phpMyAdmin for sale?

I recently came across this article listing SourceForge Community Choice Awards Winners 2008:

“Most Likely to Be the Next $1B Acquisition” is phpMyAdmin? Now I am not sure if phpMyAdmin actually is something that can be acquired and if there is any revenue (directly or indirectly) generated from it at all, but in my opinion phpMyAdmin has reached a point close to the end of its life-cycle, and I can hardly imagine there is anything to pay for. Except for very small additions to support new MySQL versions there has – to my best knowledge – been nothing but bug fixes for around 3 years. No new developments. phpMyAdmin basically provides an interface for viewing the content of tables, to execute statements and scripts and view the result. And that’s it.

And don’t miss it – that is useful in lots of situations. If phpMyAdmin is installed on a *AMP server you can access the database from any computer connected to the Internet without having anything installed locally. But the interface is somewhere in between *just usable* and *horrible* (depending on how it is configured and how it integrates in control panel applications etc.)

As time goes by it becomes obvious that
* phpMyAdmin has missed opportunity to provide ‘power tools’ – like synchronization tools, proper migration/import and export tools, GUI environments for schema design and query design, tools for query analysis and optimization etc.
* The simple HTML interface provided by phpMyAdmin is far away from today’s standard of web applications.

I believe there would be a market for a high-quality web based MySQL database administration tool (no matter the license model) if it adopted modern AJAX based web interfaces. The current phpMyAdmin ‘plain HTML interface’ requires that everything (data, images, stylesheets) of the complete page will have to be reloaded or even resent from the server for every page refresh. That results in huge communication overhead, annoying page refreshes and time waste – even in situations where only a small detail on that page needs to be updated. Today’s web users (whether gamers or just gmail users) expect a web interface very close to that of a compiled binary. Because they are used to it like that, and because they know (and see every day) it is possible.

One of the most common remarks from  SQLyog users, that have replied to our recent user surveys, is “What a relief to get rid of phpMyAdmin”.

At Webyog we cannot honestly regret this situation as we benefit from it and do increasingly much for every day. From a more ‘ideal’ point of view one can say it is a shame (and phpMyAdmin indeed should be credited for its huge contribution to the popularity of MySQL in the early days of MySQL). But my guess is the situation is that ‘the train has left the station. No more trains leaving for the foreseeable future. Sorry for you if you did not catch it!’. In other words: I don’t believe the phpMyAdmin community can mobilize the resources to ‘catch the train’ again – also because they (as a community) do not seem to realize how the gap between their application and the best available other options widens for every day.

Also I do not think this situation is special for phpMyAdmin and the phpMyAdmin community actually – on the opposite I think a large percentage of Open Source Community developers simply got out of touch with how the Web has developed over the last 2-3 years. Another good example is the Linux/KDE Konqueror program. I love it because of the many access/connectivity options it provides in one interface, and should I ever shift from Windows to Linux as my primary platform Konqueror would be one of the main reasons .. but (regretfully) it is hardly usable as a webbrowser any more as it did not adopt modern web standards.

Further it is interesting to see how the relationship between PHP and MySQL in general has also changed over the last years. 3-4 years ago they were mostly so closely related that lots of users did not realize the difference and were not able to think of MySQL in other contexts than a PHP-context. We had several complaints at that time from users, that were simply not able to realize that PHP statements and syntax could not be used in the SQLyog SQL editor – and lots of users thought that PHP was a prerequisite for accessing MySQL (and also lots of ISP supporters and even sysadmins told their users so, because even they did not know better!).

But ‘used-to-be patterns’ are breaking up! Examples:
* Since first version 5 release PHP has shipped with the SQLite database. I have seen quite a lot of standard PHP web applications shifting in direction from MySQL to SQLite as their primary/default database option. Also ‘RUBY on the Rails’ project is in that process, I believe. And in particular with ‘shared hosting’ that makes good sense in my opinion as everthing – also databases – are stored  in user’s own space on the server (the drawback is of course that direct access to the database bypassing the application can be a problem).
* According to the survey here (at the bottom) JAVA is now an equally important client environment for MySQL based applications as is PHP (and this is not because of the acquisition of MySQL by Sun – it started long before that).

Anybody out there want to buy phpMyAdmin (I can spare a few copies!) ?


Add yours
  1. 1

    Well, this is a nasty little self-congratulatory piece.

    phpMyAdmin is a venerable, well-respected application, and continues to be extremely useful for lots of folks everyday.

    I personally would despair if YOG products were the best commercial items out there (I own sqlyog). Thankfully, there are others that are better. (No, I don’t work for any of them.)

    Being on a new train that has just “left the station” is one thing, but after all these years, the phpmyadmin engine still runs on time, every time.

  2. 3

    I agree that phpMyAdmin (PMA) is useful in certain situations. I think I also wrote that. But I think that in terms of *web page design* (and that is rather important for usability of a web application) PMA has lagged 3 years behind!

    Also the fact is that the amount of users in our surveys that told they were reliefed to get rid of PMA as their ‘normal’ or ‘daily’ interface to MySQL was very high. Besides this I did not directly compare PMA and SQLyog – on the opposite I reffered to ‘other options available’

    What triggered the post was first of all the idea that PMA should be next 1B acquirement for anybody. This is simply rediculous. And if it is not manipulation, it is ignorance!

    That was one point. The other point (and that was equally important) was that on the background of this ‘contest’ I had some considerations about about the relationship between MySQL and PHP. The fact is that they are moving away from one another. Not completely of course and the *AMP stack will be important for long time to come. But today there are other options for PHP that are equally important as MySQL is, as well as there are other options for MySQL that are also equally important as PHP is.

  3. 4
    Marc Delisle

    “Manipulation”? Who are you accusing of manipulation? The phpMyAdmin project?

    For your information, created this voting category, the nominations were made by the community of users, and finally the votes came from users.

    thanks … and the schema Designer is AJAX-based.

  4. 5
    Christopher Reinart

    Although I don’t like the negative tone of the post, I agree with several points mentioned by the author.

    I have been using MySQL/phpMyAdmin for the last 5-6 years and I used to love phpMyAdmin. Today there are much better alternatives – both open source and commercial. phpMyAdmin had a huge lead but was unable to keep pace.

    I think phpMyAdmin is only relevant in situations where a shared hosting provider (like GoDaddy) disallows direct connection. In that case users are forced to use a web-based interface.

    If direct connection is available, I have found native desktop applications much more productive for serious MySQL work.

  5. 6

    In most of the popular desktop GUIs(including SQLyog) you can connect even if you don’t have direct connection allowed from MySQL server.
    There are three options: –
    1) Use SSH tunneling built in the product.
    2) Use HTTP tunneling built in the product.
    3) If you are a SQLyog Community user where tunneling is not built in, you can setup “port forwarding” in SSH client (Putty, Plink, etc.) to create the tunnel.

    SSH and HTTP tunneling are built in in SQLyog Enterprise. But some shared hosting providers don’t give SSH access to users. Then the user will be left with only option (2).

  6. 7

    I authored the very negative post (above). Like Christopher, I do not like the negative tone of my comments. I regret the fact that I childishly disparaged WEBYOG products and I’m sorry. In truth, beyond the heat of the moment, I have nothing bad to say about them. I own SQLYOG and it performs as advertised.

    To write something like my ill-considered comments is simply a case of bad judgement.

  7. 10

    phpMyAdmin, while lacking in the shiniest GUI, is just as viable as SQLYog, especially for those who cannot afford to purchase SQLYog. Also concerning your comment about people moving away from MySQL to SQLite, if that’s the case, why should we purchase SQLYog?

    I’m not saying that SQLYog isn’t a good product, but before you go putting PMA down, it was definitely a leader when there wasn’t any other tool to manage mysql db’s. They still have their place, for example when I don’t travel with my laptop, I can get to my databases by going to a secure webpage. They also have some good features that SQLYog doesn’t do right. For example, if I want to display the schema for one or more tables, in PMA I can have it displayed right to the page. In MS SQL Server’s manager, which is a GUI, it’s possible to right-click on a table and it will paste the schema to the query panel. SQLYog wants you to write it out to a file, sometimes I don’t need yet another file on my machine.

    So, before you go berating other products, realize that each products has it’s pro’s and con’s.

  8. 11

    In SQLyog you have options

    1) copy database/table to other (there is a structure-only option)
    2) duplicate table (also here is a structure-only option)
    3) the OBJECTS tab displays create statement for tables (and ‘stored programs’ too), from where you can copy/paste in case you want to edit before creating a copy. The SQLyog OBJECTS tab has all kind of DDL information you can imagine.

    .. so no need to save to a file – and with options 1) + 2) even no need to bother about the SQL. And from version 6.5 there is a ‘fine-grained’ tree-view control so that you can select individual objects to be copied.

    @Matt .. what is the latest SQLyog version you tried? If there is some situation where an option (in Object Browser context menu for instance) to ‘paste create statement into editor’ would be more useful than the above options that can be added very easily. But nobody requested that.

  9. 12

    I’m on the latest version, 7.0.2.

    I don’t think you understand what I’m asking for. In other tools you can right click on the table (like where you have insert, delete, update,select) and there is an option to create and it takes the schema and displays it in the browser. There are a lot of us that have dev, qa and production systems, so when I do work in development, we export our schema to subversion or other version control system. Being able to export schema directly to the browser is really helpful.

    How about a feature like PMA has where when you do any modification (create, alter, insert, update, delete, etc) when it gives the results, it also gives the sql syntax it used to generate the results.

    Also, you didn’t address my other point. Just because you don’t think PMA is a good product, doesn’t mean it isn’t good for other people. I’ll admit that I love SQLYog, but it lacks features that I’ve found in other products. I do use SQLYog 99% of the time, but I also use other tools for various reasons.

  10. 13

    “Being able to export schema directly to the browser is really helpful.” OK .. we never had this request before. We have the 3 options explained in my previous post. Why didn’t you contact us through our Forums or ticket system if you have such request? Adding such option in the table context menu is not a big deal for us. But is is also no big deal for users to copy (Ctrl+C) from the SQLyog OBJECTS tab.

    A ‘preview SQL’ option (for DDL statments like ALTER TABLE etc) is a request that is already in our TODO. I do not see much use of it in DML statments (INSERT, UPDATE) with a GUI client. And also statements executed are displayed in HISTORY.

    If you read my original post I told that a web-based tool is useful in situations. I never denied that. But PMA webdesign has practically not developed – and our users tell us that they are tired of looking at flickering PMA pages updating 50% of the time!

  11. 15

    Dear Peter Laursen,
    I see in this article a lot anger and envy against PMA, and maybe that comes from the idea that most of the users will have about it. PMA is functionality not a pretty piece of software. It does the job that is meant to do. And that would be by itself the most important objective of all when we are talking about software.

    That’s why is famous and it’s been like that for years. When you build something better with all the features that you mention it should already have then you will be able to criticize so badly PMA.

    Now if you don’t like it don’t use it. If you think that you can do it better build one and share it with the world for free, if you can. Or go ahead and include all those things and features that you think that PMA might need. It’s very easy to talk but I would like to see that you actually do something to put some remedy.

    As of now PMA is one of the most downloaded projects in the internet, that for the reason is so bad ? I don’t think so. I think that you are just jealous of the success among the years about the PMA.

    Let me put it in this way how many downloads and clients SQLyog has?
    How many clients and downloads PMA has?
    What software has been there for the users for years?


  12. 16

    I am not angry with PMA. I repeat that a web-based tool is useful in situations (but the web interface could be much better than that of PMA!). I also repeat the the annoyance with the web interface of PMA was expressed by hundreds of our users in recent surveys we had.

    I cannot tell about PMA download. As far as I remember we estimate that we have had around 2 million SQLyog copies downloaded over time.

    What triggered my article was also the fact that voting for PMA as a posibility of such acquisition is completely ridicolous. The vote at Sourceforge should have been managed so that it was only possible to vote for what it makes sense to vote for. As long as some Open Source communities seem to spend most of their time clapping the backs of each others they will never become better.

    Concludingly this vote was not even good for PMA at all. PMA needs criticism – like we all do – to make progress. PMA (and not SQLyog either) does not need such silly votes!

  13. 17

    While I agree that SQLYog is ultimately a more powerful tool than phpMyAdmin, there are many times that phpMyAdmin feels more comfortable to navigate through, *especially* when building/modifying table structures.

    SQLYog always feels better for actually executing queries, formulating new queries, etc, but if I didn’t have phpMyAdmin available, I likely would be complaining much more about SQLYog.

  14. 18

    “phpMyAdmin .. feels more comfortable to navigate through, *especially* when building/modifying table structures.”

    Did you try the Query Builder of the SQLyog Enterprise version? Anyway, feel free to detail this, but preferably not here. Contact us through our Forums or support ticket system.

  15. 19
    Steven Feldstein

    Have any of you actually run PMA recently on a decent sized database? Due to changes to Version 2.0 getting schema on *every page* load it runs like crap if you have alot of tables and there are no configuration options to change this behavior. Personally, I would consider 10-20 second load times on pages to be a huge issue, but apparnetly the PMA developers decided to site on it for 8 months, then fix it half way in version 3.0 or at least I haven’t seen any noticeable improvement in Version 3.0 yet. PMA is rotten at this point for any serioius usage.

  16. 23

    Hi there,
    I just came across this new web based mysql client tool, called “MyWebSql”. Its also recently hosted on and I must say, i like the interface. It pretty fast too, works on most browsers, and is a much more usable interface tham phpMyAdmin. phpMyAdmin is way far full featured than any other web based mysql tool, but for all the basic stuff one developer requires to do, i like MyWebSql. I hope this project grows further to include more usability features.

  17. 26
    MS-SQL Fan

    I must say, after reading this particular blog entry, I am rather unhappy that I am reliant on your tools for work I do.

    I am loath to support any company/product which will post such self serving egomaniacal trash on their website and do so with such obvious glee.

    August 5th, 2008 | 4:34 am
    We have the 3 options explained in my previous post. Why didn’t you contact us through our Forums or ticket system if you have such request?
    – I must say I wouldn’t want to post on your forums asking for such additions given the way you have handled yourself in this blog.

    Navicat here I come.

  18. 27
    David M. Graham

    Strangely enough, the page comparing your community edition and the enterprise edition lists only two features for the community edition.

    Those are:

    1. Nag Screen on startup and shutdown displaying SQLyog Enterprise features
    2. Rotating text links showcasing SQLyog Enterprise features

    I see also that your “community edition” appears to be a 30day free trial.

    Why would anyone need a 30 day free trial of those two features?


  19. 28

    Complete nonsense!

    The ENTERPRISE TRIAL is a 30 day trial, but the COMMUNITY is not restricted by time at all. And additionally COMMUNITY is Open Source (GPL licensed). You are confusing ENTERPRISE TRIAL and COMMUNITY editions.

    The page here: does not list only 2 features for COMMUNITY (this is the only page I can think of). It lists *lots* of features – also for COMMUNITY. SQLyog COMMUNITY is a full-featured client for MySQL downloaded by almost 2 million users.

    We are very tolerant with comments here – but this is close to the edge because last post by David M. Graham (an only that one) is completely stupid and ignorant.

    Please scroll up and see how a phpMyAdmin developer team member communicates and try to learn the same adult attitude!

  20. 30

    “I see also that your “community edition” appears to be a 30day free trial.” … is wrong. COMMUNITY has no time limitation. You still seem to confuse the COMMUNITY version and the ENTERPRISE TRIAL or I am not able to understand you.

    The page list the *differences* of COMMUNITY and TRIAL – not the bunch of features that they share. I wonder if you ever tried it yourself?

    We do not get sponsorships from software giants – we have to earn the money to pay our costs (including the salaries to our people as quite a lot of families depend on it) and finance continued development. We have hundred of thousands of COMMUNITY users (probably more than a million) and complaints related to nag screens etc. we had over the almost 5 years I have been with Webyog are very few only. Most people understand the development costs and that we can only provide COMMUNITY for free as long as we sell ENTERPRISE.

  21. 31

    However .. I admit the the header text in the matrix.php page

    “The following table shows the features included in Community & Enterprise Editions”

    …is wrong. An earlier version of the page listed all features of the program. We removed that. The list simply became to long! 🙂

    So when the page was changed only to inform about the differences between the versions the header text should have been changed accordingly.

  22. 32
    Brian H.

    I just wanted to chime in. I consider myself a power-user and I continuously hop from project to project throughout the day, and any small amount of time saved with respect to my work is huge in the long run. I’ve used several DB interfaces in the past, PMA included, and for my workflow, SQLYog tops everything else that I have used.

    As for getting things done FAST, I consider PMA the worst product on the market. It has the unique quality of being a php app that integrates with plesk, so yes, it allows access to the DB when it would otherwise be locked up tight, but I dread every instance where I have to interact with it. It feels incredibly cumbersome.

    SQLYog now with tabbed browsing, is a breath of fresh air. I only wish I could move the tabs around. I own an ultimate license (for $179US), and really now, anyone who says that they cant afford it is obviously not doing anything serious in MySQL. $179 pays itself off in a week for me in time saved and aggravation avoided, and if I were forced to use PMA year after year then I would have thrown myself off my balcony.


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