Database Schema design tool
May 15, 2009 4:55 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend some software to help me draw database diagrams the way that I want to draw them...?

I can find lots of freeware and open source tools that will lets me draw a box for to represent a table with a list of columns underneath it. They let me draw a line between tables, but they don't let me draw a line between the columns.

For example, if I have two tables...

Table1 is called "Company" has columns called cid, name, vatnumber.
Table2 is called "Employee" has columns called eid, cid, name, socialsecuritynumber.

I can find tools that will draw a diagram with a connection between Company and Employee, but I can't find one that draws a connection between Company.cid and Employee.cid

[The MySQL workbox thingie draws a connection between them, but doesn't actually show the line in the relevant location...]

Any suggestions...?
posted by twine42 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can find tools that will draw a diagram with a connection between Company and Employee, but I can't find one that draws a connection between Company.cid and Employee.cid

The reason for that is that you'll get a lot more crossed lines if they have to link to specific columns. Some tools will add descriptive text next to the lines to tell you the relative column names and type of relationship. I don't know of any that join to specific columns.
posted by SNACKeR at 5:11 AM on May 15, 2009


OmniGraffle on Mac OS X is a general-purpose drawing app which will let you connect lines to any specific point on an object.

Alternatively, could you build the 'table' box out of individual objects for each column entry, and then connect the lines to the column entries themselves?
posted by chrismear at 5:25 AM on May 15, 2009


Also, I remember the Relationships view in Microsoft Access having exactly the sort of behaviour you're describing. Perhaps not ideal for drawing, but it might be a last-ditch option.
posted by chrismear at 5:26 AM on May 15, 2009


chrismear is correct. The Relationships tool in Microsoft Access presents tables and relationships in this way.
posted by wheat at 5:33 AM on May 15, 2009


[ I should have said that I'm a MicroSerf, so it needs to run on one of Win2000, WinXP or WinVista... ]
posted by twine42 at 5:35 AM on May 15, 2009


I think if you install an ODBC driver for MySQL and then set up a DSN for your MySQL database, you should be able to use the aforementioned tools within Access. Mind you I haven't used Access for a good many years, so don't take my memory for granted...

Oh hold on, here's something...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 6:03 AM on May 15, 2009


Have you ever heard of a Microsoft Office program called Visio? Perhaps that would work for you.
posted by Lynsey at 10:18 AM on May 15, 2009


Check out ER/Studio by Embarcadero. It allows you to both graph an existing database or draw one from scratch and have it create all the tables, keys etc...
It's very powerful and pretty easy to use.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:49 PM on May 15, 2009


Eclipse + clay



Eclipse is an IDE, Clay is a database modeling plugin for it. Both are free. You can use the combo against nearly any database type. Clay can generate a SQL script from the diagram, which you can then use to create you database directly from your model. It can also 'reverse-engineer' an existing database to generate a diagram. It uses either ERD or UML notations.
posted by jma at 12:49 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dia
posted by primer_dimer at 6:13 AM on May 18, 2009


Independently of primer_dimer, I just discovered Dia. Shame it crashes occasionally, but it's exactly what I wanted...
posted by twine42 at 5:27 AM on May 25, 2009


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