AquaFold's Aqua Data Studio 3.7

This database administration product solves some of the challenges of supporting multiple database environments.

September 30, 2004

5 Min Read
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ADS is a query and administration tool that allows developers and administrators to do common tasks easily on any of the supported database platforms . I downloaded the software from the AquaFold Web site and installed it in just a few minutes on a Windows XP machine with no problems. I then tested the product against SQL Server and Oracle databases. The product comes equipped with all the JDBC drivers required to connect to the supported databases, along with a generic JDBC and generic ODBC driver. However, the documentation does say that updated drivers from the vendor may be required in specific configurations.

For the developer, ADS includes a nice query analyzer that features syntax highlighting, automation, auto-completion and multi-grid result sets that can be sorted. The automation and auto-completion are a huge benefit, in my opinion, because these features will save a considerable amount of typing (and typos) as you create SQL code. The query analyzer's automation feature saves a large amount of typing by generating the majority of your SQL, leaving you to fill in the specifics with the auto-completion feature. As you type, auto-completion brings up the tables, views, synonyms and their columns. To make auto-completion work properly you will have to learn to separate your SQL statements with "GO" or a "/," which the program requires. This does take some getting used to, since it is specific to the product. One shortcoming I noticed when using ADS with SQL Server is that when auto-completion inserts a table with a space in its name, it does not automatically put brackets around it. Aside from this, I found automation and auto-completion a huge time saver.

The product also comes with a useful feature that lets you visually create or modify any schema objects, along with functionality to script these objects. Another feature I found particularly useful is the table editor, which allows you to make changes to the data without immediately updating the database. When you're finished making updates, you can see your additions, updates and deletions in different colors. From there you can commit the changes to the database or save the changes to a script, which can be quite useful. For example, if you need to make changes to a development database before production, you can make the changes in the table editor in development and then run the saved script in production when ready.


• Ability to manage heterogeneous RDBMSs from a single interface• Auto-completion and automation are a big time saver when writing SQL statements• Supports myriad operating systems


• Auto-completion requires a "GO" or "/" between statements to work properly• Long-time SQL Server administrators may not like the lack of automatic bracket insertion for table names with spaces

AquaFold Aqua Data Studio. $89 / Educational: Free. 408-230-9412

For the database administrator, ADS offers a handy feature called a Visual Explain Plan, which allows you to see the steps the database engine uses to execute the query. This can be very helpful for query performance tuning. Such a plan can be seen in a tree- or diagram-view. While this is not something new to specific database environments, it is nice to have available. Another convenient administrative feature is the ability to extract scripts that create, alter or drop most DBA objects, such as databases, table spaces, data files, containers, users, groups and profiles. Along with the ability to script these objects, you can make live changes to them.

Another feature I found useful is the import tool, which allows you to import any delimited text file into any existing or new table. This tool uses a standard, easy-to-use wizard to import a delimited or fixed-width file. While you cannot do any transformations with this wizard, one nice feature allows you to create a script of INSERT statements that can be run at a later time. I found this feature quite useful, since it is easier to run the generated INSERT script than run through the entire wizard if you need to import the data several times or in several places. I did find one problem with this wizard when using the INSERT script option. It asks if your string data is quoted with single or double quotes in the csv file. If you do not select the right option, the wizard will lock up when you import the data. Clicking cancel will not get you out of the wizard or the program. However, this only happens when you ask it to generate an INSERT script.

ADS also offers the ability to mount script directories to the explorer bar on the left side of the screen. This allows easy access to all your personal scripts. You can simply click on your script and open it up in the Query Analyzer. These scripts can be mounted per server registration or in a separate scripts section of the explorer. I found this to be a big time saver, since you no longer have to search for a script in the file system every time you need one.Overall, this software is quite simple and intuitive to use and offers the power to manage many database platforms from a common interface. In addition, ADS is offered on several different operating systems. Other than a few small issues that I found, I would say this product is definitely worth the money.

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