Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Accessing Databases on a Mac

One of the first tasks I faced when setting up a Mac in our workplace for the first time was to get it to access a number of Oracle 9i databases that we use. I investigated the Oracle website to find an official client and came away with my head spinning - they appeared to have one but it seemed incredibly complicated to set up and without a clean installer - I wasn't very impressed. My colleague suggested I try a DBMS called 'Aqua Data Studio' ( which is open source, available for a whole host of platforms and provides access to a variety of different databases.

I really can't say enough nice things about this program - plain and simple, it rocks. In a few minutes I had this guy's Mac accessing the Oracle databases. I was astounded by the number of databases you could interact with using Aqua. We use a home-grown test-case management system that we built in PostGres and I was able to get access to that easily as well. The program also has a lot of nice features like 'Pretty Printing' (Function-B) and excellent display options (Grids, Text Files - all of which can be exported to a variety of different file types). I was also very impressed with it's predictive code-writer.

My only complaints are that it is written in Java which means that it is a bit slow and it doesn't completely conform to the standard Apple interface (e.g. Preferences are under 'File' like in Windows rather than the title menu option) but these are small things that don't bother me much (My MacBook handles the performance issue pretty well)

All in all, I thoroughly suggest you check out Aqua - an essential for Mac users and a very nice option for Windows users as well.