Every successful database development journey starts with great data modeling software. Continue reading to explore the best database schema diagram tools.
Data modeling is the first step of database development. It’s the methodical process of graphically classifying and organizing all the pertinent data in an information system.
A Brief Refresher on Data Modeling and ER Diagrams
The three stages of the data modeling method are conceptual, logical, and physical data modeling. Starting from scratch, you present a very high-level description of your complete data model at the conceptual level. In logical data modeling, you progress from your conceptual model to a deeper level of detail. The entities are extended to show their properties, such as data types and characteristics. During physical data modeling, you extend the logical model to a specific design that’s ready to be converted into a physical database. You can read more about conceptual, logical, and physical data models here.
The entity-relationship diagram (ER diagram or ERD) is the most popular diagram used in data modeling. An ER diagram displays the entities, their connections, and other relevant data, including attributes, primary keys that uniquely identify each entity, foreign keys that establish connections between entities, etc. To draw ER diagrams, a variety of notations are available, including IDEF1X, Crow's Foot, and Barker's.
Let's look at the best data modeling tools available for creating database schemas.
The 7 Best Database Schema Diagram Tools
Vertabelo is an online database schema design tool that provides software engineers and database designers with many useful capabilities. You can design your database schema using the tool on any platform and from anywhere. And it supports many well-known database management systems (DBMSs), including SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.
With the help of several cutting-edge automatic capabilities offered by this ERD tool, you can quickly create your database structure. Your job is made easier by its intuitive user interface and its ability to support several types of collaboration at various access levels.
Vertabelo also provides several time-saving automated features. SQL generation generates the SQL script to create a physical database from your physical data model. The reverse engineering feature lets you convert your database into a physical model so you can easily see its structure and make needed changes.
Model validation, built-in version control, and version control with GIT are a few more features provided by Vertabelo. No wonder it’s becoming one of the top database schema diagram tools in the market.
2. ER Studio
ER Studio is an offline data modeling tool; it’s also one of my favorite tools for database design in Microsoft Windows.
This tool supports numerous DBMSs, including SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and Db2. ER Studio also supports Cloud services like Amazon RDS and S3, Google Cloud, Oracle MySQL Cloud Service, etc.
ER Studio provides a great environment and all the essential notations so that you may express your data as conceptual, logical, and physical models. You can also check the model’s normalization and compliance with the target database. You can build the physical data model automatically from the logical model, too.
ER Studio has forward and reverse engineering features. Using the forward engineering functionality, you can create a DDL script and a physical database from your physical data model. The reverse engineering feature converts a physical database into the proper physical data model.
Because of the comprehensive capabilities of this tool's bi-directional comparison and database and model merging, updates are straightforward.
3. Visual Paradigm
Visual Paradigm (VP) users can collaborate remotely on any platform using the online version of this multi-diagramming tool. Database engines supported by this tool include SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, and MariaDB. The most common notations, such as Crow's Foot, are provided.
This database schema design tool's Table record editor feature enables you to enter test data and comprehend the type of data entered into the physical database. Additionally, its Model transitor feature automates the creation of physical and logical data models from their previous levels; you can maintain traceability with this feature.
VP offers forward and reverse engineering capabilities. It can also produce SQL script patches for a database and compare your physical database to its physical data model.
Major databases like SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, MariaDB, and others are supported by Navicat. There are versions of this offline ERD tool for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. It offers data modeling at conceptual to physical levels and offers all three popular notations.
Reverse engineering allows you to import and visually edit an existing database. Its Export SQL functionality facilitates writing SQL scripts for each element of a physical data model.
5. Astah Professional
Astah Professional is a multi-diagramming tool; it supports drawing various diagrams, including ER diagrams, on Windows, Ubuntu, and macOS.
Drawing your ER diagram using standard notations like Crow’s Foot and IDEF1X is straightforward with Astah Professional's user-friendly interface. It offers reverse engineering and SQL export functionality; however, directly sharing models and real-time collaboration are not supported by this tool.
The online data modeling tool ERDPlus lets you model your data on any platform and from any location. You’ll have access to all the notations you need, including Crow's Foot, to create conceptual, logical, and physical data models.
Additionally, using the physical data model as a starting point, this program can produce SQL DDL files for your physical database. Numerous DBMSs, including MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, and IBM DB2, are supported.
SqlDBM is another online data modeling tool It supports several databases like MySQL, SQL Server, and Amazon Redshift and popular notations like Crow's Foot and IDEF1X.
This database design tool also facilitates cross-platform collaboration. To share your data models with your team, add their email addresses and select the right access level settings.
SqlDBM also comes with forward engineering, reverse engineering, version control, and revision comparison.
What's the Best Database Schema Diagram Tool for You?
Your database project's initial step is data modeling. As a result, you must have the ideal database schema diagram tool in your toolbox if you're a database professional.
There are a huge number of data modeling tools on the market. To select the ideal tool for your database project, you must first understand what you need and what’s available. This post highlighted my top tools for designing database schemas and their standout features. Weigh your project's requirements against the tool's capabilities; not every tool will be right for every project.