Product Review: AnySQL Maestro

I decided to check out AnySQL Maestro after seeing the release announcement on the the SQLite mailing list a month or so ago. I'd been fairly happy with Squirrel SQL for quite a while, but it's good to try something new every so often. And it's free, so I really had nothing to lose.

It turns out that AnySQL Maestro provides everything I want in a query tool - connections to anything with an ODBC driver (i.e. anything), multiple open connections, a good query editor, a good result viewer, a plethora of configuration options, etc. etc. etc. And it looks like a modern Windows app. I found it surprisingly disconcerting to use Squirrel SQL simply because it didn't look and feel like a Windows app. I'm not saying I love everything about the Windows UI, but at least when you move around between apps that look and feel the same you're focused on what you're doing rather than on what UI paradigm you have to work in.

Having said that, however, AnySQL Maestro actually manages to hit on one of my other pet peeves - applications that don't make quitting easy. You're supposed to be able to hit Alt-F,X to exit a Windows app. Plain and simple. Why people are hell bent on renaming their menus or using non-standard menu accelerator settings is beyond me, but they continue to do it. Who knows.

That aside, however, I'm really very very happy with the tool. It's actually somewhat hard to say what I like about it, because it kinda makes itself invisible. I can query my various databases and inspect or use the results without hassle... almost without being aware of the tool I'm using. I think that's what all application developers strive for - to keep things simple but still highly functional. I have seen few applications that achieve that as well as this tool does.

Bottom line: query tools are the most important thing ever, but this is unquestionably the best one I've ever used. Kudos and many thanks to SQL Meastro Group.

Squirrel SQL

For the last few weeks, I've been using Squirrel SQL as my query tool. Historically, I've always used the vendor-provided query tool for each database (which I'm still forced to do from the command line), so moving to a database-independent tool was a big step for me. I'm still adjusting, but I haven't yet had any thoughts of switching back to other tools, so Squirrel is probably here to stay.

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