An Overview of Database Diagram Tools Available for PostgreSQL

Asif Fayyaz

What’s in a Database Diagram?

“Data are just summaries of thousands of stories – tell a few of those stories to help make the data meaningful” - Chip & Dan Heath

Before you start playing with a data that is meaningful in a context you make sure it has been collected and filtered by a design that harness the meaningfulness.

Modeling and designing a database is a foundation step towards a working database that will back any working software exposed to the outer world. Let us be honest, it can get tricky and complex, isn’t it? Answer is clarity and simplicity, on paper and in thoughts.

How a DBMS Handles This?

Don’t you agree that visuals are a great way to give clarity to complex design, concept, making things self explanatory and easy to comprehend?

To save time and reduce complexities, any tool generating database diagrams on

  • Conceptual Level
  • Logical Level and
  • Physical level

It is a handy feature for a DBMS to have. The good news is that most of the DBMS have either this feature built in or have 3rd party tools to support.

Any DBMS lacking this feature these days or no support available from third part tools can hurt its certain audience if not all. Wondering how? Imagine you have been asked to extend database design of an already built e-commerce web system or to design a custom payroll system, making it more complex you have to do it manually. Mapping each table, building relationships, implementing constraints and translating them back to business requirements can easily burn you out.

What About PostgreSQL?

Well, you can do it with PostgreSQL as well and quite efficiently. PostgreSQL is the world’s most advanced open source database. It has a wide variety of 3rd party tools that support data modeling and diagram generation. In fact depending on the nature of the requirement, context of use, operating system you are working on, formats you interested to import & export, price you can afford and with some even free, you will definitely find one that suits you well.

Let’s have a look at these tools suggested by the PostgreSQL community. It’s surely a long list so don’t be amazed if you don’t find one in this list.

Data Studio

Company: AquaFold Inc (IDERA)

License: Proprietary

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

Last Release: 20.0 (May 2019)

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 10.4, 9.x

Features:

Aqua Data Studio is a database IDE and its ER modeler has bundled some really nice features up its sleeves. You can reverse engineer an existing database, quick search entities, annotate, compare ER models, forward engineer model in to the database, import database to ER model and generate HTML reports.

You can find a complete list of features supported by Datastudio for PostgreSQL here.

Dataedo

Company: Dataedo

License: Proprietary, Free (Students and Teachers) , Open Source

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 10

Last Release: Dataedo 7.4.2 (May 16th, 2019)

Features:

Dataedo can generate ER diagrams by its simple to use drag and drop feature. You can select custom columns to include in the diagram to be displayed. Its cross platform database server and engine diagram creation is surely an attractive feature. It supports reverse engineering and can document tables relationships in an efficient manner for missing FK constraints. All these features can be handy for querying, reporting services and database development. You can see more by dataedo for PostgreSQL on.

DBSchema

Company: WISE CODERS GmbH

License: Proprietary, Free (Limited to 12 tables with few features)

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

Last Release: DbSchema 8.1.6 (May 2019)

Features:

Dbscehma claims that no database or SQL experience required using its visual tool to manage a PostgreSQL database. It offers editing tables in the diagrams. You can create multiple layouts of the schema for a better understanding that can be saved and edited offline as well. It manages its own version of schema that can be deployed on multiple databases. It can print high quality layout images that can be exported in HTML5. Visit them for more PostgreSQL specific details.

DBVisualizer

Company: DbVis Software

License: Proprietary, Free (Limited Feature set)

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

PostgreSQL Version Supported: PostgreSQL 8.x, 9.x, 10.x, 11.x

Last Release: 10.0.21 (June 2, 2019)

Features:

DBVisualizer has a long and high profile clients list. It renders schema diagrams in a graph like a manner that generates all key constraints, using its reference graph feature. It has multiple layouts available for graphs i.e. Hierarchic, Organic, Orthogonal, or Circular to view table nodes and relations. These graphs can be zoomed, fit, animate and have a navigator pane for navigation. You can export in multiple formats and print as well. Above are few from its PostgreSQL supported features.

DBWrench

Company: Nizana Systems

License: Proprietary, Free

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

Last Release: 4.2.1 (May 2019)

Features:

DBWrench with its forward and reverse engineering capabilities claims to provide an easy to manage database development. You can edit database objects directly in the diagrams thus no need to navigate between nodes and navigator helps you to manage large diagrams easily. It supports multiple ER notations and you can also generate HTML documentation of these diagrams.

DeZign

Company: Datanamic

License: Proprietary

OS: Windows

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Last Release: 11.0.3 (April, 2019)

Features:

Like many of their competitors, Datanamic are in the market for quite some time. Their flagship product DeZign has some great features to boast of. It’s easy to use data design and modeling features are equipped with forward and reverse engineering techniques. Its data modeling offers bi-directional compare and synchronize feature for multiple use cases. They support teamwork feature so that more than one person can work on the same data modeler. DeZign supports exporting model reports in HTML, Word and PDF formats.

ModelRight

Company: ModelRight

License: Proprietary

OS: Windows

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 11, 10, 9.6, 9.4, 9.0, 8.4, 8.3, 8.3

Last Release: 4.1 (Dec 2016)

Features:

One of the interesting facts about ModelRight is that it’s built by the guy who leads the software development of famous ERWin in its earlier years. UI may not sound modern but features are worth looking into. You may find most of the features we discussed above like forward engineering, reverse engineering in to the model, model comparison, on diagram editing, model subsets of a primary model, navigator and zoom, HTML Report generation with model information and linked images to ER diagrams.

OpenSystemArchitect

Company: System Architect by codebydesign (Community Maintained)

License: Mainly Free (GPL), Proprietary

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 9.x , 10.x

Last Release: 4.0.0 (2018)

Features:

Available under GPL Open System Architect is focused on data modeling at logical and physical levels. It supports ERD validation and documentation. It is free and could be worth trying if you are low on cash or a student.

PgModeler

Company: PgModeler ( Community Maintained)

License: Proprietary(Compiled Binary Packages), Open Source GPLv3 (Compile yourself)

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

Last Release: 0.9.1 (May, 2018)

Features:

An easy to use, open source and cross platform data modeler application for PostgreSQL. Some of the notable features but not limited to are, its ability to generate a model in four different ways and generate models from existing databases. To ensure no rules or references affected during export it incorporates model validation feature as well. Like many above it can export/import models and generate diffs for model comparison.

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PostgreSQL Maestro

Company: SQL Maestro Group

License: Proprietary, Free

OS: Windows

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 7.3 to 10.0

Last Release: 18.12 (Dec, 2018)

Features:

A Windows GUI admin tool for PostgreSQL development and management that support all PostgreSQL version from 7 to 10. An easy database object management system with handy schema designer feature that can easily reverse engineered database in to ER diagram. All objects are editable along with the support of adding more tables or defining new relationships between them.

SQL Power Architect

Company: SQL Power Group Inc

License: Free GPLv3, Proprietary

OS: Windows , Linux, macOS

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 8.0 or later

Last Release: 1.0.8 (May, 2016)

Features:

A cross platform data modeling and profiling tool. Among many few of visual specific features includes forward/reverse engineering, data model and data structures comparison, automatically generating source-to-target visual mapping reports and easy to navigate tree view. It’s database structures snapshot features allows users to design data models while working offline. Above all it’s free as well.

DBeaver

Company: Community Maintained

License: Apache License (Free), Enterprise Edition

OS: Windows, Linux, MacOS, Solaris

Last Release: 6.0.5 (May 2019)

Features:

Dbeaver is free community database tool and like all above supports multiple databases alongside PostgreSQL. It has a closed-source enterprise edition that is sold as a commercial license. DBeaver supports automatically generated ER diagrams on schema and table level. Diagrams can be exported in multiple formats. You can create custom ER diagrams as well that may contain any tables from any databases.

Vertabelo

Company: Vertabelo

License: Proprietary, Free (for educational purposes)

OS: Web based, OS independent

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 9.x

Last Release:

Features:

An intuitive web based system. Vertabelo allows multiple ways to create data model i.e. blank from your DB engine, through an example diagram, importing a SQL model or an XML model. It supports multiple databases hence during working on diagrams you have access to appropriate data types. They have done well enough to manage large diagrams using table grouping by “subject areas” with navigation tree contains list of all subject areas. More cool features include its live validation of model and collaboration where you can share read only version of your model. It supports model versioning and export to multiple formats. For using vertabelo with PostgreSQL and to learn more of its features please see details here.

Toad

Company: Quest

License: Proprietary

OS: Windows

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 8.x, 9.x

Last Release: 6.4 (April,2018)

Features:

Toad data modeler by Quest offers data modeling feature for logical and physical models. You can build ER models and forward/reverse engineer the databases. Model comparison, synchronization and customization is also supported with detailed reporting. Features list is even bigger matching its price. Have a look here.

Valentina Studio

Company: Paradigma Software

License: Proprietary, Free

OS: Windows, Linux, MacOS

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 8.4 onwards

Last Release: 9.2 (June,2019)

Features:

Valentina studio offers automatic ER diagram generation in its free version, for adding custom elements it requires upgrade to PRO version. Similarly free version supports reverse engineering but not forward engineering. It offers native applications and promise fast to work. Well, it is free and offers good features, worth trying.

DataGrip

Company: JetBrains

License: Proprietary, Free (Conditional)

OS: Windows, Linux, MacOS

Last Release: 2019.1.3 (May ,2019)

Features:

A complete database IDE that supports multiple databases other than PostgreSQL. DataGrip offers a visual table editor and supports viewing tables and their relationships in an insightful diagram that can be exported later as images. To learn more about how PostgreSQL works with DataGrip, see details here.

Navicat Data Modeler

Company: PremiumSoft

License: Proprietary

OS: Windows, Linux MacOS

PostgreSQL Version Supported: 7.3, 7.4, 8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4

Last Release: 2.1 ( January , 2019)

Features:

Navicat is a well known name and a widely used database tool. Navicat Data Modeler is a standalone product that offers creating and converting conceptual business model in to logical relational model and finally in to physical model (database). You can create or customize ER diagrams from existing databases using reverse engineering feature or generate scripts using its forward engineering. A user friendly drawing tool to create database diagrams that can be exported later as PDF or image files. You can sync your models on cloud for easy access using integrated navicat cloud feature.

Erwin Data Modeler

Company: Erwin Inc

License: Proprietary, Academic (Limited features for students and needs approval)

OS: Windows

PostgreSQL Version Supported: Certified to work with PostgreSQL v9.6.12, v10.7, v11.2

Last Release: erwin DM 2019 R1 (April, 2019)

Features:

Here comes another big player. Erwin is in market for quite some time, a tested and trusted product and offers a wide variety of database related tools. Erwin data modeler is an integrated data modeling tool offering conceptual, logical, physical and dimensional modeling with forward/reverse data engineering, model comparison and export features. It has a comprehensive model reporting and centralize model management and collaboration system.

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