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DBeaver vs Navicat: Visual Appeal, Secure Connectivity, and NoSQL Support Jun 3, 2021 by Robert Gravelle

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Both DBeaver and Navicat are Universal Database Tools, which means that they support all popular databases, including MySQL, MariaDB, MongoDB, SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQLite. Moreover, both are compatible with cloud databases as well, such as Amazon RDS, Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, Google Cloud and MongoDB Atlas. But, as the saying goes, "the devil is in the details", so, while the two products may seem similar at first glance, a closer examination of each tool's Visual Appeal, Secure Connectivity, and NoSQL Support will reveal that the differences between the two far outnumber any apparent similarities.

Visual Appeal

Perhaps visual appearance is not the first thing one thinks of when considering application features, but how an application's GUI looks can tell us a lot about what kind of user experience (UX) it provides. Here are side-by-side screen captures of DBeaver and Navicat main screens in Windows:

DBeaver GUI   Navicat Premium GUI

There can be little doubt that both products have well designed GUIs. Having said that, Navicat's interface is cleaner and more intuitive, IMHO. Here are a few reasons why:

  • All of the main actions are accessible via menu items at the top of the screen.
  • There is a large button toolbar for accessing other application screens and utilities.
  • Different Object types are identified by distinct icons, as seen in the left pane.

Secure Connectivity

For business professionals, it is imperative to be able to connect securely to database instances.

DBeaver support configuration of standard (host, port, user credentials) as well as advanced connection properties. These include SSH tunnel, SOCKS proxy, and Shell commands to be executed before/after actual database connection.

Navicat establishes secure connections through SSH Tunneling and SSL to ensure that every connection is secure, stable, and reliable. Supported authentication methods include PAM authentication for MySQL and MariaDB, Kerberos and X.509 authentication for MongoDB, and GSSAPI authentication for PostgreSQL. Navicat provides more authentication mechanisms than DBeaver, and most of its competitors for that matter!

NoSQL/BigData Database Support

Due to their many and significant differences to traditional relational databases, NoSQL databases such as MongoDB present their own unique requirements.

DBeaver has special extensions for MongoDB, as well as other document databases. NoSQL databases have an SQL interface so that you can work with them in the same way as you would relational databases.

Navicat is fully compatible with MongoDB out of the box. Navicat also takes a different approach to working with NoSQL databases. Rather than try to use MongoDB as an SQL database, it uses MongoDB's proper syntax for managing data, so that developers may utilize its full capabilities:

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Moreover, Navicat can present NoSQL data in one of three ways, for working with documents in various capacities. They are:

  • Grid view
  • Tree view
  • JSON view

Grid View (pictured above) is the traditional tabular display that DBAs are most familiar with. It can handle any documents size, and supports advanced features like highlighting cells based on data types, column hiding and more.

Tree View shows your documents in a hierarchical view. All embedded documents and arrays are represented as nodes, which can be expanded or collapsed as needed:

tree_view.jpg

You can also show your data as JSON documents, while documents can be added with the built-in validation mechanism which ensures your edits are correct.

json_view.jpg

Conclusion

In part 2 of this series on DBeaver vs. Navicat Premium, we compared the Visual Appeal, Secure Connectivity, and NoSQL Support of both products. As we saw, while both look similar to some degree, if one delves beneath the surface, there are some enormous differences between the two.



Rob Gravelle resides in Ottawa, Canada, and has been an IT Guru for over 20 years. In that time, Rob has built systems for intelligence-related organizations such as Canada Border Services and various commercial businesses. In his spare time, Rob has become an accomplished music artist with several CDs and digital releases to his credit.

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