Navicat Blog

A Database Tools Showdown: HeidiSQL versus Navicat Jun 17, 2022 by Robert Gravelle

Meet the Contestants

There is no shortage of either free or commercial relational database clients. Some provide basic functionality, while others offer advanced tools that help professionals achieve their many day-to-day activities in an efficient manner. While there is some correlation between cost and the number of features offered, each product needs to be evaluated on its own merits when deciding which product(s) to use yourself.

Back in June of last year, we compared DBeaver, a popular free tool, to Navicat Premium 15. Now, it's high time that we did it again. In this installment of Database Tools Showdown, we'll be taking a look at another freebie called HeidiSQL, and see how it stacks up against Navicat Premium 16.

Some Product Background

First, the challenger:

Invented by Ansgar Becker in 2002, his aim was to create software that was easy to learn. Becker chose the name "HeidiSQL" when it was suggested to him by a friend as a tribute to Heidi Klum. The name also reflected Becker's own nostalgia for Heidi, Girl of the Alps. "Heidi", as it's affectionately known, lets you view and edit both the data and structures of MariaDB, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite.

HeidiSQL began as a MySQL front-end in 1999 under the project name "MySQL-Front". In 2004, during a period of inactivity, Becker sold the MySQL-Front branding to his business partner, Nils Hoyer. In April 2006, Becker open-sourced the application on SourceForge, renaming the project "HeidiSQL". Later, he added support for other database servers as follows:

  • Microsoft SQL Server support was added in March 2011 for the 7.0 release.
  • PostgreSQL was introduced in March 2014 for the 9.0 release.
  • SQLite support was introduced in March 2020 for the 11.0 release.

Today, HeidiSQL is routinely ranked among the most popular tools for MariaDB and MySQL worldwide. Since the 8.0 release, HeidiSQL offers its GUI in about 22 languages other than English.

About the reigning champion:

Navicat Premium is Navicat's flagship product. It's a commercial database development and design tool that allows users to simultaneously connect to multiple local and/or cloud databases from a single application. Navicat Premium was designed to meet the needs of a variety of audiences, from database administrators and programmers to various businesses/companies that serve clients and share information with partners.

The initial version of Navicat was developed by Mr. Ken Lin in 2001. The main goal of the initial version was to simplify the management of MySQL instances. In 2008, Navicat for MySQL was the winner of the Hong Kong ICT 2008 Award of the Year, Best Business Grand Award and Best Business (Product) Gold Award. Navicat Premium was launched in 2009. It combined all previous Navicat versions into a single product and could connect to all popular database types simultaneously, giving users the ability to perform data migration between different (heterogeneous) database types.

Going Forward

Now that we've properly introduced our contestants, the next installment(s) will delve into each tool's feature set, and compare them for usability, performance, user ratings, and more!

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