Best Postgres Mac Apps

Is there really one?

I’m just going to say it. I can’t find a Postgres client for OS X that I like. They’re all either ugly as sin and/or have issues. Many will plain crash on you. Others will hide windows behind the main window making the UI unusable. I’d even be happy with ugly icons if the UI was decent on one.

I’ve tried several and hopefully I can save you the trouble of trying a bunch.

Navicat

Navicat Probably the best to be frank, but it costs money. I think it’s a little overpriced for a tool of this nature to be completely honest. For personal use. If you’re a company you can probably justify it. Sadly I need to discount this one right away. I loved the demo though! The GUI looks good and allows you to manage everything about your database, users, etc.

pgAdmin3

pgAdminNot bad actually. The features are the most extensive I think I’ve seen in a Postgres client tool. Failing to connect to servers doesn’t result in waiting forever and it’s pretty stable. So what’s wrong with it? Well aside from ugly icons (not a big deal), everytime you pop open a properties window it gets hidden behind the main window (in Yosemite at least). Super annoying. Then after changing the ownership of a table let’s say…You need to refresh the listing of tables before changing the ownership of another table because that properties window you just opened…Yea, the info in it will seemingly be cached for the next item’s properties (giving you false information).

It also shows you all of the triggers, views, functions, sequencies, etc. If you aren’t familiar with Postgres you’d be surprised by all the options, features, and settings. pgAdmin3 simply exposts everything to you. Fortunately most of this data is displayed in drill down menus so that makes it pretty convenient for collapsing and getting lists of functions out of your way. By far the most feature rich client.

It’s not bad though. If you can get used to having a bunch of scattered windows open all the time. Or actually, if you have a second monitor with high resolution – this is the client for you. Look no farther. It hasn’t crashed on me either.

PG Commander

Valentina The most beautiful of all clients. Period. It has a nice simple UI…But that’s the downfall. It has no way to manage users or ACL. You can view all of the settings in a table view, but editing would need to be done by hand written SQL. You can save queries to your hard drive with tags. So loading brings up a file chooser dialog which is less than ideal. At least you’d know where all the data was in case of a backup for your computer. Timescapsule will pick up those saved queries for sure if you save them in your documents folder or something.

The strength of PG Commander truly lies in viewing your records in a table list and editing those records. The form to edit a record is great. It fills the entire window and there’s breadcrumbs up top. Not some weird set of panels like Velentina (see below). The UI is clean and compact. No ugly icons. You can also tune how many records per page you get under the preferences which is nice.

PG Commander is your client if you simply need to view and edit data in some Postgres tables and run SQL queries.

Induction

Induction Induction is an interesting client. The table view for records is nice and clean. No ugly icons or anything. However, what’s really interesting is that it lets you plot data on a graph. So if you’re working with data to be graphed this could be a very convenient client for you. It could potentially replace the need for some other tool.

It’s open source which is nice, but it lacks a lot of admin features. It’s really only good if you are going to view records and then want to plot them. To be fair, the tool has a very specific purpose that I think it handles quite nicely. You likely won’t end up using this client though.

SQuirrel Universal SQL Client

Squirrel Can’t go wrong with this one. It supports practically everything. Though you’ll need to download JDBC drivers and configure things quite a bit. While not the prettiest, it is feature rich. All objects, including tables, are in drop downs that expand tree style. So it’s a little awkward because there’s no visual distinction between tables and other properties. A lot of the buttons don’t have obvious icons and it’s not the easiest to manage database schema. Viewing things is absolutely fine, but I find myself writing more SQL statements when I use this tool (which I find slower in some cases, which is why I want a GUI client in the first place).

I really like it because it works with so many databases, but I find the UI not as nice as other clients out there. So while I use it for other databases, for Postgres it’s just not my favorite. It’s fine, but I feel like there’s better in terms of a GUI. Graphical being key here.


Valentina Studio

Valentina This is the primary client I use. The property inspector is on the right instead of a new window so it keeps the UI compact and clean. However, it doesn’t have nearly the amount of fine controls that pgAdmin3 does. For most tasks Valentina will have you covered. It can take a while to find out you have an incorrect password or the database is down. Timeouts are quite lengthy. The tabbed UI with things sliding to the right (like Finder) took me a while to get used to, but it kinda works.

It’s server admin panel is nice. It tells you how many connections are open and such (in real-time - there’s a graph). This section of the client also lets you managed users and roles.

It has a SQL builder which is like MySQL Workbench. It’s a visual designer tool only for queries - not schema design (that I believe is in their pro tool that costs money). If you aren’t great with SQL queries and JOINs I suppose this could be nice, but I don’t find it that useful.

You can still edit tables without their pro tool. It’s just not as visual. It works well though. It opens a new window when you right click on a table and go to “Design table…” menu item or “Create table…” if you’re not editing one.

Bottom line: I’d go with Valentina Studio or pgAdmin3 if you can deal with its quirks.

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