Besides the native RDBMS utilities discussed in Appendix C, which are, by definition, specific to those databases, there are universal clients that, at least in theory, can connect to any RDBMS. There are numerous commercial tools, free tools, as well as open source tools that span both categories. The open source, free SQuirreL Universal SQL Client represents the best of both worlds.
In its current version, 3.2.0, it is a robust versatile application with many advanced features suited both for a casual SQL user and a heavy-duty SQL/RDBMS developer. The latest version features SQL syntax highlighting (with vendor-specific extensions recognition), code completion (“intellisense” in the Microsoft lingo), which provides a list of the contextual hints based upon the SQL code you're typing into the pane. The advanced features include the ability to browse database objects, create visual ERD diagrams representing relationships among the tables, localize environment in several languages (including French, German, and Spanish), and more. The full version of this Appendix, available for download at www.wrox.com, explains in detail how to install and configure the tool to connect to the RDBMSs covered in this book.