MySQL Workbench

MySQL Workbench is a tool to design, develop and administrate SQL database as a replacement for former MySQL GUI tools buddle. It provides comprehensive set of features including MySQL instance control, entity relationship diagrams, privileges control and reverse engineering of a current live database.Most importantly you can have all the above features under one hood un-like previous MqSQL GUI tool bundle. And as always you can freely download this software without any cost regardless of the fact that MySQL tools are now developing by Oracle Corporation.


Getting Started


If you don’t have MySQL server installed, download it from here and install it. If you have WAMP server installed its already contain MySQL server. Once you make sure that MySQL server is installed and properly configured you can proceed with the installation of MySQL workbench. Download the setup file from here and simply follow the steps in installation process. In addition to that you can uninstall if you have any previous versions of MySQL GUI tool since MySQL workbench going to provide same and better service than those. Finally you can start MySQL workbench and open its main user interface.


As the first step you should connect MySQL workbench with MySQL server. In order to do that follow the path Main menu -> Database -> Manage Connections. In there you can start new connection and provide the required parameters including Hostname, port, username and password of your installed MySQL server. Finally test connection, if its giving message “Connect parameters are correct” you are done. If not you have to check whether the parameters are correct and matching with MySQL server configuration.


Graphical Data Modeling

This is one of the most important features in MySQL Workbench which was not there in previous versions of MySQL GUI tools. In order to start a new Entity relationship diagram you should go to the section “EER Diagrams” in the main GUI. There you can add diagram and start designing. Same as all the other tools you can add an entity, relationships, choose cardinality etc. The highlighted features in this tool are once you add an entity it automatically adds the primary key named as ID + entity name. You can easily develop relationships and foreign key management is automated. Most importantly if you add a Many to many relationship it will automatically adds an associate table to simplify the relationship. Once you double click the entity you can enter its specification. There you can easily add columns with data types, assign indexes, assign foreign key actions on update and on delete etc. In addition to these general features it provides advance features including role management and Partitioning to improve the performance of the databases. Finally you can create the physical data base by following the path Database -> Forward engineer. Once you do that, it will automatically create the physical database as you designed in ERD.

Reverse Engineering

This is providing feature to reverse engineer currently existing database and get the ERD out of that which is a very useful feature. In order to do that you must follow the path Database -> reverser engineer. In there you can select currently deployed data bases. You can select one of them and get the ERD out of it. Most importantly you can alter the design and recreate the data base using this tool.

Other Features

In addition to above features it provides MySQL instance control, scrip executing and various other MySQL operations. One of the most highlighted features here is Plug-in support. There are various Plug-ins provided to extend the features of MySQL workbench. In addition to that as always there is a good supporting community to back up this software, provide solutions, share knowledge and further development.


Though this is very sophisticated GUI tool for MySQL databases there are some minor disadvantages as well. Mainly compared to other Database designing tools including Visual Paradigm, MySQL work bench provides limited facilities to design ERDs. The way it creates relationship is not that user friendly and the designer has made many clicks to get it done. In addition to that there is no way to reverse engineer a SQL script. If the developer can only reverse engineer a live database. Finally some times it’s giving a error on close in windows 7.


The current stable release of MySQL workbench is 5.1.18. In addition to that there is beta releases, latest one is  5.2.20 beta 10. According to their change log you may notice they are in very active development process in order to release a new stable version.  All the releases are free and provides cross platform compatibility.

I think this is the GUI tools which all the SQL developers were waiting to use. It provides solutions to almost all the problems which were there is previous GUI tools. Most importantly it saves lots of time and money in the database design and development. Actually this great tool completes the MySQL server like never before.


  • Handelman, M. (2009, September). MySQL Workbench Functions On Snow Leopard. Retrieved May 2010, from


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