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Matthäus Kiem


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


Version 1.053



    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 called without arguments, the user can choose from the databases offered by the database plugin. The database is chosen automatically if it is available only one database. With the SQLite driver is 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 of SQLite databases instead of using the cached data.


Search and read in SQL databases. With the db-browser 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.

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.

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.

Legacy encodings

Non mappable characters will break the output.


The best way to find out how db-browser works is calling db-browser.

To be able to use all the features of the db-browser some basic SQL knowledge is required.

Keys to move around

  • 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; 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. Ctrl-SpaceBar (or Ctrl-@) inverts the made choices - marked items are unmarked and unmarked items are marked.

To move backwards in the menu hierarchy one can press the q key. When prompted for a string, try Ctrl-D instead of q.

SQL menu

The SQL menu is the menu which opens after a table was selected.

If AGGREGATE or GROUP BY is set, the SELECT statement is automatically formed; a previous user defined SELECT statement is reset. A user defined SELECT resets a previous set AGGREGATE or GROUP BY statement.

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

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

Delete, Update and Insert

To get to the Delete/Update/Insert menu, navigate to the SQL menu and then select two times the prompt.

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

Create table, Drop table

To reach the Create table/Drop table menu, select the prompt in the menu where the tables are selected.

To create a table without inserting anything, enter as the first and only row the column names and then choose "Use the first row as column names".

Scalar functions

The scalar functions can be reached in the main SQL menu and also in the DELETE and UPDATE SQL sub-menus by selecting the prompt.

The available 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 TO clauses with numbers, take the non-truncated (original) value for the comparison if sqlite_see_if_its_a_number is enabled (default).

Also to get a numeric comparison 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.

To remove a chosen scalar function from a column select the column with the function a second time.



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

DB Settings are used as default database settings.

There is also in each database sub-menu the menu entry "Database settings". If these database specific parameter are not set, the global (to the database plugin) DB Settings are use instead.

It depends on the database plugin which items are offered to set in each option and whether the selections made by the user a considered.


Set which fields are required to connect to a database.

ENV Variables

Which environment variables should be used.

Login Data

The entered data for a field is saved with the field in a configuration file. If the configuration file contains a field with a defined value, the value is used for that field to connect instead to ask the user for the value.

DB Options

For the meaning of the different attributes (apart binary_filter) see the documentation of the DBI database driver.

The last entry of this sub-menu is binary_filter. Setting it 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.

SQLite directories

This is a SQLite-only option.

Sets the directories where db-browser searches for SQLite databases. Defaults to the home directory.

To move around in the directory tree select a directory and press Return to enter in the selected directory or choose " .. " to move upwards. To add the current working-directory to the list of chosen directories use the " . " menu entry. To confirm the made choices select " = ". The ( " < " ) menu entry resets the list of chosen directories if any. If the list of chosen directories is empty, " < " goes back without changing anything.

This setting can not be overwritten in a single database.

Reset DB

Reset database specific parameter to the global DB Settings.

Set the behavior of the interactive menus:

- setting Config Menus to "Memory" means: save the selected configuration menu position while entering in a config sub menu.

- setting SQL Menu to "Memory" means: save the selected SQL menu position while entering in a SQL sub menu.

- setting DB Menus to "Memory" means: save the selected menu position in the database/schema/table menus while entering in a sub menu.


Expand Rows:

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

- "NO": 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 "PrintTable".

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


Enable parentheses in WHERE and/or HAVING TO clauses.


Max Rows

Set the maximum number of fetched table rows. This can be overwritten by setting a SQL LIMIT statement.

The fetched table rows are kept in memory.

To disable the automatic limit set Max Rows to 0.


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 setting Undef, user, host or port with the db-browser. Edit the configuration files directly if multi-byte encoded characters are required for these settings on a machine with 'MSWin32' OS.


These Insert settings can also be set in the INSERT INTO sub-menu by selecting the prompt.

Input Modes

For INSERTing data into a table - choose the available input modes:

  • Cols

    It is prompted for each column.

  • Rows

    Enter a row at a time.

    To parse the rows it is used Text::CSV.

  • Multi row

    Enter many rows. Reads until the end of input. It is OS-depend how to indicate the end of input.

  • File

    Read the input from am file.

    Supported file formats: csv-files and the spreadsheet formats supported by Spreadsheet::Read.

Default file directory

Searching for input files: set the default directory.

File History

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

File encoding

How to decode csv files.

Parse mode

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

    Use Text::CSV to parse text files and the "multi row" input. To decode the files it is used the File encoding.


    • Maybe the fastest with the smallest memory footprint.

    • 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

Conf T::CSV

Set different Text::CSV options.

Conf 'split'

  • IRS

    Set the input record separator (regexp).

  • IFS

    Set the input field separator (regexp).

Create table

  • Default ID col name

    If "Add auto increment primary key" is used, this sets the default name of the added column.

  • Default data type

    The default data type of the columns.


The syntax of the configuration file names is "conf_${db_plugin_name}.json". To find out the location of the configuration files call db-browser -h and choose Path.

The data is saved in JSON format.

The global database settings are placed in the member called "*$db_plugin". Database specific settings have its own member named like the database itself. With the SQLite driver "database name" means the absolute path to the database file.

Sub-members (keys):

    SQLite:                                    mysql:                             Pg:
        sqlite_unicode              (0,1)           user                              user
        sqlite_see_if_its_a_number  (0,1)           host                              host
        binary_filter               (0,1)           port                              port
        directories_sqlite¹                         mysql_enable_utf8  (0,1)          pg_enable_utf8  (0,1,-1)
                                                    binary_filter      (0,1)          binary_filter   (0,1)

¹ only with the SQLite driver: expects an array-reference as its value. db-browser searches for SQLite databases in the directories passed with this array-reference.


    conf_SQLite.json:                                           conf_mysql.json:

    {                                                           {
        "*SQLite" : {                                               "*mysql" : {
            "binary_filter" : 0,                                        "binary_filter" : 0,
            "directories_sqlite" : [                                    "host" : "localhost",
                "/home/my/Documents",                                   "mysql_enable_utf8" : 1,
                "/home/my/databases"                                    "port" : null,
            ],                                                          "user" : "name"
            "sqlite_see_if_its_a_number" : 1,                       },
            "sqlite_unicode" : 1                                    "database1" : {
        },                                                              "mysql_enable_utf8" : 0,
        "/home/my/databases/db1.sqlite" : {                             "host" : "my_host",
            "binary_filter" : 1,                                        "user" : "user_5"
            "sqlite_unicode" : 0                                    },
        }                                                           "database2" : {
    }                                                                   "binary_filter" : 1


See "REQUIREMENTS" in Term::TablePrint.

Perl version

Requires Perl version 5.8.3 or greater.

Decoded strings

db-browser expects decoded strings.


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

Also 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.

The terminal should have a width of at least 40 print columns.


DBI, DBD::SQLite, DBD::mysql, DBD::Pg.


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


Matthäus Kiem <cuer2s@gmail.com>


Copyright 2012-2017 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.