Archives For utilities

MySQL Workbench

January 20, 2009

I haven’t formally written about MySQL Workbench in any of my books (I don’t think), but wanted to give it a quick mention here. MySQL Workbench is a visual database design application (an entity-relation/modeling tool) for creating and managing database schemas. It runs on many operating systems and is being released in both free and commercial versions.

If you haven’t used a visual database design tool before, you’ll need to spend some time reading up on it. The application can be used to design and then create new databases or create documentation for existing ones. This kind of software is especially useful if you:

  • prefer visual design tools
  • may need to create databases on one server, then recreate them on another
  • want to package along an excellent resource when turning a site over to a client

MySQL Workbench is currently in an alpha release. That means not all of its features are quite there yet and the documentation will need to be much improved (some of the links on MySQL’s pages seem to be inconsistent). But if you have some spare time, you may want to play with this now. If you don’t have the time, or prefer more developed software, keep the MySQL Workbench in mind for later in the year.

On MySQL’s Web site, you can find links to download the software for Windows and Linux. An alpha version for Mac OS X was released just before Christmas. I didn’t find any obvious links to it on the MySQL Web site, but did find them at this post.

[intlink id=”128″ type=”post”]In a previous post[/intlink], I talked about using Yahoo!’s YSlow Firefox plug-in to analyze and improve your Web site’s speed. In that post I mentioned that my site——fared pretty well (an 86 out of 100) but there were a couple of things that I hadn’t even heard of before. Well, I started making some tweaks, and here’s the result so far, including discussion of CDNs, which were new to me. Continue Reading…

A while back I stumbled upon (using the sweet Firefox plug-in, StumbleUpon), this discussion of the 20 things you should do, or the applications you should install, after performing a fresh install of Ubuntu Linux. Now, I’m primarily a Mac person, but if I need to use Linux for basic or desktop needs, Ubuntu is by far the distribution of choice (for a Linux server, I’m currently using CentOS). I like Ubuntu because:

  • You can test it by running it from a CD on your computer, without doing an actual install.
  • If you do want to install it, that’s quite easy.
  • It just plain works.

I’m not trying to start a debate as to which version of Linux is best, or as to whether you should use Linux at all, I’m just saying that I think Ubuntu Linux is sweet. (Although I’ll add as an aside, that I occasionally see messages from people new to Linux claiming that it’s the greatest thing ever and they wonder why everyone doesn’t use Linux; I do wonder if such people are still using Linux so religiously six months later.)

Anyway, some of the things mentioned in the article are eye candy (which doesn’t make them irrelevant) and others are quite useful, like installing the core Microsoft fonts (Times New Roman et al.). Another product, Wine, will let you run some Windows applications in Ubuntu, if you have that need. Then there’s a few links to multimedia utilities, from browser plug-ins to video and audio players.

A nice article, a good site, worth a read if you’re using Ubuntu or even thinking about it.

I’m a big fan of Mac OS X: it’s arguably the best operating system I’ve ever used. Part of my affection comes from the fact that it just works and part comes from how unbelievably fantastic some of Apple’s applications are (I’m specifically thinking about iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, etc. here). From a work perspective, it’s so useful to me that Mac OS X is Unix, so I can treat it just as I would most of the servers I use for Web hosting. That being said, you don’t have to mess around with Mac OS X from a Unix perspective if you don’t have the need. Anyway, this post isn’t really about Mac OS X but rather about QuickSilver, one of my favorite applications that runs on Mac OS X. QuickSilver is a free (free!) utility that can be used to launch applications, perform an Internet search, control iTunes, run calculations, and much, much more. It’s only real downside is that it’s so powerful that it’s hard to use it to its full advantage. Fortunately, I’ve found some useful resources towards that end… Continue Reading…