July 2, 2024 By Matthew Rathbone *

DataGrip from JetBrains is a popular paid database GUI with the text-editing power features common to JetBrains IDE products.

However, the heavyweight nature of the app isn’t for everyone. Much like the flagship JetBrains product IntelliJ, many developers prefer a lighter weight editor with a gentler learning curve.

Thankfully the open source ecosystem of SQL GUIs is strong and healthy, so there are plenty of alternative choices.

Beekeeper Studio Community Edition

Available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux - download here

Beekeeper Studio’s strong focus on usability and design is unique among open source database GUIs and makes it an excellent alternative to DataGrip.

I opened Beekeeper Studio and it was not ugly - Mateo

Download Beekeeper Studio

Beekeeper Studio supports multiple databases including MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, SQL Server, and more. What sets Beekeeper Studio apart is its clean, intuitive interface combined with powerful features like auto-complete, query formatting, native-tabs, and a privacy-first policy with no telemetry or tracking.

Beekeeper Studio also has a commercial ‘ultimate’ edition with more features like full import/export, backup & restore, and support for more databases like Oracle and Cassandra. Every purchase helps our small indie team follow our mission to provide great quality open source software to the world.

Even though JetBrains made some of their earlier products open source, they didn’t do the same with DataGrip, on the other hand, Beekeeper Studio Community Edition is provided with a truly open source GPLv3 license, so it’s truly free (libre) and free (gratis).

If you find DataGrip’s UI (or price) hard to stomach, Beekeeper Studio is the GUI for you. Obviously we’re biased, but try it yourself and we think you’ll agree.

Beekeeper Studio Links


MacOS, Windows, and Linux

DBeaver is to DataGrip what Eclipse is to IntelliJ. Like DataGrip, DBeaver is built with Java, but rather than being built in Java Swing, DBeaver is built on the Eclipse platform, so it feels very similar to use to Eclipse.

DBeaver packs a lot of features into it’s package, and is also open source on GitHub, but the biggest complaint about DBeaver is the same complaint about DataGrip - complexity. DBeaver feels a little more clunky than DataGrip honestly.

If you dislike the complexity of DataGrip, you won’t find any solace with DBeaver. If you want an app with better usability you’re better to go with Beekeeper Studio Community Edition.

DBeaver Links


Windows Only

Created in 2002, HeidiSQL is a well respected and mature GUI for managing MySQL, MariaDB, Microsoft SQL, and PostgreSQL databases on Microsoft Windows. It offers a robust set of features including a graphical interface for managing databases and data visually.

HeidiSQL allows for connecting to multiple servers, managing user permissions, and executing SQL queries directly, making it a practical choice for engineers who need a reliable and versatile tool.

HeidiSQL Links

Sequel Ace (formerly Sequel Pro)

MacOS Only

Sequel Ace is a fork of Sequel Pro. It shines as a simple macOS database management tool for MySQL (and MariaDB).

Sequel Ace is specifically built for macOS and continues the legacy of Sequel Pro as a straight up and easy to use database management app.

Features like query autocompletion, syntax highlighting, and direct import/export with CSV and Excel make Sequel Ace an excellent choice for Mac users looking for a powerful yet straightforward database management solution for MySQL.

Sequel Ace Links

SQuirreL SQL

Available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux

SQuirreL SQL is an open-source Java-based SQL client that provides an UI to connect to databases via the JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) interface.

Like DataGrip, it is compatible with a lot of database engines such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQL Server, among others. Being based on Java and JDBC is a benefit for driver compatibility.

It has a bunch of similar features to DBeaver & DataGrip, and has a very similar interface, thanks to similar underpinnings (Java).

SQuirreL SQL Links


Web based

Adminer stands out with its unique approach to database management by being delivered as a single PHP file.

It provides support for managing MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, MS SQL, and Oracle databases, plus more via community plugins.

Adminer is simple to deploy and has a bunch of community plugins that provide extras like new database compatibility, and custom theming.

Adminer is really positioned as an alternative to PHPMyAdmin, which is also a web-based SQL GUI based on PHP.

Adminer Links


Beekeeper Studio was created out of frustration with other open source tools and their lack of focus on usability. We think that this makes Beekeeper Studio the best open source SQL GUI on the market, although obviously we’re biased 🙃.

Regardless of what you want out of an open source GUI, all of the projects listed are mature, quality pieces of software built by passionate and talented developers. You can’t really go wrong.

A Database Manager That Is Modern, Fast, & Easy To Use

Tried a few tools. Beekeeper was the only one that I found that felt right. Most had a very 1990's feel to them - Allan

I built Beekeeper Studio because, like Allan, I wanted something more intuitive and modern than all the existing clunky apps I could find. My customers agree - they love using Beekeeper and they tell me every day! Give it a try, I bet you'll like it too.

Beekeeper's Linux version is 100% full-featured, no cut corners, no feature compromises.