Andrew Channels Dexter Pinion

Wherein I write some stuff that you may like to read. Or not, its up to you really.

May 28, 2003

Data Modelling Tools

I'm in the market for a cheap (well alright, free) data modelling tool. I want one that allows me to draw pretty pictures and from the generate valid DDL that can be used to build a schema. It would be nice if if could reverse engineer existing schemas.

For added brownie points I should be able to specify a logical data model (entities, attributes and relations). For extra, extra brownie points it should allow me to link logical and physical data models.

My databases of choice are Oracle, DB2, SQL Server and MySQL. I don't mind if it doesn't support all of these out of the box, as long as I can amend the code generator for the particular quirks of each environment. Oh, and did I mention that it should be free?

I had a look at Google, but it wasn't much help.

I'd rather not write one myself, as that could take decades, but if you know of a project that is close to my needs then fire up the comments below.

Posted by Andy Todd at May 28, 2003 04:25 PM

Comments - not fully free :-)

ArgoUML - - it is an OSS UML tool. Might be able to write plugins that generate SQL DDL from it.

Of course, you can spend $5K and get the greatest tool out there - Oracle Designer :-)

Posted by: Babu on May 29, 2003 04:23 PM

Oh wait - there is It can generate DDL from Dia diagrams.

Posted by: Babu on May 29, 2003 04:24 PM

Thanks, I'll take a look.

I already have Oracle Designer, its just a little difficult to get it to churn out MySQL ddl though (for example).

Posted by: Andy Todd on May 29, 2003 04:30 PM - ArgoUML, generate PostgreSQL ddl and Python object-relational mapping code. May be you can just take the "generate SQL" part and use it?

Posted by: Babu on May 30, 2003 08:50 PM

Try the last standalone version of VisioModeller - free download from Microsoft's unsupported site.

ORM and ER support, can generate and rev. eng physical. Reasonable db suppoprt (no mysql from recollection)

Posted by: Chris on June 5, 2003 09:53 PM

Came across this from Have not tried it, but it is OSS, Java - so extending the code base is an option.

Posted by: Babu on June 6, 2003 12:09 AM

Also take a look at

Posted by: David Welden on June 6, 2003 09:13 PM

Try Enterprise Architect at - UML, but also contains abiity to create DDL. I use a highly configured Sybase database (e.g. code is a user-defined type for char(4)) and I was able to output the DDL I needed in EA.
Downloading the Sybase Dev Edition of ASE also gets you a great ER tool, physical architect, as well as the useful Infomaker.


Posted by: Dave Warner on June 6, 2003 10:10 PM

Have you seen "DeZign for Databases"?

Posted by: Tim Strehle on August 25, 2003 08:39 AM

Try Sanity from It is web based and free.

Posted by: Ravi on December 23, 2003 11:05 AM