Tired of MySQL Workbench? Replace it with SQLyog

If you are using MySQL Workbench on Windows...you need to look at SQLyog

SQLyog
Credit: Andypham3000

If you are a MySQL DB admin or PHP developer, odds are high you have used MySQL Workbench as a database management tool at least once. Although the free cost of MySQL Workbench is very attractive, performance is less than stellar when strained. Many users have also reported MySQL Workbench hangs or fails to respond. Experiencing these same issues with MySQL Workbench, I began a search for a better MySQL management tool and discovered SQLyog.

Installation

SQLyog is available in three major versions: Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Differences among the three versions primarily lie in the number of included features such as data migration, profiling, visual designers and analysis tools. At this time, SQLyog is only available for the Windows platform, but rumors of a cross-platform version, called SQLyog Max have been percolating in SQLyog's forum threads.

The trial version of SQLyog can be downloaded from the Webyog company website. After initial testing of the product, I briefly used the trial edition on a "real world" software project. Pleased with SQLyog's stability, I first purchased SQLyog Professional, later upgrading to SQLyog Ultimate.

There was a slight hiccup upgrading from Professional to Ultimate though. After purchasing the upgrade, I was mistakenly given a license for SQLyog Enterprise - Single User with Premium Support instead of the Ultimate version. To Webyog's credit, the mistake was handled quickly, but the experience illustrates that the upgrade process needs a little tweaking.

Testing

To test SQLYog and run it through its paces, I tested it against an employees sample database running locally on a development laptop with Windows 8.1 Professional and MySQL version 5.6. I also tested SQLyog hitting a MySQL database server on my local network and remote MySQL servers through a VPN connection.

As mentioned earlier, a problem I often encountered using MySQL Workbench was its inability to connect to multiple MySQL database servers concurrently for any length of time without freezing or crashing. After weeks of use, I can confidently say SQLyog has no issues with this trivial task: No crashes, freezing, or locking up.

SQLyog connecting to multiple servers.

Next, I tested SQLyog's touted Query Builder feature. Query Builder is similar to features found in SQL Server Management Studio, Microsoft Access and other apps that allow users to create SQL statements visually:

SQLyog Query Builder

Query Builder is intuitive, easy to use and generally works as advertised with only one minor inconvenience: I would have preferred executing SQL statements generated by the builder without the need to open an additional tab. To make life easier, a right-click option allows the user to copy Query Builder SQL statements to a new tab. In the new tab, a quick tap of the F9 (or F5) key will execute the generated statement. However, this additional step is only a minor inconvenience in what is an otherwise excellent implementation.

Copy SQL to new tab.

For users that absolutely require the use of a visual SQL builder, Query Builder alone justifies the purchase of SQLyog Enterprise or higher.

Another visual tool found in SQLyog is the Schema Designer -- this too is simple to use, permitting fast creation of database schema diagrams. Schema canvases can be exported as an image or printed. SQLyog will also display page breaks -- represented as dashed blue lines -- if the feature is toggled on using the right-click context menu:

SQLyog Schema Designer

Tools for the professional

SQLyog contains a plethora of data tools -- almost too many to keep track of. For professional MySQL developers, Batch Script, Scheduled Backups, User Manager, and the Database Copy tools automate common tasks and work dependably. No unexpected errors, bugs or quirky behavior were encountered testing these features. Some tools -- such as the Batch Script tool -- can also be ran as a wizard:

SQLyog Batch Script wizard.

In my tests of the Copy Database tool, SQLyog performed admirably in a variety of test scenarios. Tests included copying databases via VPN connection and copying to/from local network servers:

SQLyog's Copy Database tool

In addition to the rich set of data tools, SQLyog provides detailed profile information for every SQL statement executed:

Split view of various SQLyog profile data

Finally, the Preferences menu allows a developer to customize the look and feel of SQLyog. For anyone used to Microsoft's SQL tools, checking the Switch F5 and F9 functionalities option is a godsend:

SQLyog Preferences dialog

Bottom line

If you are a MySQL database professional, or regularly need a reliable MySQL management tool that can run on Microsoft Windows, SQLyog is a must-have.

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