Using MySQL (in fact MariaDB) as backend, I want to design a user-friendly front-end – ideally using an HTML server. Something very much resembling the MS Access forms and subforms of old. You can still use MS Access as a frontend for MySQL, but only in Windoze. The solution I need must be useable in Linux (also rules out something like Kexi).

More than just CRUD: It's got to be able to do things like forms and subforms as in MS Access, i.e. be "client-facing". Rules out phpMyAdmin, MySQL Workbench, sqlYog, etc.

I explored the LibreOffice Base idea... but this doesn't use an HTML server. I found that these forms didn't work very satisfactorily: buttons and textboxes lack the configurability of JQuery equivalents, for example.

Might Drupal be a possible answer? My impression is that this would mean much to learn before bearing any fruit.

nuBuilder, https://www.nubuilder.net/. This looked like the thing I was looking for... works with an Apache server, PHP, Javascript, JQuery, MySQL: cross-platform. And you can tweak the code. Possibility of subforms. Very configurable and customisable. But the people behind it are not very responsive, and the documentation so confusing that I couldn't get anywhere.

much later

In fact what I have done is to code my own thing which is adequate to my requirements, using JS, PHP, JQuery, etc. It implements forms and subforms very nicely and fast. I didn't develop it using TDD so it is inevitably rather fragile.

One day I plan to redevelop it using TDD applied to JS, PHP, something I know nothing about currently. I would then make it a public project. I'm baffled why somebody far more expert than me hasn't done this: it'd probably take them about a day.

  • 1
    Even after reading this 3 times, I've got no idea what you're asking for (except it's about some "MySQL front-end). Maybe you could edit your question and make it clearer: list your requirements, tell clearly what it should do? For a guide, take a look at What is required for a question to contain "enough information"? Thanks!
    – Izzy
    Dec 25, 2014 at 14:52
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    I've integrated that with your post. Still, a bullet-point list of requirements would be helpful.
    – Izzy
    Dec 25, 2014 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


Along the lines of Kexi, LibreOffice, and MS Access style form/subforms; you might want to investigate WaveMaker.

WaveMaker provides an open source, Java-based alternative for developers wanting to migrate Microsoft Access and Microsoft .NET applications. WaveMaker Studio will look and feel especially familiar to client/server developers who are used to working with visual tools like Microsoft Access.


a few months later:

I consider WaveMaker and nuBuilder, in different ways, to be not want I want.

Another project which I discovered is phpMyEdit. This was mainly developed 2000-2008, but still has a forum where people post questions.

phpMyEdit is a simple idea: provide a straightforward means of editing a single mySQL table, using a PHP-generated HTML "list table" where you can click on a button to edit a single record. The PHP file to implement this is about 3000 lines long. It is very simple to use.

I have spent the past month or so using JQuery to change this so it implements subform functionality, and also massively altering and improving the 3000-line PHP file. It's now quite usable: each form or subform sits in a DIV and a change of location in a "master form" results in a change in a "slave form". Naturally there are many other Access-like features that I'd like to introduce but for a basic invoice/invoice-items system, for example, it works OK.

I'm thinking sooner or later of putting this phpMyEdit "fork" on github. If anyone's interested in checking it out please send me a message.

  • I have the exactly same issue, currently considering LibreOffice Base vs. NuBuilder as form frontends to a (simple) company's MySQL DB. Both Base and NuBuilder do not seem to be developed very actively. Any news in 2017?
    – nachtigall
    Apr 12, 2017 at 15:07

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