SQL Workbench: the Swiss Knife SQL Query Tool

SQL WorkbenchSQL Workbench is an SQL query tool clearly built by engineers for engineers. The kind of attention these developers obviously pay to both feature design and details is really an example how professional tools should be built.

To begin with, it does not assume much about the environment. It is a Java application so it runs on most desktop operating systems and it uses JDBC to access databases, so it can work with basically any RDBMS out there. This means that you can derive value from its use in a wider set of use cases and that you don’t have to learn to use another tool to get the job done on another database.

While it is not FOSS, it does support some of the basic freedoms: the rights to distribute and use the software in any way (other than to sell it, apparently). Unfortunately, this does not include the right to modify it and it is a bit of a mystery why. I would very much like to see it released under GPLv3 or a similar licence and who knows? We might get to see the day…

It seems appropriate to start a review of an SQL query tool from its SQL handling capabilities. Continue reading “SQL Workbench: the Swiss Knife SQL Query Tool”


No kind words for Microsoft Word

Microsoft WordWell clearly, it is not free software, runs on only one operating system (and not a very good one, at that) and its maker has a long history of sabotaging every aspect of interoperability. However, I have been forced to use it by rules beyond my control and the impression I got is not very flattering. These are some of my observations, in roughly chronological (i.e. useless) order:

  • it scales pasted images from other applications so that it can’t be scaled to the original size and ratio
  • inconsistencies between pop-up and main menus, e.g. no “insert row” in a table context menu, but it is present in the main menu
  • it hangs several times a day
  • it promotes sloppy style management: “you do what you like with the text and I’ll see what I can make of it”-approach
    • regularly mixes “Body Text” and “Normal” styles making documents look bad and requiring subsequent clean-up
  • the dynamic main menu: searching for less used features takes more than its share of time, menu items can no longer be expected to be where they “usually” are
  • Continue reading “No kind words for Microsoft Word”