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Matthäus Kiem


db-browser - Browse SQLite/MySQL/PostgreSQL databases and their tables interactively.


Version 2.014



    db-browser -h|--help


    db-browser [database-name, ...]

When the db-browser is called with the argument -h|--help, it shows a menu. The menu entry HELP shows this documentation - see "OPTIONS".

If db-browser is called without arguments, the user can choose from the databases offered by the database plugin. The database is chosen automatically if only one database is available. With the SQLite driver in use, the option Search directories tells the database plugin where to search for SQLite databases (defaults to the home directory).

If db-browser is called with arguments, the arguments are used as the available databases.


    db-browser [-s|--search]

db-browser called with -s|--search causes a new search for SQLite databases instead of using the cached data.


Before using db-browser, make sure you backed up your databases.

Search and read in SQL databases: one can browse databases and their tables interactively.

The database plugins bundled with App::DBBrowser provide support for the DBI drivers DBD::SQLite, DBD::mysql and DBD::Pg. See App::DBBrowser::DB how to write a database plugin.

Before the output leading and trailing spaces are removed from the elements and spaces are squashed to a single white-space.

The elements in a column are right-justified if one or more elements of that column do not look like a number, else they are left-justified.

See Term::TablePrint for more details.


  • the Arrow keys (or h,j,k,l) to move up and down and to move to the right and to the left.

  • the PageUp key (or Ctrl-B) to go back one page, the PageDown key (or Ctrl-F) to go forward one page.

  • the Home key (or Ctrl-A) to jump to the beginning of the menu, the End key (or Ctrl-E) to jump to the end of the menu.

With the option mouse enabled it can be used the mouse with the left mouse key to navigate through the menus.

To confirm a chosen menu item use the Return key.

In some sub-menus it is possible to select more then one item before Return is pressed (for example Choose Rows and Choose Columns from the input filter - see "Insert Into"); in such sub-menus the list of items marked with the SpaceBar key including the highlighted item are added to the chosen items when Return is pressed. If a mouse mode is enabled, it can be used the right mouse key instead of the SpaceBar. A Ctrl-SpaceBar inverts the made choices - so for example with no items chosen Ctrl-SpaceBar chooses everything.

To leave a "readline" without entering anything enter the eof control character (Ctrl-D for *nix). Pressing only the Enter key means entering an empty string.


Plugin Menu

Choosing a plugin leads to the Database Menu.

If there is only one plugin, the menu is not shown but the plugin is chosen automatically.

Database Menu

Choosing a database leads to the Schema Menu.

If there is only one database, the menu is not shown but the database is chosen automatically.

Schema Menu

Choosing a schema leads to the Table Menu.

If there is not more than one schema, this menu is not shown but the schema is chosen automatically.

Table Menu

The menu entries of the table menu:

Prompt Line

Selecting the prompt line (the database name) opens a menu with this entries:

Create Table

Selecting CREATE Table opens a sub-menu with this entries:


Create a table.

Copy and Paste

Reads from STDIN until the end of input. Then it creates a table and inserts the records of fields parsed from the input data. In Settings one can configure to how the data is parsed.

SQLite only: when ask for the column names the first entry is the ai column if the option "Auto incr col name" is set. If ai is set, an auto-increment column is added automatically. One can disable this per table by removing the value from the ai slot.

See also "Insert Into".

From File

Like Copy and Paste with the difference that the data is read from a chosen file.


Selecting Settings allows one to set the options described in option group "Create and Insert" for the current database.

Drop table

Drop a table. The whole table is shown (if not empty) before the user confirms to drop the table.

Attache DB

Attache DB is available only for SQLite databases. Attach DB can be used to attach databases to the current database.

Detach DB

This entry is available if a SQLite database has attached databases.

SQ File

This menu entry is available if at least one of the sub-queries options is enabled.

Selecting this entry allow one to edit the file with the saved statements. It is possible to add, remove and edit statements. Adding a statement can be done by entering a string via readline or by choosing a statement from the list of the temporary saved statements. (The last 20 statements from a printed table are saved in memory until the current database goes out of scope).


Choosing a table leads to the SQL Menu.


Choosing this entry allows one to enter a sub-query instead of table name.

This entry is available only if "Subqueries as table" is enabled.


Join tables.


Combine the result from multiple SELECT statements.


See "DB Settings".

SQL Menu

In this menu it can be formed the SQL query.

The SQL Menu has the following menu entries:

Prompt Line

Selecting this prompt line (Customize:) opens a menu with these entries:

(DELETE, UPDATE or INSERT INTO are not available with JOIN and UNION statements (except INSERT with mysql and JOIN))

Insert Into

Three different ways to insert data into a table are available:


Insert data column by column.

Copy and Paste

Multi line input: reads until the end of input. It is OS-depend how to indicate the end of input.

From File

Read the input from am file. Supported file formats: text files and file formats supported by Spreadsheet::Read.

Setting the insert mode to From File or to Copy and Paste enables different filters: so it is possible to insert only selected columns or selected rows.

SQLite: If the first column of a table is an auto-increment column, an INSERT INTO statement is build without this first column.


Update records.

If the option "Subqueries as SET value" is enabled, one can use the result of a sub-queries as the value of SET.


Delete records.

The Sub Statements

Use Print TABLE to get the output from the formed statement.

To reset a SQL "sub-statement" (e.g WHERE) re-enter into the respective menu and choose -OK-.


If the option Subqueries in SELECT is enabled, it is possible to use a sub-query instead a column by selecting (Q.


Chosen aggregate functions are added automatically to the SELECT columns.


If the option Subqueries in WHERE/HAVING is enabled, one can use sub-queries on the left side of an operator by selecting (Q and on the right side of an operator by selecting =(Q.


Chosen GROUP BY columns are added automatically to the SELECT columns.


If the option Subqueries in WHERE/HAVING is enabled, one can use sub-queries on the right side of an operator by selecting =(Q.



Opens the scalar functions menu.

To reset a modified a column select the column with the function a second time.

The available scalar functions are:




With SQLite the function TRUNCATE is a user-defined function which returns stringified values.

    return sprintf "%.*f", $places, int( $number * 10 ** $places ) / 10 ** $places;

When comparing in WHERE or HAVING clauses with numbers, take the non-truncated (original) value for the comparison.

Also to get a numeric sort in an ORDER BY clause use the non-truncated (original) values for the ordering.


With SQLite the function Bit_Length is a user-defined function which uses the Perl builtin length. To make length return the number of bytes the bytes pragma is used.


With SQLite the function Char_Length is a user-defined function which uses the Perl builtin length to get the number of characters.


Changing the lock mode (Lk0,Lk1) resets the entire SQL.


The options menu is called with db-browser -h.


Show this Info.


Shows the version and the path of the running db-browser and the path of the application directory.


DB Plugins

Choose the required database plugins.

DB Settings

These driver specific DB Settings are used as the default database settings.

There is also in each "Tables Menu" the entry Settings to make database specific settings. If no database specific settings are set, these global (to the database plugin) DB Settings are used.

User defined database plugins: it depends on the plugin which items are offered to set in each option and whether the selections made by the user are considered.


Set which fields are required to connect to a database.

ENV Variables

The user can choose environment variables form a list of environment variables that should be used - if set - to connect to the database.

Login Data

The entered login data is saved in a configuration file and used to connect to the database (the password can not be saved).


For the meaning of these driver specific attributes check the appropriate driver documentation.

Reset DB

Reset database specific parameter to the global DB Settings.

Set the behavior of the interactive menus.

If enabled: saves the menu position while entering in a sub menu.


Expand Rows:


if Return is pressed, the selected table row is printed with each column in its own line.


don't expand table rows.

YES fast back

do not expand the first row if the cursor auto-jumped to the first row.

Mouse Mode

Set the Mouse Mode (see "mouse" in Term::Choose).



If Metadata is enabled, system tables/schemas/databases are appended to the respective list.


Choose the required operators.

There are two regexp entries: REGEXP matches case sensitive while REGEXP_i matches case insensitive.

With MySQL the sensitive match is achieved by enabling the BINARY operator.


Set the default lock value:

- Lk0: Reset the SQL-statement after each time a table is printed.

- Lk1: Reset the SQL-statement only when a table is selected.

Auto Limit

Sets LIMIT automatically to Auto Limit. This can be overwritten by setting a SQL LIMIT statement manually. Fetched table rows are kept in memory.

To disable the automatic limit set Auto Limit to 0.


If at least one of the following sub-query options is enabled, the last 20 Print TABLE-statements are saved temporary.

Available sub-queries: the statements saved in the "SQ File" and the temporarily saved statements.

Subqueries in SELECT

Choose (Q to add a query as a SELECT column.

Subqueries in WHERE/HAVING

Choose (Q to use a query instead of a column in a WHERE clause.

Choose =(Q to use a query as a value in a WHERE or HAVING clause.

Subqueries as SET value

Choose =(Q to use a query as a SET value in an UPDATE.

Subqueries as table

Choose SQ in the Tables Menu to use a query instead of a table.

Alias for complex columns

If enable, it is asked for an alias for columns with a function, for sub-queries, for joined tables and for unions. If entered nothing, no alias is added except for joined tables and unions which get a default alias.


Enable parentheses in WHERE and/or HAVING clauses.


- Qualified table names: if set to YES qualified table names are used in SQL statements.

- Quote identifiers: if set to YES SQL identifiers are quoted.


- databases in SQL statements (ATTACH DATABASE) are always quoted.

- if the current database has attached databases, the use of qualified table names is enabled automatically.

Write access

Enable write access - use with care.

Insert records
Update records
Delete records
Create table
Drop table



Columns with a width below or equal Colwidth are only trimmed if it is still required to lower the row width despite all columns wider than Colwidth have been trimmed to Colwidth.


Set the progress bar threshold. If the number of fields (rows x columns) is higher than the threshold, a progress bar is shown while preparing the data for the output.


Set the number of spaces between columns.


Separate the columns from each other and the header from the body with lines.

Keep Header

Show the table header on top of each page.


Set the string that will be shown on the screen instead of an undefined field.

On MSWin32 only single-byte character sets are supported when entering the setting Undef, user, host or port with the db-browsers readline. But it is possible to edit the entry in configuration files directly after the entry was created with this options menu.

Binary binary

Setting the binary_filter to 1 means: print "BNRY" instead of arbitrary binary data. If data matches the repexp /[\x00-\x08\x0B-\x0C\x0E-\x1F]/, it is considered arbitrary binary data. Printing arbitrary binary data could break the output.

Create and Insert

Parse Tool

Set how to parse text files or the "multi row" input. Files where -T $filename returns true are considered text files.

If a file is not a text file, then it is always used Spreadsheet::Read to parse the file regardless of this setting.

  • Text::CSV

    To decode the files it is used the File encoding.


    • Allows to set different csv-related options.

  • split

    Reads to whole input at once and splits the input with the input record separator (IRS) to get the records (rows). Then it splits the records with the input field separator (IFS) to get the fields (columns) of each record.

    To decode the files it is used the File encoding.


    • The values assigned to the IRS and the IFS are treated as regexps.

  • Spreadsheet::Read

    If Spreadsheet::Read is chosen, the default settings from Spreadsheet::Read are used.

    Spreadsheet::Read will use the first line of the file to auto-detect the separation character if the file is a csv-file.


    • Auto-detects the separation character for csv-files

Text::CSV config

Set different Text::CSV options.

'split' config

  • Record separator

    Set the input record separator (regexp).

  • Field separator

    Set the input field separator (regexp).

  • Trim leading

    Expects a regex pattern. If set removes leading characters matching regexp from each field.

  • Trim trailing

    Expects a regex pattern. If set removes trailing characters matching regexp from each field.

File encoding

How to decode text files.

File History

Set how many input file names should be saved. A value of 0 disables the file history.

Default data type

The default data type of the columns.

Auto incr col name

SQLite only:

Set the auto-increment column name. If this option is set, a auto-increment column is added automatically to created tables.


To find out the location of the configuration files call db-browser -h and choose Path. The data is saved in JSON format.


See "REQUIREMENTS" in Term::TablePrint.

Perl version

Requires Perl version 5.8.3 or greater.

Decoded strings

db-browser expects decoded strings.

Non mappable characters will break the output.


It is required a terminal that uses a monospaced font which supports the printed characters.

The terminal has to understand ANSI escape sequences. If the OS is MSWin32 App::DBBrowser uses Win32::Console::ANSI which emulates an ANSI console for the db-browser.


To be able to browse the database-, schema- and table-lists and the content of tables the user must have the database privileges required for fetching the requested data.

The db-browser expects an existing home directory with read and write permissions for the user of the db-browser.


Thanks to the Perl-Community.de and the people form stackoverflow for the help.


Matthäus Kiem <cuer2s@gmail.com>


Copyright 2012-2018 Matthäus Kiem.


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl 5.10.0. For details, see the full text of the licenses in the file LICENSE.