure to keep hosted customers using MS SQL , and the
hosts who have to shell out the bucks for a good tool happy, is myLittleTools’
myLittleAdmin. myLittleAdmin is a web-based Microsoft SQL Server database
management tool that brings the familiar Microsoft Enterprise Manager look and
feel to your web browser (see Figure 1).

Click for larger image
myLittleTools' myLittleAdmin Interface


Figure 1. myLittleTools’ myLittleAdmin Interface

There are two versions of myLittleAdmin. A less expensive web hosting
version, which allows you to use myLittleAdmin to access only one database
server and has a limited feature set that web hosts need, and an Enterprise
version, which has all the bells and whistles and allows connection to multiple
database servers through the one installation.

This article briefly discusses the installation and feature set of the
Enterprise version since this will give you a good idea of the complete
capabilities of this product. This product is so complex we could easily cover
100 pages on it, but for the sake of time, we will try to highlight the
product’s strong points. Installation

Installation is a breeze. The software comes ready to be unzipped into your
web server web root and since it is Active Server Pages (ASP) based, it will
easily run on Microsoft platforms running Internet Information Server (IIS)
with ASP enabled. Web Data Admin, on the other hand, is confusing to configure
because it does not give you the option to put the app where you want it. It
just installs through an MSI package, and you are left trying to figure out how
to access it. I literally spent 20 minutes just trying to figure out how to
move the installation to another site.

Once extracted into the web folder of my choice, the only thing I needed to
do with myLittleAdmin was ensure the directory I extracted myLittleAdmin into
was configured as an application (see Figure 2).

Click for larger image
Creating an Application in IIS

Figure 2. Creating an Application in IIS

Then, off to tweaking the config file. The config file, contained in the
scripts/inc directory, contains all of the settings for enabling/disabling the
features of myLittleAdmin. You have a ton of flexibility here as well as the
ability to offer varying levels of administrative privileges to allow, say, the
system administrator to have full control over just about all of the system
features of MS SQL while giving the casual web user access to only their
database and a limited subset of features.

Features you have control of include turning on and off features for editing
databases, tables, views, stored procedures, users, roles, rules, logins, different
tools (such as query analyzer, backup wizard, CSV import, etc), backup devices,
custom skins, and more.

Turning privileges on or off is as simple as putting a 1, 2, or 3 next to
the appropriate feature, where 1, 2 and 3 are the privilege levels used to
access myLittleAdmin.

Once you have modified the config file to your liking, that’s it! All you
need to do now is browse to the myLittleAdmin path with your web browser and you
are ready to log in.

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