Review: OmniView Professional

OmniView Professional 2.0.4
Krell Software
Clearwater, Florida

Whether you're a developer or a DBA, it's likely that you work with databases -- and if you're reading this, those may well be SQL Server databases. Though there are any number of tools for working with SQL Server databases -- Enterprise Manager, Query Analyzer, Microsoft Access -- working with OmniView for a few days has convinced me that there's room for one more.

OmniView Pro lets you work with multiple SQL Server tables in a rich interface. (Click on image for larger view)

Basically, this is the tool for the times when you need to get in, inspect the data or a few objects, make some changes, and get out. OmniView can work with tables, views, and stored procedures. What can it do with them? Darned near anything. Just double-clicking a table opens a datasheet, for example. You can open multiple datasheets on the same table if you want to inspect far-flung rows. Data can be sorted, grouped, or filtered with ease, and you can also edit it to your heart's content. Even text and image columns are open for editing, thanks to the binary editor built into the product. A "Multi-row update" pane gives you a visual way to build and execute update queries on a table as well.

Stored procedures, too, can be executed. You can edit input parameters and see output parameters and return values. Once you've executed a stored procedure, all of the datasheet tools are at your disposal. You can also create ad-hoc SQL statements and execute them. The query editor features IntelliSense-like dropdown hints for object names and SQL Server keywords.

Everything is displayed in a tabbed interface, which offers some unique help for the user who isn't a database professional. For example, you can create your own private views of a table, that persist sorting and column choices and so on, and save them -- without changing the database at all. You can also create groups of commonly-used objects. This is particularly useful if a database has hundreds of objcts and you don't care to browse through them all. OmniView also offers an easy filtering interface as well as export to Microsoft Excel, text, HTML, or XML.

What's missing? Well, OmniView is explicitly a data tool, not a design tool. If you need to make design changes to items, you'll need to work through a different tool. But for finding data quickly, and changing it after you find it, this is a superior alternative.


For more reviews and opinions from Mike Gunderloy, click here.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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