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My Workbench wish-list
Posted by: max goldberg
Date: February 03, 2008 10:42PM

Hello, I've been using (or at least trying) Workbench 5.0.12 (both regular and SE) for the last month or so, and I have a large amount of feedback. Rather than clogging the bug system with possible bugs and feature requests, I figured I'd post here and give an idea of what I'd like to see change in Workbench in the future.

Let me preface by saying my main concern is the general usability of the program. As a developer I know that it can be hard to focus on the trivial base features, but it seems like the workbench team has spent the majority of their time on bells and whistles that only a very small subset of the target audience will use. Having a GUI to set up table partitioning is great, but it's useless when the rest of the program is either extremely hard or impossible to use. So in summary, PLEASE focus on the general usability and intuitiveness of Workbench, I think it's the area that is lacking attention the most. If you try out any number of other DB design programs, you can hit the ground running and design a fairly simple database without any confusion. This should be a goal.


Now on to my actual wish-list (apologies up front if parts of this exist in the bug manager). Due to this forum's complete lack of any sort of text formatting, this may end up looking sort of wonky.


Major features
-----------------------

* Schema versioning and automatic version incrementation.
-- The ability to say "This is version X of the schema" and then later go back to
-- previous versions of the schema.
--
-- An option to automatically increment the version number upon saving would be nice.

* Field recycling of some sort.
-- When you have a database that uses the same field in many tables, you end up
-- having to re-define that field each time. Other similar programs such as
-- MicroOLAP's database designer have "domains" where you can define a field
-- and all of its properties and then when you are designing a table you can
-- just select a dropdown and have that field inserted into your schema.

* Smart auto-layout
-- When working with large schemas with 60+ tables, (especially on a new import),
-- auto-layout ends up with a lot of overlapping tables and references, requiring
-- a great deal of effort from the user to move things around just to make the
-- schema readable. It would be incredibly nice to have a "deep" auto-layout that
-- will automatically enlarge the diagram size and then arrange all of the tables
-- as best it can so that there is no overlap.

--- NOTE: I'm assuming part of the reason the program slows down so much on large
--- schemas is due to the fact that there are lots of tables or references in the
--- same space that have to be redrawn.

Minor features
------------------------

* Auto-save

* Model "Object defaults"
+ Documentation, or at least a list of the various %variables% on the options page would be helpful.

+ Singular versions of table and column names, e.g. table "servers" would have a singular of "server"
e.g. servers.server_id, services.service_id, server_services.server_id, server_services.service_id is a popular naming style.
- you could go as far as "copies" -> "copy", but that may be more semantic work than it's worth.

* Ability to view connections/references in the "catalog".

* Ability/option to hide connection captions.

* Option to hide Indexes/Triggers dropdown if table does not have Indexes/Triggers (in default object notation)

* Collapse/Expand All: Tables/Views/Indexes/Triggers.

* Add a few default color options for labels

* Editing a table allows you to change foreign key cascading options, but editing a reference doesn't.

* Views show up as nothing more than their name, ideally you want to see the end result of the view, e.g. a list of the final columns of the view and under a separator, a list of the tables the view uses.


Bugs
------------------------

* Right click, "Edit in new window" on a table does not seem to work any differently than "Edit Table".

* In the OSS version, there seems to be no way to set the default storage engine for tables.

* Editing an advanced option in Tools->Options turns the option into a textbox, but when you hit enter after you've changed an option, it closes the entire window.

* Column definitions seem to go out of bounds of the table using the default font.
table1_id |
long_column_name VARCHAR(45)
|^ table is cut off here, part of the 4 shows off the edge.

* Object/relationship notation don't seem to get put into the undo history.

* Large databases (with over 50 tables) are basically unusable in model view.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/03/2008 10:43PM by max goldberg.

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