I’m looking for a graphical tool that allows me to create, populate and browse/search databases.

Primary use case: Curate a personal collection (e.g., for movies, postage stamps, quotes, …). There are often specialized databases (e.g., Griffith for media) for such cases, but I’m looking for a general-purpose one that makes no assumptions.

It should, of course, support several tables (otherwise, LibreOffice Calc could probably be used). So in case of a movie database, the user might also want to record directors (and their metadata).

  • The form (for populating) should be created automatically according to the database setup.

  • It should offer fields like: text, date, select lists (with pre-defined values), relations (to other records in same or other tables), file upload, image (displayed), etc.

    • Fields should support: validation criteria (i.e., "must contain only numbers", …), multiple values (i.e., "can have 1 or more values", "must have exactly 1 value", "none or 1 value", …)
  • There needs to be some kind of export in well-known format.

  • It needs to support searching in specific as well as in all fields, only in specific or also in all tables.

Formal requirements

  • It MUST be FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software).
  • It MUST run natively on GNU/Linux, no web-apps.

What I know

I’m not experienced with this tool, but I guess that OpenOffice/LibreOffice Base could probably solve most of my requirements, but as far as I can see, I’d have to create the forms manually (i.e., first create the database, then create the form). Also, the (default?) "design" (look and feel) of the forms is not really user friendly, it gets complicated when there are several tables involved.

I often use the CMS Drupal when I need such a database. It offers everything I need (content types, fields, relations), creates the forms automatically, and allows me to export the data (with custom modules). However, I’m looking for a native/local client (nothing that requires a server).

I also found Glom and Kexi, but I have no experience with them.

  • 1
    Are you looking for something like TOra? Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 9:19
  • @MikePennington: Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t know TOra, but judging from the screenshots, it seems to be rather developer-oriented, but maybe it includes the features I’m looking for anyway? Can you use it without having to write SQL? Does it offer forms with select fields etc.?
    – unor
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:17
  • For most databases several administration and development tools are available. They provide good user interfaces. One such example is Navicat for MySQL. Like this, more tools are available.
    – TomJ
    Commented Mar 31, 2014 at 7:48
  • +1 for Kexi. It uses sqlite database, so that your you also have a full set of database tools for sqlite at your disposal.
    – OuzoPower
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 17:26
  • @OuzoPower: Feel free to post an answer if you can recommend Kexi for my use case :)
    – unor
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 6:33

1 Answer 1


You can use MySQL databases and use phpMyAdmin (see demo).

  • License: GNU General Public License 2 (source)
  • Platform: Runs natively under Linux on your local machine
  • GUI support for database creation, insertion of new entries, adding dependencies, deletion, updating datasets, ...
  • Field types: Many, including int, float, char, varchar, text, BLOB, date, datetime, Boolean ... see List of MySQL datatypes
  • Automatic Form generation: See screenshot below

Installation on Debian-based systems

e. g. on Ubuntu or Linux Mint:

sudo apt-get install mysql-server
sudo apt-get install php5-mysql 
sudo phpmyadmin

Then go to 'localhost/phpmyadmin' in any browser. This runs on your local machine.


One part I want to highlight is the designer. The designer shows you all tables with the relations:

enter image description here

This is extremely useful for prototyping.

For data insertion, you have automatically generated forms that look like this (in my case, the user interface is German. There is an English version, too):

enter image description here

  • Would this solution offer a) forms with b) different fields (select lists with pre-defined values, file upload, etc.)? Or would users have to fill in the tables directly?
    – unor
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 15:36
  • 1
    a) Yes, see screenshot above b) yes, see screenshot above (Did you see the demo?). If you add constrainst, you will have select lists. File upload is available when you choose BLOB (binary large object) as file type. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 15:43
  • 2
    You can also use MySQL Workbench as a front-end instead of Phpmyadmin so that you don't need to run a PHP-enabled web server at all times.
    – user111
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 2:36
  • 2
    @AndréDaniel: I've been sitting in front of MySQL workbench for a few evenings and for the life of me I can't figure out how to use it as a user-friendly data entry and query tool. If you have any links or suggestions on how to do this I will be in your debt.
    – DanielSank
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 2:15

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