I’ve been a phpMyAdmin user for a very long time now. Always found it very user-friendly, and also noob-friendly when I still was one (it’s been a great help to learn the MySQL syntax from the scratch to me). However, lately I’ve been a bit disappointed with it.
First there was this new “AJAXized” version, where for instance the database creation dialog would have huge fonts and waste tons of screen space. At the same time came the new, space-wasting skin. Took me a bloody while to figure out how to revert to the previous one. And still, my UI settings do revert to the new skin every now and then, and I have to reconfigure it.
And to this list, I have to add a general feeling of slowness: this piece of software really turned out pretty heavy and sluggish. Every single page load is a waste of time. Big time.
Last but not least, for some reason phpMyAdmin is buggy on the server where I use it. Although it has the very same configuration as my localhost development install, it won’t display table indexes, which is a major PITA because it means I can’t check if I do properly mirror all database properties between my local development version and the remote pre-production version.
Long story short: although I still have a use for this program, I needed to find a better and swifter replacement.
“Duckduckgoing” (why, can’t I make it a verb too? :p) for phpMyAdmin alternatives gave some easy results. Somewhere at the top was this 3 years old “10 great alternatives to phpMyAdmin” post. Personally, when looking for alternatives I love stumbling upon fairly ancient posts, because then when I do visit the alternatives and I see they’re still maintained, I know they’ve been going on for years already, so they can be expected to be stable enough. I didn’t try them all, I just picked 2, and they turned out to be great choices, in my opinion (NB: both are open source/FLOSS):
1. Adminer. I actually had heard about it before. In fact this was the alternative I was looking for but the name of which I had forgotten. To my surprise, it was made of only one reasonably small (~300KB) PHP file. And to my surprise again, it felt pretty complete: notably, it manages indexes properly and is very responsive compared to phpMyAdmin. But this interface is a little rough, and some functions aren’t too easily accessible IMO. Still, I’m keeping it for emergencies or quick and small actions, but for daily use I wanted something with a richer interface.
2. HeidiSQL. For some reason (possibly because the first one I tried was very awful), I had always been avoiding non-web-based database managers. But I was so desperate I thought I’d give it a try anyway. That turned out to be a good idea. It seems to have all features of phpMyAdmin, plus some more (FINALLY a program that’s able to deal with stored procedures!), it’s very responsive, and defaults table display to structure and not data (most often I want to mess with the structure, not with the data). The only minor problem is that precisely the stored procedures are a bit too visible, mixed up with the tables in the database display… Not a big deal, but could be improved (although maybe I just missed a setting). Anyway, I think I’ll mainly use that now, while keeping the other 2 (phpMyAdmin and Adminer) for more occasional uses.