MySQL Manager Review

MySQL ManagerMySQL has become the defacto choice for a lot of Internet Service Providers when it comes to supplying their customers with a SQL database. The combination of PHP and MySQL has become quite popular among web developers over the last few years. For many, it?s the SQL of choice.

If you have worked with MySQL, you have probably heard of phpMyAdmin. Being one of the most often downloaded tools from Sourceforge (http://phpmyadmin.sourceforge.org), phpMyAdmin is a script written in PHP (duh!) for database management, such as MySQL users administration and types of database access. Although this is one of my favorite tools when it comes to working with MySQL databases, the fact that it was written in PHP bears certain limitations, especially when it comes to large databases.

Last evening we needed to move the database that the HTMLCenter?s forum uses to another server. Creating the export file was easy. I logged onto the shell of the server and told mysql to give me a mysqldump which came out to be 2.55 MB in size. Now the size causes certain problems. Since PHP is designed to run only a certain amount of time (standard: 30 seconds) and consume only a certain amount of memory (RAM) (standard: 8 MB) (both settings are set in the php.ini file), you either have to split the sql dump into smaller packages and import each one using phpMyAdmin, or you might be lucky and can import it through the shell.

Now the problems that arose with the account on the new server were: 1. no shell access and 2. phpMyAdmin can not input mysqldumps of that size ? because it had been configured to do so (performance and security issues). The ISP told us that we could connect remotely (from home or office) to the mysql server and that we could use a program such as MS Access to do the import. Since I don?t own a copy of Access I went ahead from here with the EMS MySQL Manager.


After I installed the package on my Windows 2000 desktop, I fired it up. Now the first thing that I learned from reading the ?Tip of the Day? was that I had to register a database with the program so I could connect to it. So I clicked File then Register Database and put in all parameters (host, user, password, database and port), tried the test connect and it worked!

The interface of the EMS MySQL Manager looks very similar to Microsoft Office and XP.. The program is very flat-looking and also very slow in my opinion. If you click around too fast, there is a clear delay in everything you do. That might be because my computer is ?just? an Athlon 600 with 256 MB RAM, but that should be sufficient for this program to run. The interface is very easy to get used to and if you are familiar with Microsoft Office and other Microsoft applications, you will feel at home in no time.

Anyway, once I connect to the database through the database explorer with a couple clicks left and right, I was able to browse through tables and check field properties, indexes and contens of the MySQL database online. Very straight forward, very neat looking. Information just where you want it.

Browsing around the program, I noticed that the EMS MySQL Manager comes with a fully functional database manager. So assuming that you have root access on the MySQL server you are connected to, and assuming that you set it up to allow remote connections, you can create and delete databases, create tables, flush the database, grant access to users, basically do just about anything you can do on a MySQL server with one or two clicks.

I was clicking around when I found a ?SQL Script? option. I went into the dialog, chose the file I had saved the database dump from my old MySQL server to and hit the ?Play button?, or ?Run?. And then the odyssey started, executing query one of 30252.

It worked, but it took quite a long time. Obviously, you won?t win a speed contest with the EMS MySQL Manager, it works slowly but surely. Assuming that you have access to the mysql command on the prompt, you would do such an import about 20 times faster, but if you are not familiar with that or ? as in our case ? you do not have access to it; this program is definitely one way to do it. One possible reason for the low speed might be my connection to the MySQL database server.

Overall, I am very pleased with the results that were obtained and the way the program completed the work. The only negative thing I noticed about the program was when temporarily my connection to the database server went down, it kept executing queries and I had to redo thos four or five queries later on. Since the program errored and obviously knew what was going on, a pause would have been more appropriate.

If you are interested in trying out EMS MySQL Manager there is a trial version of the program and I highly recommend that you try it. The download is only around 5 MB and the documentation online promises that you will get a fully functional trial version for 30 days.

There is nothing to lose by giving it a try, only ease in the workflow for you to gain. There are professional, lite and developer bundles available, the first two coming in packages of single (starting at $65) and site licenses (starting at $495). Please see the website for more detailed information about that.

The other option is tough. Installing an Apache webserver and a PHP binary on your desktop is not too hard in order to get phpMyAdmin to do all your work ? and did I mention that it?s free? However if you are not a tech-user, the EMS MySQL Manager is just what you are looking for.

Product Rating:

Company:
EMS

Requirements:
MySQL Database

Pricing:
$95-$495

Reviewed by:
Till

Competition:
N/A

Pros:
Very easy interface. A complete suite to manage your MySQL database server.

Cons:
Can get pricy if you need multiple licenses. Kept executing SQL Script when the connection was lost.

Bottom Line:
If you need a way to manage databases remotely, it won?t let you down!

NuSphere PhpED Review

I have been looking for a real PHP IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Recently, I ran across Nusphere’s PHPEd, Version 4.5.

Workspaces, Projects and Accounts

Coming from a PHP background, I am used to scripting from the beginning. And since PHP argues that it’s made for rapid development, in reality the code you produce is very rapid and unorganized as well. While of course rapid development and organization/quality are not mutually exclusive, reality is different. You can see an example of what I mean, when you try to run scripts written for PHP3 with the register_globals option turned off.

NuSphere PhpED

Buy from Amazon.com

Over the years, I began to organize my projects in a different manner. Primarily this was due to development for clients has to follow a certain standard, code-wise (make ’em scale), code documentation and organization in general.

Organization is a key-feature where PHPEd flexes its muscles. You organize workspaces, ideal for the roadwarrior, and then projects.

Workspaces can be useful if you freelance and encounter different environments often. When I work at a client’s office, they often provide a local development environment which you can plug into. When you are at home or at your office, it might be a very different game. So instead of opening a text editor, ftp program, putty or whatever else you need for programming, PHPEd’s saves the day. All it requires is that you set it up in the beginning.

So whenever the workspace is ready, then you setup projects. Inside the project screen you have the ability to add accounts to your systems (servers). And the accounts can be virtually anything. FTP, with or without SSL, secure shell, webdav – you name it. Together with the project setup, you can also add Subversion or CVS to integrate the source code and version control.

Smart-Sync

Another very useful feature of PHPEd – especially useful for collaborating with others – is the Smart-Sync option. When using the Smart-Sync option, Nusphere’s editor will try to determine if the file you are about to upload or download is newer than the version on the server. However, it does not sync in terms of how Subversion or CVS syncs or merges a file. It will just try to determine if you are up to date or not.


Even though this is an advantage of PHPEd, I found it sometimes increasingly difficult to work with this. While there is an override to upload files to the server, there is no option to override Smart-Download. I am not sure if my setup was flawed, but I believe since I am in the same timezone as my development server, it should download a file which I uploaded myself a day ago. Yet PHPEd prompted that my file was newer than the uploaded one and refused to override with the server copy.

Another incident happened when a co-worker and I both worked on the same file on the server. Smart-sync would not download it and the file was indeed “newer” than my version of the file. Yet it was refused the download.

The workaround for this issue is to delete the file in question, and to sync the current folder. And then you are up to date – hopefully. Or you use the build in Explorer to download the files in question.
For a future version it would be nice to implement a “force-download” option in one of the next releases.

Screenshots

PhpEd Interface Code Explorer
 
Account Manager Auto Completion  
Transfer Manager

Debugging

PHPEd also comes packaged with a listener for DBG. Since I currently have no access to this on a server, I could not try the feature, but it can be worth-while. Using breakpoints saves you a lot of echo’s and var_dump()’s in order to keep track of your variables inside the application. If you are familiar with programming from C++ or Java, this is a must-have.

Other notable features

Along with project management, debugging, syncing and so on, PHPEd has a really comprehensive feature list. Most notable, a very well working database client, function references, soap wizards, and form wizards, and a lot more.

For example, the Sourcecode highlighting of PHPEd is another mandatory feature in any editor today and works really well. Support for highlighting comes for PHP (up to 5), Perl, HTML, CSS, SQL and Python.

A nice to have is that PHPEd saves your entire workspace, when you close the application and reopen it. That is including files you had opened when you closed the application.

Day-to-Day Operations

Running PHPEd makes a lot of the work easier. Once you setup the workspace and project, you are ready to go.

The only glitches about running PHPEd that I noticed with the old 4.0 version were the auto completion of variables, classes and function names. Once resolved, the information is indeed valuable, but with a larger project this can make your program hang. When I moved to 4.5, those issues were resolved for me.

Another thing is that whenever I close PHPEd, it almost sweeps the entire system into the abyss. I have no idea where this comes from, but I had to kill the process (especially the live debugger) very often.

Last but not least on my list of improvements is the Smart-Sync option. While I see that the option is valuable in a collaboration environment it also provides space for practical improvement.

The problem I had is that a lot of times, a colleague worked on files and even though we both knew that an updated version is on the server, PhpEd refused to “smart-sync” it. The work around would be to download the folder in question using the build in file explorer, which is of course “OK” – but a hassle.

The bottom line

One of the bigger issues I found with this software is the pricing model. While I understand very well that selling software is a business, the pricing model of this IDE is tough to digest.

There are 2 versions of PHPEd:

  • $299 – gets you basic support plus simple program updates for service and small feature packs
  • $495 – gets you upgrades plus priority support

Shall I buy, or shall I not buy? – Well, that’s up to you to decide. All you need to do is measure up the hours you spend running around with four programs (edit, save, upload, download) and in my opinion the money spent is well worth the time savings.

Alternatives to Nusphere’s PHPEd would be the free IDE Eclipse or Maguma Workbench.

Product Rating:

Company:
NuSphere

Requirements:
Windows

Pricing:
$299-$495 (other packages available)

Reviewed by:
Till

Competition:
IDE Eclipse / Maguma Workbench.

Pros:
It’s really integrated which can save major time which equates to money in the long-run.

Cons:
License vs. Pricing, Smart-Sync has flaws.

Bottom Line:
Pricy but well integrated software, which will speed up your development.

Homesite 5

I have been an avid fan of the HomeSite HTML editor since version 1.2. Back in those days, HomeSite was written and distributed by a single individual, Nick Bradbury. He created HomeSite when he got tired of using Notepad to create the HTML code for his online comic strip, “Dexter on the Net.” The product, even at these early stages, quickly became a favorite of HTML developers around the world. Before version 3 was completed, the software was sold to Allaire, which ended its days as a free product. However, it did not end HomeSite’s days as a viable tool, which all too often happens when a major corporation purchases software from private developers. In 2001, Allaire merged with Macromedia. HomeSite 5 is the first official Macromedia HomeSite release. How can the best HTML editor get better?

In HomeSite 4, there was one main issue that almost made me quit using the application. The main issue was the slow file tree. Using the Windows 2000 operating system, it normally would take between 7-12 seconds to show the files. Thankfully it seems that issue has been corrected in version 5.

The features that have been packed into HomeSite 5 are too numerous to list here. Here is a brief list of the key features:

Powerful Code Editing Tools

  • Tag Editors
  • Tag Insight and Tag Completion
  • Tag Inspector
  • Code Validator

Enhanced Productivity

  • Code Snippets
  • Integrated Workflow
  • ActionScripts
  • Wizards

Customizable Work Environment

  • Extensible User Interface
  • Configurable Workspace
  • Keyboard Shortcuts

Advanced File Management

  • Project Management
  • Secondary Files Tab
  • Scriptable Deployment
  • Auto Backup

Superior Code Navigation

  • Color Coding
  • Split Window
  • Collapsible Code

New file tabs

The second file tab addition is great. There are many times when I work in two different directories. The old method was to work within the file tree back and forth. This became irritating. Now, I can keep two folders open at the same time. The split window enables viewing of two areas of code simultaneously, allowing you to find coding errors easily while working with long blocks of code.

HomeSite 5 continues the tradition of including a complete and useful help system. Not only is the complete documentation for the software provided, but also a complete HTML reference guide and another reference guide regarding the use of style sheets. There is even a nice section on developing Dynamic Web Sites, something we hear more and more about these days and browsers get better and better. HomeSite 5 supports HTML’s multiple sets of standards from HTML2.0 -HTML4.0 and includes vast reference sections regarding both Internet Explorer and Netscape HTML extensions. These are fully documented and validated by the HTML validator on command.

It is also possible to configure multiple external browsers for easy viewing/testing of your websites on any browser platform. These can be used to view your pages even before you commit changes in the working documents to disk. The design window can also be split into two panes, one a code view and one a browser view so that you can instantly see the effects of code changes on the output document. This is a handy tool when making changes to a site and cuts down the amount of time the developer must spend switching between Homesite and an External browser or switching the Edit and Browse views within Homesite itself.

Overall, the merger between Macromedia and Allaire has made version 5 even better. Many of the problems or design oversights of previous versions have been totally eliminated. A handful of helpful new features have appeared. I am confident I will be using HomeSite 5 for all of my web development work.

Product Rating:

Company:
Macromedia

Requirements:
Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP

Pricing:
$99

Reviewed by:
Allen

Competition:
Ultraedit, Editpad, Webmaster PRO

Pros:
Two file tabs, integration with Dreamweaver

Cons:
Large icons, memory hog, menus can be confusing

Bottom Line:
Still the best text editor on the market.

HotDog 6.5

HotDog 6.5 is a powerful web development tool that targets both the experienced and novice user. Unlike the object oriented or “what you see is what you get” editors such as Dreamweaver and Frontpage, HotDog has its roots in text based HTML editing. Its native 32-bit code is streamlined to take 20% of the system resources and opens documents faster than previous versions. As an HTML editor, most of the code will have to be written manually, but there are time saving tools included to speed up the process.

HotDog is intuitive; however it may be initially overwhelming with all the features it offers. Once you’re acquainted with them, you’ll be wondering how you were able to work without them.

With all these features and tools at your disposal, the ability of HotDog to customize the program for ease and efficiency is a feature worth noting. Almost everything is customizable from automatic code completion, multiple levels of undo, dictionary types, syntax filter and macro editor. The toolbars are all dockable and the buttons on the toolbar can be re-arranged to your liking. It is also possible to drag and drop code, links, images or files onto the HTML editor by using shortcut features on the tool bars. Furthermore, you can customize the editing interface such as fonts and text colors, create your own tags and shortcut keys, specify a file to load each time HotDog is started, how often autosave occurs and more.

Some highlights of version 6.5 include features to teach you HTML with the property sheet, the mouseover tooltip help pops up when over a section of code, and the built in tutorials on top of the wizards and help dialogs. The help is unobtrusive, but can get in the way of the experienced user.

The ROVER is another great feature. It is an internal WYSIWYG viewer that allows you to see updates in real-time as you change the code. Link Sniffer will let you know if any links are pointing to bad or non-existing files or directories. You can even browse the whole site in a compact treeview through the HTML navigation view. Complex web sites are reduced to a more manageable hierarchical format.

You can spice up your web page not only with HTML code but also Javascript, CSS, ASP, and VBScript. The Supertoolz client allows unlimited downloadable plug-ins, some for a fee while others for free, to enhance HotDog’s capabilities. These Plug-ins include Java animations, JavaScript tools, image mapping, ICQ wizard, Xara 3d, SMIL composer, and Real Audio/Video Wizard just to name a few.

After you have completed your web page, you can proofread it with the multilingual spell checker or use the global search and replace features, which allows you to find many errors within your web page, including duplicate links. Optionally you can structure your pages so that images load faster. You also have the choice to publish to different operating systems such as Windows, Unix, or Mac/Amiga. Then the integrated ftp client manager will allow you to upload your work to a website. Should you need to make updates later on, you can also download the entire site with a click of a button.

There aren’t any templates for web pages, although it does let you create and save your own. The sound effects can get irritating after a while. Fortunately, they can be turned off. A free trial version is available from HotDog’s website.

Overall, HotDog 6.5 is an extremely powerful HTML editor which appeals to users of all skill levels. It has many strong features to increase productivity. The program is intuitive to use, yet keeps the power of a professional program at your fingertips. No project is too big or small for this dog to take a bite at.

Product Rating:

Company:
Sausage Software

Requirements:
Windows 95

Pricing:
$99

Reviewed by:
Edward Cheng

Competition:
Homesite 5.0, Ultraedit 6.10

Pros:
Intuitive application, fully customizable.

Cons:
Minor issues with Rover and bad sound effects

Bottom Line:
No project is too big or small for this dog to take a bite at.

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