No matter how you slice it, creating manual code and SQL queries from scratch is incredibly time-consuming. It is often more efficient to use a SQL query builder to develop SQL queries instead. Many tools offer features like drag-and-drop GUI’s and dashboards to help speed up development.
Here is our list of the eight Best SQL Query Builders:
- SentryOne SQL Sentry EDITOR’S CHOICE A database performance analyzer that spots inefficient queries to help you scripts run faster. Runs on Windows. Start a 14-day free trial.
- Redgate SQL Prompt An SQL editor with contextual predictive text that can suggest the next keyword that you need for your statement.
- dbForge Query Builder A visual SQL builder that includes drag-and-drop and list picking elements to help you create statements.
- FlySpeed SQL Query An SQL editor that has drag-and-drop visual features as well as spell-checking and suggestions for written SQL statements.
- SQL Query Tuner (SQL Diagnostic Manager) An add-on to SQL Diagnostics Manager, this tool analyzes queries and spots mistakes.
- RazorSQL A visual SQL query builder that includes syntax color coding and bracket matching to help you avoid common mistakes.
- Data Xtractor A visual SQL builder aimed at those who have no SQL experience. Available in free and paid versions.
- Idera Rapid SQL A visual SQL builder alongside a text statement editor. The editor includes syntax color coding and error highlighting.
See also: Database Diagram Tools
The best SQL Query builders
Our methodology for selecting an SQL query builder tool
We reviewed the SQL query editor market and analyzed tools based on the following criteria:
- Automated indentation for nesting
- Color-coding for different keyword categories
- Predictive text for keywords and functions
- Syntax error correction
- A query test function
- Access to the relevant database instance
- A free trial for no-cost assessment
- A good price for the standard of service offered
SentryOne SQL Sentry is a database performance tool that helps to fix slow SQL queries. The product can diagnose and optimize poorly performing SQL queries. With the Top SQL view, you can view execution plan diagrams and query history to find queries that need to be fixed.
- Database performance monitoring
- SQL tuning facilities
- Resource monitoring
- Alerting for deadlocks
- Identification of slow queries
Automated alerts notify you when a query matches particular conditions or parameters. For example, if a query is running slowly you will be sent an alert. There are over 100 alert conditions available out-of-the-box. You can combine alerts with automated responses so after generating an alert the program can automatically execute a command to fix the problem.
SentryOne SQL Sentry can also resolve SQL server deadlocks. The deadlock tab shows you the processes involved in the deadlock so you can find the root cause. To make things easier there are deadlock diagrams so you can view the problem in a format that’s easy to understand.
- Built-in performance tools aids DBAs in quickly diagnosing performance issues
- Over 100 pre-configured alert templates make it easy to get insights straightaway
- Hosts a range of visualization features that can all be customized
- Trial could be longer
SolarWinds SQL Sentry installs on Windows. The system can be adapted by add-ons, which make it compatible with SQL Server on Azure, Hyper-V, VMWare, and AWS. The price for the software package starts at $1,450 (£1,070). You can try SQL Sentry on a two-week free trial.
SQL Sentry is our top pick for an SQL query builder and editor because it offers regular performance monitoring, plus query analysis and database optimization features. You can use the tool to identify queries that use the most resources and run slowly and then put them through the analyzer4 to rebuild them to be more efficient. It might be that alterations to database objects, such as changes to indexing can fix problems. SQL Sentry can help you with that, too.
Official Site: https://www.solarwinds.com/sql-sentry/registration
Redgate SQL Prompt is a SQL creation tool that can provide code suggestions as you type. The software makes contextual recommendations based on code analysis rules and there is a code snippet library for the user to refer to. There are also extensive formatting options so you can choose precisely what scripts you want formatted or block certain blocks from being formatted.
- Editor to create queries
- Query analysis
- Autocomplete query assembly
- Query optimization
It is also very easy to analyze your code with Redgate SQL Prompt. You can hover over a piece of code to view code issues and then click on the lightbulb icon for more information. There are over 90 rules available out-of-the-box that can be managed through the options menu.
SQL Prompt Pro can integrate with SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Studio so you can create accurate SQL queries more efficiently. There are a few features that are unique to the SSMS version of SQL Prompt Pro. You can save, preview, and restore tabs from your last session.
- Intelligent code recommendations help streamline the building process
- Robust code snippet library for quick reference
- Over 90 pre-configured rule set options for out-of-box use
- Appropriately priced, great for small and growing businesses
- Could use more filtering options when comparing multiple databases
SQL Prompt Professional starts at $405 (£301.46) for one license. SQL Prompt is also available as part of SQL Toolbelt Essentials which includes nine other SQL Server products for $2,085 (£1,551.97) and SQL Toolbelt which includes 14 extra tools for $3,665 (£2,728). You can download the 28-day free trial.
dbForge Query Builder is a query builder designed to help create complex SQL queries. You can draw queries through the visual query diagram and add sub-queries to build on the foundations of the main query. There is also a drag-and-drop feature so you can add tables easily. However, you can also use code completion to build high-quality code with this database designer.
- Visual database planner
- ERD-based development
- Generates queries
To assist with editing code, dbForge Query Builder has an automatic SQL syntax check. For larger queries, you can use the Document Outline window to navigate faster. There is also the option to use more general SQL editing features like bookmarking, text searching, and coloring.
The window layout can be customized, with highlighting and toolbar customization. You can even choose what UI skin you want to use. Once you’ve finished coding you can then export data in 10 different formats including HTML, CSV, XML, PDF, MS Excel, MS Access, DBF, ODBC, and Text.
- Visual query diagram helps draw and test queries
- Utilizes drag and drop for adding tables easily
- Entire interface can be customized
- Allows for exporting in multiple formats including HTML, PDF, CSV, and ODBC
- Complicated, could be overwhelming for junior admins
- Cluttered user interface
- Fairly steep learning curve
dbForge Query Builder is aimed at those who want to make the coding experience as painless as possible. The price is also very competitive. The Standard edition of dbForge Query Builder starts at $149.95 (£111.62) for one license. There is also a 30-day free trial.
FlySpeed SQL Query is a Windows-based relational database query builder that you can use to create SQL queries through drag-and-drop and a visual query builder. Build complex queries and edit subqueries in visual and SQL text modes. Formatting is customizable so you can decide how code is presented.
- Detects and visualizes database objects
- Drag-and-drop query creator
- Query optimization
To improve the coding experience the SQL Text Editor offers code completion to speed up code building. There is also a syntax highlighting to aid navigation. Your query execution history is also regularly saved so you can find where you left off after at the end of a session.
The software supports SQL syntax for Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, InterBase, Firebird, MS Access, MS Excel, SQLite, Advantage DB, and more. It is also multi-threaded with each query running in a different thread.
- Simple drag and drop builder with visual query editor
- Uses syntax highlighting and code completion to speed up the build process
- Supports multi-threading for larger workloads
- Cluttered interface
- Steeper learning curve than similar products
The free version allows you to create SQL queries and browse result data but you need the full version to save and export the data. The FlySpeed SQL Query Desktop version costs $49 (£36.47) and the FlySpeed SQL Query Portable version costs $69 (£51.36). There is also a 30-day free trial.
SQL Query Tuner is an add-on for SQL Diagnostic Manager that can provide tuning recommendations. To help the user improve performance, SQL Query Tuner has color-coded index analysis for used, unused, and missing indexes. There is also a wait time analysis feature to detect poorly performing SQL queries.
- Specialist add-on
- Query optimization
- Query visualization
For those who require a more visual experience, there are SQL query tuning diagrams. Query diagrams allow you to view Cartesian joins and many-to-many relationships as a visual display. Viewing queries in this format makes it much easier to understand the effect of SQL statements.
The software has a range of diagnostic capabilities you can use to monitor database performance. For instance, you can monitor real-time availability and performance of server instances. Alerts identify poorly performing queries. There are over 100 alerts available out-of-the-box to get started quickly.
- Color-coded index analysis helps keep DBAs organized when working in indexes
- Visualizations do a good job displaying many-to-many relationships across queries
- Over 100 premade alerts that are designed to be used without editing
- Trial could be longer
- Higher price point makes this tool more geared towards medium to large-sized companies
- Interface could use some work, especially with their menus system
SQL Query Tuner for SQL Diagnostic Manager is great for producing SQL code faster. The price for the SQL Diagnostic Manager is $997.60 (£742.56). There is also multi-license discount pricing for larger enterprises. There is a 14-day free trial.
RazorSQL has a SQL Query Builder Tool that allows the user to visually build queries. You can choose the type of SQL statement you want to generate by selecting the columns and operations to be included. The tool is easy to navigate with four tabs to make statement changes; select, insert, update, and delete. For example, by pressing the insert tab users can pick what columns they would like to add to the statement.
- Database object mapper
- Query generator
- SQL optimization
The SQL Editor is another tool that can be used to simplify code creation. There is syntax highlighting to make code easier to navigate and an autocomplete function to speed up code production.
- Uses autocomplete to improve the build process
- Auto lookup work in a number of different platforms such as SQL, Java, and HTML
- Available cross-platform for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS
- Volume-based licensing discounts
- Cluttered interface
- Steeper learning curve than similar products
RazorSQL is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Solaris. The price of the software depends on the number of users you want to support. For one user the price is $99.95 (£79.95) per user. For 2-9 users, the cost drops to $96.95 (£76.95) or $94.95 (£74.95) for 10-19 users. For 20 users or more, the price drops down to $92.95 (£72.95) per user. You can download the 30-day free trial.
Data Xtractor is a SQL query tool that enables users to produce queries with no knowledge of SQL. Data Xtractor comes with a visual SQL query builder called Query Xtractor. Query Xtractor can produce read-only and supports databases including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server, Amazon Redshift, SQLite, and Azure. Once you’ve executed the query you can review the results in a spreadsheet format.
- Database object discovery
- Database optimization
- Query generator
The SQL Query Generator automatically generates SQL queries for individual vendors. You also don’t need to install anything to generate code for another platform making it more efficient to create SQL queries.
Data Xtractor is free for SQLite, Microsoft Access, Firebird, and Microsoft SQL Server CE databases. There are also three paid versions of the program: Open-Source Databases, Commercial Databases. All Supported Databases. For Open-Source Databases, the tool costs $24 (£18.48) per month and is compatible with MySQL, MariaDB, Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, and Amazon Redshift databases.
- Better user interface than most of its competitors
- Visual editor supports multiple formats including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle
- Pricing is straightforward and makes the tool accessible to most teams
- Lacks some advanced filtering options
- Database comparison tools could use improvement
The Commercial Databases version costs $29 (£22.33) per month with support for Microsoft SQL Server / Azure, Oracle, IBM Db2, Sybase / SAP SQL, and Sybase SAP ASE. The All Supported Databases package costs $39 per month and supports all of the aforementioned databases. You can also download Query Xtractor for free.
2022 Update: All versions of Data Xtractor and related products are now free to use.
Idera Rapid SQL is a SQL code creation tool that you can use to build complex SQL statements with a visual query builder. When you are typing, you can benefit from contextual recommendations that suggest elements such as tables, functions, and columns you could use.
- Database discovery
- ERD generator
- Query optimizer
Idera Rapid SQL is compatible with SQL Server, Oracle, Db2, and SAP Sybase. The platform is excellent for newer users because it offers source code templates so that you don’t need to memorize SQL syntax. Navigation is one of the strongest aspects of Idera Rapid SQL. Auto Formatting and syntax coloring make it easy to find your way around code and manage SQL files of all sizes.
SQL IDE also provides a development environment. The user can create code and view real-time feedback on issues and fixes to improve their code. Similarly, there is a SQL Debugger that locates coding errors so that you can debug them.
- Simple, but powerful interface – great for new users
- Auto formatting and syntax color makes helps DBAs stay organized when at scale
- Supports collaboration with real-time feedback and team features
- Trial could be longer
- Pricing is not transparent, must contact the sales team
If you’re looking for a SQL builder that’s easy to use and navigate then Idera Rapid SQL is a good choice. However, if you want to view the price for Idera Rapid SQL you will have to contact the sales team directly. You can download the 14-day free trial.
Choosing an SQL Query Builder
Ideally, you want to use a tool that’s easy to deploy so you spend less time adjusting to the software and more time improving the performance of your code.
Tools such as RedGate SQL Prompt, dbForge Query Builder, and SQL Diagnostic Manager all help to manage your code. While some can be used to build queries from scratch others simply highlight poorly performing queries. Finding a tool that fits most closely with your use case will deliver the best results.
SQL Query Builders FAQs
What is a unique identifier in SQL?
A unique identifier is a numeric field in a database table. It is populated by a sequence that ensures that each record has a unique value in that field. Foreign keys in other tables should reference the unique identifier column in order to get accurate joins to records in the target table.
Is SQL a programming language?
In its original form, SQL is not a programming language, as is explained by its full name, it is a query language. There are many adaptations of SQL, however, and some of these qualify for the definition of a traditional “procedural” programming language, such as PL-SQL.
How do you create a database schema?
There are four types of schemas in databases. So, the task of creating a schema is different, depending on which type of schema you have been asked to create. The diagram that shows the plan of all of the objects that will go into a database is called a schema. You create that with a drawing tool – this is the Logical Schema. The space that contains all of those objects is also called a schema – this is an industry term that describes the workspace that holds a database. Different DBMSs offer different methods to create that type of schema.
The mapping between the database and the physical storage is called the Physical Schema and that is usually generated by the DBMS when it sets up a schema for holding tables.
The mapping between a front-end that gives access to the database to users and how that relies on the logical objects in the database is called the View Schema. That is usually created by a systems analyst as part of the spec to pass to a programmer.