When I came across the tool called DBeaver, the first thing to hit me was the name; I have a soft spot in my heart for those chubby, brown, flat-tail critters so often portrayed as saucy creatures out to take down mankind. But more importantly was the idea of a universal database manager that looks you in the eye and says “All your databases are belong to us!” Don’t believe me? DBeaver can handle the following databases:

  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • PostgreSQL
  • IBM DB2
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Sybase
  • ODBC
  • Java DB (Derby)
  • Firebird (Interbase)
  • SQLite
  • Mimer
  • H2
  • IBM Informix
  • Cache
  • Ingres
  • Linter
  • Any JDBC compliant data source

DBeaver works on these platforms:

  • Windows (2000/XP/2003/Vista/7)
  • Linux
  • Mac OS
  • Solaris
  • AIX
  • HPUX

DBeaver offers these features:

  • Database metadata browse
  • Metadata editor (tables, columns, keys, indexes)
  • SQL statements/scripts execution
  • SQL highlighting (specific for each database engine)
  • Autocompletion and metadata hyperlinks in SQL editor
  • Result set/table edit
  • BLOB/CLOB support (view and edit modes)
  • Scrollable resultsets
  • Data (tables, query results) export
  • Transactions management
  • Database objects (tables, columns, constraints, procedures) search
  • ER diagrams
  • Database object bookmarks
  • SQL scripts management
  • Projects (connections, SQL scripts and bookmarks)

There are even features that can be added, thanks to the MySQL plugin, such as:

  • Enum/Set datatypes
  • Procedures/triggers view
  • Metadata DDL view
  • Session management
  • Users management
  • Catalogs management
  • Advanced metadata editor

Read over those incredible lists again; you will not find such a feature-rich database manager anywhere else.

Installing DBeaver

I’ll install Dbeaver on a Debian-based machine that runs a MySQL server. Making the translation to the other platforms shouldn’t be a problem for anyone already knee-deep in database management.

DBeaver can be installed either on the machine serving up the database or as a remote manager. The ability to use DBeaver as a remote manager allows you to very easily manage multiple databases and database types on multiple platforms all from a single location, which adds to its list of incredible features.

To install DBeaver on a Debian machine, follow these steps:

  1. Download the .deb file from the DBeaver download page.
  2. Open a terminal window.
  3. Change into the directory housing the downloaded file.
  4. Issue the command sudo dpkg -i debeaver_XXX.AAA.deb (where XXX is the release number and AAA is the architecture type).
  5. Enter your sudo password and then let the installation complete.

The location of the menu entry will vary depending on the desktop you use. For example, in XFCE, the menu entry is in the Development menu. When you first start up DBeaver, the connection wizard (Figure A) will walk you through the process of connecting to whatever database server you need.
Figure A

I’ll be connecting to a MySQL server, so I click the top entry and click Next.

After you select the database type, click Next. Depending on the type of database server to which you’re connecting, DBeaver might prompt you that it needs to download and install extra software. Let this happen; otherwise, you cannot continue with the setup. This new window (Figure B) requires the connection details for the database server. If the server is hosted on the same machine that DBeaver is installed, the Server Host will most likely be localhost.
Figure B

Make sure you click the Test Connection button before continuing.

If you want to connect to the database server and have access to all the schema on the system, do not enter a database name — leave that field blank, and you’ll have access to all the schema. If you want to connect to only one particular database, enter the name of the schema.
Once everything passes muster, click Next to go to the final screen in the wizard. In this window (Figure C), you need to add a name for the connection and configure any options you might want.
Figure C

If security isn’t a concern, uncheck the Save Password Locally option.

Once you complete the wizard, DBeaver will open to display all of the databases on your server (Figure D). This is where you can manage nearly every aspect of the database.
Figure D

The databases, tables, and table data are listed.

Now you’re ready to tackle your databases of any type or size. Give DBeaver a try and report back about what you like or don’t like about the tool.