TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Database Modification with a GUI

Volume Number: 20 (2004)
Issue Number: 4
Column Tag: Programming

Untangling the Web

by Kevin Hemenway, Windusrtian Tarutaru

Database Modification with a GUI

Modifying our MySQL database further with GUI-based editors.

For the past three or four issues, we've been exploring the MySQL database server: how to create databases, database users and their permissions, as well as how to access data from the mysql command line shell, and the Perl and PHP programming languages. In our journeys, we've also seen numerous examples of how to insert, modify, select, and delete data using the Structured Query Language (SQL).

Now that we've got some initial grounding in the manual way of doing things, we can take a brief tour of how to accomplish things visually instead. The two visual tools we present in this article, CocoaMySQL and phpMyAdmin, are roughly equivalent to the included mysql shell: you'll still need to know some SQL to get the most use out of them.

CocoaMySQL. Free, Open sourced, and OS X Only

The first utility we'll look at is CocoaMySQL from http://cocoamysql.sf.net/. It's own description is succinct enough: CocoaMySQL is an application used to manage MySQL databases (locally or over the internet). It lets you add and remove databases and tables, change fields and indexes, view and filter the content of tables, add, edit and remove rows, perform custom queries and dump tables or entire databases. When you open CocoaMySQL, first time or not, you'll always be prompted for your database settings (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Configuring a database connection in CocoaMySQL.

For our Host, we'll use "127.0.0.1" (or "connect to the MySQL server on this machine"), and you can leave Socket blank. User and Password could be one of two things: the root user created when we first installed MySQL, or the specific username and password of the database we've been fiddling with. If you choose to access your MySQL server as the root user, you can leave the Database field blank, as you'll be able to choose from a master list of databases (via the dropdown menu on the left side of Figure 1). You can also ignore the Database entry entirely: a lesser-privileged MySQL user would be given only a list of databases they have permission to (for example, leaving User and Password blank would give you access to the MySQL test database created during installation). If you'd like to connect to a specifically named database, have a blast doing so. You can save your settings by choosing the "Favorites" dropdown and then "Save to favorites..."

Figure 2 shows us connected as the davemarksman user to the mactech database. The list of database tables is shown on the left hand side, and the currently selected person table is described in the right hand pane. Depending on the level of access your MySQL user has, you'd be able to add, modify, or delete rows, as well as indexes, for this particular table.


Figure 2: The person table of our mactech database.

Particularly handy are two of our toolbar buttons. "Optimize Table" will do as it suggests: some housekeeping to keep tables that have a regular (and healthy) flow of row updates. The MySQL documentation suggests you'd only need to do this once a week or month for the heaviest of database tables, but if you're in CocoaMySQL on a regular basis, it's hard not to flick a click in its general direction. Our neighbor, "Create Table Syntax", simply spits out the raw SQL used to create the currently selected table (Figure 3). You may not find yourself using this button a lot, but it's far quicker than issuing the SQL manually.


Figure 3: The results of a "Create Table Syntax" click.

You'll also notice another handy feature of CocoaMySQL: the console, enabled with the "Show Console" toolbar button (see Figure 3). It keeps a running log of every SQL statement you've issued during your mousing with the GUI. This becomes very useful and instructional when you're still a SQL neophyte.

Let's choose the "books" table from our "Tables" menu, and click on the "Content" tab of our right-hand pane. You'll see a list of all the data within that table (Figure 4). You can rearrange the width of the columns as you see fit, but be forewarned that these visual-only preferences will be lost when you quit CocoaMySQL. You also have the ability to more narrowly determine what content you'd like to see with the forms above the data field: choose the table field to search through, the type of evaluation (context-sensitive, it'll change depending on whether the field is an integer or string), and the desired match.


Figure 4: Displaying the contents of our book table.

Unfortunately, you can't create AND/OR queries here; instead, you'd use the "Custom Query" tab, as shown in Figure 5. Previously entered custom queries are selectable from a dropdown, can be saved as "Favorites", and SQL errors are displayed on screen. It'd be nice if a future version of CocoaMySQL could allow multiple conditions under the "Content" tab, but for those that know SQL already, we'll get by with the "Custom Query" tab instead.


Figure 5: Custom queries within CocoaMySQL.

CocoaMySQL can also export entire databases in one of three formats: raw SQL (for when you want to dump the entire database, and then import it elsewhere), and comma-separated or XML for entire tables, groups of tables, or a custom query. The XML export, buzzwordy enough to satisfy feature gluts, is a wrapper for the same feature through the mysql shell:

~ > mysql -X -e "select * from books" mactech
<?xml version="1.0"?>

<resultset statement="select * from books">
  <row>
        <id>9</id>
        <title>Spidering Hacks</title>
        <publication>2003-11-01</publication>
  </row>

  <row>
        <id>10</id>
        <title>Mac OS X Hacks</title>
        <publication>2003-04-01</publication>
  </row>

  <row>
        <id>13</id>
        <title>Object Oriented Perl</title>
        <publication>2000-00-00</publication>
  </row>

  <row>
        <id>14</id>
        <title>MySQL</title>
        <publication>1999-01-01</publication>
  </row>

  <row>
        <id>15</id>
        <title>PHP and MySQL Web Development</title>
        <publication>2003-00-00</publication>
  </row>
</resultset>

phpMyAdmin: Free, Open sourced, and Platform Agnostic

If there's one major drawback of CocoaMySQL, it's that you have to be using Mac OS X. When you desperately need a quick and dirty piece of data, you'll probably be using something downright distasteful. phpMyAdmin (http://phpmyadmin.sf.net/) is a web-based solution that can be accessed from everywhere you want to be, and on whatever OS you happened to be saddled with. It's also one of those applications that can cause some quizzical misgivings until you become familiar with it.

To install phpMyAdmin, download and extract the latest version (2.5.6 as of this writing) into /Library/WebServer/Documents/phpMyAdmin/. Open config.inc.php in your favorite editor and modify the $cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] to contain your MySQL root password. Also take a look at the surrounding configuration values and set them as appropriate: the host and PmaAbsoluteUri are especially relevant (for our purposes here, simply inserting the root password will work well enough). Finally, load http://127.0.0.1/phpMyAdmin in your browser to display Figure 6.


Figure 6: The start page of our phpMyAdmin installation.

phpMyAdmin provides an insane amount of features in regards to database manipulation and analysis: you'll do yourself some good to familiarize yourself with the available documentation. For now, choose the mactech database from the left-handed dropdown menu, and you'll be shown something similar to Figure 7.


Figure 7: Icons, options, and inputs aplenty

As previously alluded, it is very easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of options available. Naturally, things will start falling into place if you use phpMyAdmin often enough, but until then, all the icons have tooltips, all the errors have clickable explanations, and most of the worrisome options have "are you sure?" Javascript confirmations. Figure 8, accessible by clicking the "Properties" icon of a table, is similar to the table display of CocoaMySQL's Figure 2, and Figure 9 (the "Browse" tab) is equivalent to the listing of CocoaMySQL's Figure 4.


Figure 8: The person table of our mactech database.


Figure 9: Displaying the contents of our book table.

Homework Malignments

And thus completes our dissertation on basic database access with MySQL, the shell, PHP, Perl, CocoaMySQL, phpMyAdmin, and OS X. Helpful? Useless? Lacking? Confusing? Want more? Have questions? Next month, we'll be starting a new breed of Untangling the Web articles, but until then...

Email your suggestions, thoughts and comments to

editor-in-chief@mactech.com.


Kevin Hemenway, coauthor of Mac OS X Hacks and Spidering Hacks, is better known as Morbus Iff, the creator of disobey.com, which bills itself as "content for the discontented." Publisher and developer of more home cooking than you could ever imagine (like the popular open-sourced aggregator AmphetaDesk, the best-kept gaming secret Gamegrene.com, the ever ignorable Nonsense Network, etc.), he's currently a more-than-eighth level RDM on the Phoenix server. Contact him at morbus@disobey.com.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

The beginner's guide to Warbits
Warbits is a turn-based strategy that's clearly inspired by Nintendo's Advance Wars series. Since turn-based strategy games can be kind of tricky to dive into, see below for a few tips to help you in the beginning. Positioning is crucial [Read... | Read more »
How to upgrade your character in Spellsp...
So you’ve mastered the basics of Spellspire. By which I mean you’ve realised it’s all about spelling things in a spire. What next? Well you’re going to need to figure out how to toughen up your character. It’s all well and good being able to spell... | Read more »
5 slither.io mash-ups we'd love to...
If there's one thing that slither.io has proved, it's that the addictive gameplay of Agar.io can be transplanted onto basically anything and it will still be good fun. It wouldn't be surprising if we saw other developers jumping on the bandwagon,... | Read more »
How to navigate the terrain in Sky Charm...
Sky Charms is a whimsical match-'em up adventure that uses creative level design to really ramp up the difficulty. [Read more] | Read more »
Victorious Knight (Games)
Victorious Knight 1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.3 (iTunes) Description: New challenges awaits you! Experience fresh RPG experience with a unique combat mechanic, packed with high quality 3D... | Read more »
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game (Gam...
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Someone’s been spying on Gumball. What the what?! Two can play at that game! GO UNDERCOVERSneak past enemy... | Read more »
Runaway Toad (Games)
Runaway Toad 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It ain’t easy bein’ green! Tap, hold, and swipe to help Toad hop to safety in this gorgeous new action game from the creators of... | Read more »
PsyCard (Games)
PsyCard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: From the makers och Card City Nights, Progress To 100 and Ittle Dew PSYCARD is a minesweeper-like game set in a cozy cyberpunk... | Read more »
Sago Mini Robot Party (Education)
Sago Mini Robot Party 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: -- Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice -- | Read more »
How to get a high score in every level o...
Sky Charms is an adorable match three puzzler that provides a decent challenge thanks to its creative level design. It regularly presents something new, forcing you to think on your feet. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks Certified Refurbished Mac mini...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any reseller (and... Read more
Apple Beats Microsoft at Own Game; Amazon Pri...
First quarter seasonality combined with an overall disinterested customer base led to an annual decline of 14.7% in worldwide tablet shipments during the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16). Worldwide... Read more
Tablets Had Worst Quarter Since 2012, says St...
The global tablet market began 2016 just as 2015 left off, down. Tablet shipments fell 10% to 46.5 million units during the Q1 2016, according to the new “Preliminary Global Tablet Shipments and... Read more
Clearance 13-inch MacBook Airs, Apple refurbi...
Apple recently dropped prices on certified refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Airs with 4GB of RAM with models now available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and... Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has dropped prices on Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks with models now available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping... Read more
Aleratec Releases Mac Software Upgrade for 1...
California based Aleratec Inc., designer, developer and manufacturer of Portable Device Management (PDM) charge/sync products for mobile devices and professional-grade duplicators for hard disk... Read more
Sale! Amazon offers 27-inch iMac, 13-inch 2.9...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.2GHz 5K iMac and the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $300 off MSRP, each including free shipping, for a limited time: - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD 5K iMac (model MK462LL/A): $... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Take $200 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (model MF839LL/A) at Amazon. Shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1099.99 $200 off MSRP Act now if... Read more

Jobs Board

Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 48260200 Phoenix, Arizona, United States Posted: Apr. 22, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.