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DBeaver vs Navicat: A Database Tools Showdown June 2, 2021 by Robert Gravelle

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In my early days as an IT consultant, I relied on a variety of open source tools to accomplish my tasks. My rational was that I was saving money by costs associated with commercial products. It would be a few years later that I would come to realize that commercial products can actually save time and money by streamlining and automating many of the common tasks that we tend to perform on a regular basis.

Database clients are a category of software that many developers shy away from spending money. The assumption here is that you don't need a lot of features to view database tables and perform queries against them. That may be true, to a point, but if you find yourself doing a lot of database work, it may be high time to upgrade your DB client.

I was recently introduced to a free universal database tool called DBeaver. Not knowing much about it, I thought that it might be informative to compare it to Navicat Premium. Let the showdown begin and may the best product win!

About the Competitors

In the left corner, we have the challenger: DBeaver. It's a free and open source universal database tool for developers, database administrators, or anyone who needs to work with data in a professional capacity. Written in Java and based on Eclipse platform, DBeaver uses the JDBC application programming interface (API) to interact with databases via a JDBC driver. For other databases such as NoSQL it relies on its own proprietary database drivers.

Like many open source tools, DBeaver was started in 2010 as a hobby project. It was meant to be free and open-source with an appealing UI. From its early days, the focus was to include the most frequently utilized features of database developers. The first official release was in 2011 on Freecode. It quickly became a popular tool in the open-source community.

In the right corner, we have the reigning champion: Navicat Premium. It is a commercial database development and design tool that allows you to simultaneously connect to multiple local and/or cloud databases from a single application. It was designed to meet the needs of a variety of audiences, from database administrators and programmers to various businesses/companies that serve clients and share information with partners.

The main goal of the initial version of Navicat was to simplify the management of MySQL instances. In 2008, Navicat for MySQL was the winner of the Hong Kong ICT 2008 Award of the Year, Best Business Grand Award and Best Business (Product) Gold Award. Navicat Premium was launched in 2009. It combined all previous Navicat versions into a single product and could connect to all popular database types simultaneously, giving users the ability to perform data migration between different (heterogeneous) database types.


Now that we've introduced our participants, the next installment(s) will delve into each tool's feature set, and compare them for usability, performance, user ratings, and more!

Rob Gravelle resides in Ottawa, Canada, and has been an IT Guru for over 20 years. In that time, Rob has built systems for intelligence-related organizations such as Canada Border Services and various commercial businesses. In his spare time, Rob has become an accomplished music artist with several CDs and digital releases to his credit.

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