Database and data file GUIs

March 4, 2015 — May 19, 2022

computers are awful
data sets

Often I want my data not just as lists of numbers but as something easier for my monkey brain to interpret. If you want to access databases and query/interact/edit them there are myriad options.

I’ve split off the tools that specialize in exploratory analytics and plotting under data dashboards.

We can sometimes get DB-editing like behaviour out of spreadsheets. See Data organization in spreadsheets

Figure 1

1 HDF5 viewers

See array GUIs.

2 DBeaver

DBeaver Community

DBeaver is a universal database management tool for everyone who needs to work with data in a professional way.

With DBeaver you are able to manipulate your data like in a regular spreadsheet, create analytical reports based on records from different data storages, and export information in an appropriate format. For advanced database users DBeaver suggests a powerful SQL-editor, plenty of administration features, abilities of data and schema migration, monitoring database connection sessions, and a lot more.

Out-of-the box DBeaver supports more than 80 databases.

Having usability as its main goal, DBeaver offers:

  • Carefully designed and implemented User Interface
  • Support of Cloud datasources
  • Capability to work with various extensions for integration with Excel, Git and others.

Claims to support most DBs that have a JDBC connector:

MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, SQLite, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, MS Access, Teradata, Firebird, Derby, etc.

3 OpenRefine


OpenRefine (previously Google Refine) is a powerful tool for working with messy data: cleaning it; transforming it from one format into another; and extending it with web services and external data.

4 CastleDB

CastleDB is used to input structured static data.

Everything that is usually stored in XML or JSON files can be stored and modified with CastleDB instead.

CastleDB looks like any spreadsheet editor, except that each sheet has a data model.

The model allows the editor to validate data and eases user input.

For example, when a given column references another sheet row, you will be able to select it directly.

CastleDB stores both its data model and the data contained in the rows into an easily readable JSON file.

It uses the JSON format with newlines to store its data, which in turn allows RCS such as GIT or SVN to diff/merge the data files.

Adorably it comes with a video game map-tile editor.

5 Sqlite browser

sqlitebrowser does only sqlite but is open source and featureful.

6 sqlite studio

sqlitestudio is a qt-based sqlite manager/browser, also open source.

7 MySQL Workbench

MySQL workbench is the MySQL graphical tool for database administration. I stopped using this years ago (Version 5.1) because it was unusably unstable and would constantly crash. Maybe it is better these days, a few versions later, but I no longer use MySQL.

8 datasette

datasette provides a read-only Web JSON api for SQLite. This makes it easy to bui;d tools that visualise the data, although is not an actual UI as such.

9 sqlelectron


A simple and lightweight SQL client desktop/terminal with cross database and platform support.


10 redash

redash (redash source)

Redash consists of two parts:

  • Query Editor Think of JS Fiddle for SQL queries. It’s your way to share data in the organization in an open way, by sharing both the dataset and the query that generated it. This way everyone can peer review not only the resulting dataset but also the process that generated it. Also it’s possible to fork it and generate new datasets and reach new insights.

  • Dashboards/Visualizations once you have a dataset, you can create different visualizations out of it, and then combine several visualizations into a single dashboard. Currently it supports charts, pivot table and cohorts.

11 Directus

Directus: Real-time Data Platform (source):

Directus wraps your new or existing SQL database with a realtime GraphQL+REST API for developers, and an intuitive admin app for non-technical users.

12 GraphQL

Just some links to follow up later in this section. You can probably move along.