Geek Alert: Administrate Databases Over the Web With phpMyAdmin

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PhpMyAdmin is the one of the most popular tools for MySQL database administration. A major reason for this is its portability--phpMyAdmin runs in a Web browser, so you can access it from almost any computer. The program is also robust; phpMyAdmin has enough functionality that you can probably create and run a Web site without knowing any SQL. Being free and open-source never hurt anybody, either. For these reasons, most hosting sites include phpMyAdmin in their control panel as the default MySQL administration tool.

PhpMyAdmin provides a visual interface for viewing and editing a table’s structure.
Installation of phpMyAdmin on a server is simple, assuming you already have PHP and MySQL running. Full instructions can be found in the official wiki, but the process is little more than extracting files and running a setup script. phpMyAdmin has visual interfaces for most MySQL tasks, including creating, browsing, and editing tables. There's a relation view for linking tables using foreign key relationships (make sure you're using the InnoDB storage engine-MyISAM doesn't support foreign keys). phpMyAdmin will also execute custom SQL queries, so it's just as powerful as the standard command line utility. In fact, phpMyAdmin does more. Besides the convenience of a more interactive, visual interface, phpMyAdmin has some nice extras, such as importing and exporting Excel, OpenDocument, and XML files, and a tool that generates a PDF image of your database schema.

Unlike many standalone MySQL admin tools, phpMyAdmin does not have syntax coloring or code completion. But while you might think that running in a browser would make phpMyAdmin slower, the pages are light enough that you won't notice lag between page loads. For me, phpMyAdmin was zippy in both Firefox and IE. So unless you're an expert developer who relies on writing complex SQL queries, phpMyAdmin is an ideal tool.

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