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Best SQL IDEs for You in 2021

Maybe you just started learning SQL. Maybe you already have some experience. Whatever your situation is, choosing the right IDE for you is another step in your development.

Why IDE?

IDE stands for integrated development environment. It is a software application that enables us to combine various aspects of writing a computer program. An IDE usually contains a source code editor, build automation tools, and a debugger.

You might ask why you need an IDE when you have the command line available on your computer. Writing queries in the command line vs. using an IDE is a hot topic of discussion in the developer community.

Many of you probably started with the command line. You could handle everything with SQL that way, but when you start to work with big databases, things can get difficult.

Today, you can learn whenever you want from the comfort of your own home, and you can choose from a vast array of SQL courses to get a strong foundation. As we always say, you need to practice SQL, so a practice set of online SQL activities provides great opportunities to develop your learning routines. You can even learn how to work with open-source database systems. You can eventually become an SQL expert even if you are a beginner right now. And when you start to work on your own SQL projects, an editor might be useful. Or you might need an IDE when you have to collect and analyze data at work.

There are many editors available out there. But which one is the best SQL IDE for you? We’ve made a list of the most common and trusted SQL IDEs of 2021. You can then choose one for yourself.

Our Shortlist of the Best SQL IDEs

This is not a ranking, so we’ve put them in alphabetical order. We’ve chosen the most popular and well-regarded IDEs in the SQL community:

  • Adminer
  • DBeaver
  • HeidiSQL
  • Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express
  • MySQL Workbench
  • Oracle SQL Developer
  • RazorSQL
  • SQuirrel SQL
  • Toad for SQL Server
  • Valentina Studio

Check out our description of the basic specifications for each selected SQL code editor below.

Adminer

This is a complete database management tool. It covers many relational databases: PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server, Firebird, and others.

Adminer can integrate with existing databases, but you can also use it to create a new one.

It can execute any SQL command from the text field as well as from files. Adminer has a set of customization options for developers who want flexibility in managing their SQL projects.

Key features:

  • Intuitive user interface. There is no unnecessary icon in the editor or unnecessary content that makes the software difficult to learn.
  • Login credentials. Adminer has its own set of login credentials with which you can connect to the database server where your data resides as well as access the SQL editor.
  • Database administration panel. It provides simplified and direct access to all tools.
  • Stand-alone data editor. Adminer has its own set of login credentials which helps you manage your database and access the SQL editor with a single login. The data editor simplifies editing your data with smart autocomplete.

DBeaver

DBeaver

This is a free, open-source, multiplatform database tool. DBeaver supports all popular databases: PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, MS Access, Teradata, Firebird, Apache Hive, Phoenix, Presto, etc.

Key features:

  • Convenient data view window. It has a data view window that is helpful in filtering results and making changes. You can update your data directly in this window.
  • Simplified SQL editing. The editor includes autoformat, autocomplete, and hyperlinks which helps you code faster.
  • A user-friendly interface.

HeidiSQL

This is another free and open-source SQL editor. It lets you work with systems including MySQL, MariaDB, MS SQL, and PostgreSQL. It has a comprehensive data synchronization option and a query building feature to support database management. The downside of HeidiSQL is that it is only available for the Windows operating system.

Key features:

  • Everything in one window. It is even possible to connect to multiple servers in one window.
  • Data synchronization. You can create and modify tables, views, stored routines, and scheduled events.
  • Light and portable system. The interface does not require much processing power to run, so it works on almost all devices. It also has a portable version.

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express

This is also Windows-only, but this IDE is really well equipped. It has a fully integrated script editor as well as robust reporting functionalities for query statistics.

Key features:

  • A single, integrated environment for SQL Server database engine management and authoring.
  • Integrated script editor. You can find a set of custom templates that make scripting faster than ever.
  • Exporting and importing SQL Server Management Studio.
  • Object explorer. You can view and manage objects and filter them for faster searches according to your criteria.
  • Activity monitor. It logs everything for you in real time to help you track changes.

MySQL Workbench

MySQL Workbench

This is a unified visual tool for anyone who works with MySQL databases. With this IDE, you can visually design, model, generate, and manage databases. MySQL Workbench is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Key features:

  • Visual SQL Editor. It is perfect for building, editing, and running queries. What’s particularly useful is that you can preview your changes before applying them. It also has an efficient debugging tool, color syntax highlighting, context-sensitive help, and autocomplete features.
  • Database migration tool. It has an easy solution for migrating from Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Sybase ASE, PostgreSQL, and other RDBMS tables, objects, and data into MySQL.
  • Visual performance dashboard. With a single click, you can see where to optimize your query with the Visual Explain Plan.

Oracle SQL Developer

Oracle SQL Developer

This is a well-known IDE used by developers all over the world. It has an easy-to-use interface and a toolkit with formatting features, object browsers, SQL worksheets, and data modelers. It also has a very intuitive SQL editor with a testing mechanism.

Key features:

  • Simple worksheet. It has SQL formatting, script execution recall, and a visual query builder. You will also find here an integrated file history and change logging tool that allows you to track activities in your database.
  • Procedure editor. You can execute, compile, and refactor stored procedures, functions, and triggers.
  • Reporting function. Generate predefined reports, or you can create custom ones using over 50 different charting options and report formats. It helps you understand the performance of your database.

RazorSQL

Another well-equipped software. What‘s interesting is that it has a built-in database (HSQLDB) that requires no manual configuration. This software can connect to all major databases and has been tested on more than 40, so you don’t need to change if you use another one.

Key features:

  • Powerful editor. It does syntax highlighting, autocomplete, multiple query execution, function lookup, and more. You will be able to use PHP, Java, JavaScript, HTML, or other coding languages without having to shift from one software to another. All this, thanks to the EditRocket code editor which supports programming languages other than SQL.
  • Browsing functionality. It allows you to explore various structures, schemas, tables, foreign keys, and indexes within your database.
  • Data comparison. You don’t have to search data manually. This editor will analyze tables, views, and queries across your databases.

SQuirrel SQL

It is a free, open-source client program. It has many useful features such as options to create table charts and generate advanced scripts. The graphing features makes it easy to manage databases.

Key features:

  • The graph plugin. It has a manual query building tool and an automated SQL query generation feature. You can easily assemble relationships between table charts.
  • Editable results tab. It gives you a complete overview of the information you want from your database.
  • Smart editor. You will find tools like syntax highlighting and code completion, but what makes this special is that it keeps features to a minimum without compromising flexibility. Even the editing interface is clean and simple to help boost productivity.

Toad for SQL Server

Toad for SQL Server

This IDE can be a bit expensive for a limited budget, but it has a lot to give. Toad for SQL Server comes with advanced code completion that simplifies the coding process.

Key features:

  • It saves users time by providing them with routines to automate and schedule repetitive processes, including data and schema comparisons.
  • Database administration. Toad provides the capability to undo or redo transactions stored in log files, detach transaction log files, identify differences in scripts, and generate scripts for synchronization. You also have a complete view of multiple databases in one interface.
  • Development productivity. You can work more efficiently with functionalities like advanced code completion, SQL formatting, and the structured presentation of SQL scripts in Script Map. You can execute scripts against multiple servers and instances and debug easily.

Valentina Studio

This is a free database management tool. It works with Valentina DB, MariaDB, MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL, and it runs on any operating system. It has many tools to help you in creating and executing your SQL queries. Valentina helps diagnose, compress, clone, and reindex data.

Key features:

  • Editing functions. The system does autocomplete and syntax highlighting. It also helps you save your favorite queries and access recent queries, so you don’t have to input them manually. You can easily check syntaxes for errors with the consoles.
  • Diagram editor. It comes with backward and forward engineering tools. You can easily generate scripts and navigate through your database visually. This functionality makes it easier to build and organize new databases.
  • Reports editor. With Valentina, you can prepare engaging reports. Check out the feature set of controls, charts, and graphs, to design the layout of your reports visually.

What Is Your Favorite SQL IDE?

Feel free to comment on our selection of the best SQL IDEs. Maybe you have used some other editors. Spread the word and don’t hesitate to share your experience!

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