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Which database tools for testing should we choose?

Which database tools for testing should we choose? Learn about tools for testing and data analysis.

Testers need intuitive tools that query and display data in a way that's easy to view and analyze. Several tools are available and the choice depends on the testing team's personal preferences -- those and the budget, or what development tools are already in place. Investigating free tools may be worthwhile, but many are basic and don't allow for complex queries or data analysis.

SQL-based tools -- SQL server and SQL developer. SQL Server 2014 is a database tool built into Visual Studio. If the development team uses Visual Studio, the testing team could use SQL Server for database testing needs. Another tool wouldn't be needed and there would be no cost or integration concerns. SQL Server 2014 does a great deal more than a test team will ever need. However, it is easy to use and works on cloud and on-premises databases. The best part for testers: It has a query editor window that allows a tester to use saved SQL queries or create custom queries as needed. It's surprisingly easier to use than many of its competitors.

Another tool that works in a similar fashion is Oracle's SQL Developer, a free tool that's useful as a database testing tool for Oracle cloud or on-premises databases. Like SQL Server, the tool does more than a tester needs but depending on the complexity of the testing needs, it's easy to use and comes with a lot of online assistance and resources. SQL Developer offers a query editor and the ability to save SQL queries or create custom queries. Although SQL Developer is relatively easy to use, my personal preference is SQL Server even though I used SQL Developer for many years.

UI enhanced tools -- Toad, DB Visualizer and SQLlite. Toad, a database testing tool popular with many testers and developers,  offers several versions that work on nearly any database platform. Toad claims to have intuitive workflows and built-in features that are easy to use and return more accurate results. It still relies on SQL queries and offers the standard editor query tool. Although I've used it, I struggled to understand it. Toad has a large following and a lot of online support, if needed.

Another popular, more UI-based database testing tool is DbVisualizer, which offers many window-like features in auto completion, formatting and a GUI query builder. It also offers a command-line feature. DbVisualizer windows can be moved and displayed side by side. Spreadsheet enthusiasts tend to love DbVisualizer. Database viewing results can be bookmarked, formatted and customized. Query results are viewable in text or chart format. Many of my co-workers prefer DbVisualizer, but others find that the GUI features interfere more than they help.

Another option is SQLite, a visual GUI tool. It is an open source option that many testers prefer for creating, designing and executing SQL queries. As with most tools, it does much more than is needed for database testing. It is also spreadsheet-based and includes wizards and other GUI features.

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