RDBMS Management on macOS

There was a time not so long ago that Database Administrators (DBAs) worked with database servers that were running on their company’s infrastructure, perhaps even nearby on the same floor.  Since the emergence of cloud database services like Amazon Aurora, Google Cloud SQL, and Oracle Database Cloud Service, this arrangement is all but obsolete.  Although just about all cloud DBaaS platforms offer their own web consoles and tools for managing your databases, many DBAs prefer to rely on the familiarity and superior performance of native applications.

While most apps focus on a specific database product, a few have gone the extra mile in supporting numerous database platforms.  In today’s article, we’ll explore a recent addition named TablePlus.  It supports a whole set of relational databases including PostgreSQL, MySQL, RedShift, SQL Server, MariaDB, Redis, and SQLite, with support for Oracle and CockroachDB coming soon.

A Quick Overview

Creating a Database Connection

Create a New Database
Create a New Database

At the bottom of the application window, there are a number of controls for performing different operations.

Directly beneath the database Items, there is a plus sign (+) for adding a new table as well as a list for navigating between databases.

Below the table data there is:

  • a plus sign (+) for adding a new table row
  • a toggle button for switching between table Data and Structure
  • row information
  • a button to select which Columns to display
  • a button to filter results
  • arrow buttons to navigate through the result set
  • a cog icon for setting the record paging Limit and Offset properties

Modifying Table Data

Clicking a table row will highlight it and populate the searchable Fields pane to the right of the row details.  Pressing the Option button while clicking a cell will put it in Edit mode.  Modifying the contents of a cell will show its edited state by changing the background color.  The same color will be applied to the database items list.  The highlighted elements are those that have been updated but not yet committed.  To apply your changes, click the Apply Commands button, shown with a red rectangle below:

Apply Commands Button
Apply Commands Button

In the above screenshot, you can also see how I used the Filters button to narrow down the data to those rows that contains the word “rock”.  It’s also accessible using Cmd + F shortcut key.  In fact, every function can be executed using shortcut keys; it’s one of TablePlus users’ favorite features!

Depending on your preference settings, screens can either open in a tab or new window.  The above image contains my two tabs open: SQL Query and albums. 

Before committing your changes, you can preview all of the statements in the Code Review window. In the following screenshot, I created a new table named “subgenres” and added three records:

Code Review Window
Code Review Window

Querying the Database

TablePlus comes equipped with a full-featured SQL editor that includes all of the bells and whistles that you’d expect in a professional grade app, including: Syntax Highlighting, Beautify SQL, Splitting Results into Tabs, Splitting the Pane Horizontally, to name but a few.

The Autocomplete Feature

Autocomplete is one of the best perks of graphical SQL Editors and TablePlus’s works very well. As soon as you type a few characters of a word in the editor, the autocomplete list will appear below the text.  It contains both database keywords as well as objects like tables, views, and columns:

Autocomplete Feature
Autocomplete Feature

You can run all statements in the editor, the current one, or just the selected text.  The results appear underneath the editor.  Individual column values may also be displayed if the Field Details pane is showing:

Results Appear Underneath the Editor
Results Appear Underneath the Editor

Query results may be exported in either CSV or JSON format.

Conclusion

In these times of rampant data theft, you’ll be happy to know that TablePlus never syncs any user data to the cloud.  Moreover, the TablePlus website only maintains account information for licensing, managing seats and updates.  You can refer to their Privacy and Terms of Service Policy for all the details.

TablePlus is a young project; Pham and his team fix bugs and add new features every day, then put them together in a new update released at the end of the week or month.  There is no official how-to guide as of yet, but there is a fair amount of information on their blog, as well as a growing community on Facebook, Twitter, and GitHub.  You can also request new features via the issue tracker.  

If you’re looking for an inexpensive database management tool that can connect to many DBMS types, then I would suggest that you give TablePlus a try.

See all articles by Rob Gravelle

Robert Gravelle
Rob Gravelle resides in Ottawa, Canada, and has been an IT guru for over 20 years. In that time, Rob has built systems for intelligence-related organizations such as Canada Border Services and various commercial businesses. In his spare time, Rob has become an accomplished music artist with several CDs and digital releases to his credit.

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