LearnPublished February 20, 2024

Build a custom SQL GUI With No Code

Make your SQL databases into accessible mobile apps to power your essential business data

Andy Claremont

Andy Claremont

Community & Ecosystem

Build a custom SQL GUI With No Code

No one wants to be a middleman. Developers certainly don’t have time for that. Make a business app that lets the non-technical folks on your team access SQL data so you can avoid the bottleneck role entirely. 

Making an SQL GUI for your team helps you give users the right amount of access to manage the right amount of information without putting the burden on database administrators to complete these tasks. If you give them an app, you stop being the middleman. They can do their work, and you can get back to yours.

Structured query language (SQL) is the 4th most widely used programming language among developers, and it was the technology of choice in the financial services, healthcare, hospitality, nonprofit, and marketing and advertising industries in 2023. However, despite its popularity with developers and widespread use, most employees won’t be able to learn or use SQL. Those team members still need to be able to access SQL data.

Creating a graphical user interface (GUI) for your SQL database is the best way to help both developers and non-developers use your business data more effectively. 

What is an SQL GUI

A graphical user interface (GUI) is software that provides an intuitive user interface for your relational database instead of requiring knowing SQL syntax. You can use it just like you would any other app on your phone. Users don’t need to input any sort of SQL queries, SQL statements, or SQL commands directly into a command-line interface.

With an SQL GUI, users interact with your data using searches, forms, menus, tables, rows, and fields that are familiar and intuitive. They can use it to query data, create and modify database structures, and manage database objects, getting their work done without having to call in a developer to help.

Which is the best GUI for your SQL databases

If you need a front end for specific SQL data, you have a lot of different options. Some are easier to use than others, and they are designed for different audiences - either developers or non-developers working with data.

If you have only technical database administrators who just need a better interface for your data, an off-the-shelf GUI might be a great fit. However, if you need a more collaborative tool that allows anyone at your company to work with your SQL data, you should consider a no code SQL GUI.

If you need a technical database management tool, get off-the-shelf software

A database management tool can help with SQL development, but their complexity makes them non-ideal for non-technical users. You’ll have the overhead of training and supporting those users, plus the risk of something going wrong when they’re performing tasks they don’t fully understand.

There are lots of options for off-the-shelf front-end software, SQL database management tools, and IDEs. There are dedicated GUI tools, like Oracle’s MySQL Workbench, which is designed specifically for use with a MySQL database. There are also clients like HeidiSQL, Beekeeper Studio, and DataGrip or open-source tools like DBeaver and MariaDB. 

They can help you with editing functionality like autocomplete or debugging to help them work faster. They’re often made for a specific operating system, so you may need to choose a different tool depending on whether you’re using Windows or Linux, and they typically don’t offer mobile functionality.

To make your databases available to your entire team, make a no code SQL app

If you're going to use your SQL data to drive more business workflows, you need more of your team to be able to work with your data. With no code, you can quickly build a mobile app that lets anyone on your team use your data in their work and can be accessed from any device.

The best SQL GUI is one you build yourself to your exact specifications. With Glide, you can build your own software without having to code it. Unlike custom coding an app, you don’t need to use HTML, JavaScript, complicated plugins, or budget for expensive developer pricing. Instead, you have an intuitive drag-and-drop GUI where you can assemble components into a fully functional web-based application. 

Creating your own no code SQL app has the following benefits:

  • Perform tasks faster - It’s simpler and easier to query data with an app. You can create a database GUI to help you search and filter tables and views and quickly understand or interact with your data using a more intuitive application interface. 

  • Let non-technical users access SQL data - With no code, you can build a user-friendly interface that team members who don’t know SQL code can still see and edit data and use it for work without having to go through your engineering team.

  • Reduce developer bottlenecks - Build an app once and let non-developers customize that app and access SQL data without ever having to go through admins again.

  • Gate and protect data - An app gives you a layer of protection between your data and the person using it. You don’t want lots of people accessing your databases and potentially editing or deleting important information. With an app, you can control what gets done with your data. You could set specific data to read-only or give only certain users permission to edit specific columns.

  • Connect multiple databases - With an app, you can connect data from more than one data source in one place or sync data across multiple sources. You can use multiple different SQL databases or even connect data sources like Google Sheets or Excel. 

  • Use on any device - SQL isn’t especially mobile-friendly, but apps are. Your team can access your app from whatever device they’re using. Glide uses adaptive design to create an app that’s accessible on mobile, desktop, or tablet without the need for extra design work.

What you can create with a no code SQL GUI

No code platforms like Glide make it possible for you to create a custom front-end or basic CRUD app for your SQL databases quickly and easily. Create an app wherever people need to use SQL data to optimize your business’s workflows.

  • Admin portal or admin dashboard - Create an easy interface for administrators who need to see, submit, or analyze data of any kind. Visualize data for a range of uses by creating an easy-to-understand dashboard on top of your SQL data or a portal where individuals can see and submit data. With this app, users can create charts, summarize information, and create reports.

  • SQL admin panel - you can create a basic CRUD app as a simple SQL editor. Visualize, manage, and manipulate your data, inspect your schema, and run queries through an easy-to-use app instead of a command line interface (CLI). 

  • Customer support - Provide support teams with easy access to thorough documentation, product information, and customer data to help them serve customers better.

  • CRM - Manage customer data and relationships. Integrate with other tools to send emails, SMS, or push notifications to clients or customers.

  • Inventory Management - Build a product database for sales teams, field teams, product managers, or logistics folks to use.

How to build a no code SQL GUI in Glide

Glide gives you an intuitive drag-and-drop platform that helps you build business apps without having to write any code.  

You create a database GUI in the form of an easy-to-use interface for a spreadsheet or an SQL database. Glide apps look and feel like native apps, but they are actually progressive web apps. This has the benefit of not requiring users to download or install anything, and it makes them automatically mobile-adaptive and accessible from any device.

To get started, you can use a template for a specific use case or follow detailed tutorials on building your interface, connecting data, and refining your app.

Sign up for a free trial to begin building for free and get a fully functional app in under an hour.

Prepare your data

First, connect your database to your Glide app. You can integrate with tools like Neon or use any of the data sources available on the Business Plans and above, including:

Your table can connect to the Glide Data Editor with live two-way sync so that when you add or modify values in your app, those changes will be automatically pushed to your database. Alternatively, you can pull a read-only version with a custom query.

You can connect multiple data sources to the same app using computed columns to build relations between your data sources. Use this feature to build an app that uses relations between a PostgreSQL data source and connected spreadsheets from other sources. 

You might have production data from another app or service that lives in an SQL database, then complement that data with references from Excel workbooks or Google Sheets. For example, you could cross-reference transaction histories in a PostgreSQL database against product SKUs and data in an Excel workbook.

With computed columns, you can run local calculations and operations and combine them with the power of AI features, API calls, and 3rd party integrations. This extends your data without affecting your original data source.

Customize the layout of your interface

Assemble an interface for your app in Glide using beautiful, pre-built components. Add components to display values from your data or let users interact with that data. The Layout Editor also allows you to toggle between mobile and computer browser displays so you can see how the look and function of your app will change between devices. 

Your components will pull values from your data while the app user can input new data using forms and buttons. Collections in Glide automatically pull records (rows) from an SQL database, and each detail screen in a collection can pull information from the corresponding row. 

Use actions to add interactivity and functionality

Assign triggers for actions to your components to add functionality to your app. An action could update your data in your database or show a notification to the user. Reusable action sequences with conditional logic can chain multiple actions together in a custom workflow that branches. With actions, users can manipulate data before storing it to your database.

Add integrations and additional features like Glide AI to make your app more powerful. AI actions can

convert unstructured data into structured data automatically with Text to Date, Number, Boolean, or Choice functions. In your app, these features can be used to automatically generate emails, summarize notes, or create product descriptions directly from your data.

Publish and share your app

Lastly, add your branding, adjust appearance, set privacy settings, and put the final details on your app. Then hit publish. Your app will be hosted with Glide, and you can choose a default subdomain or provide a custom domain. You can share your app using links, email, or a QR code.

Create any SQL interface you need with Glide

With Glide, you have the power to create custom dashboards and interfaces for anything your business is doing with SQL data. You can do all the development in-house with minimal effort and no DevOps overhead. Making these apps available to your team means they can work independently with your data, and you can focus on the other projects that require your attention and expertise.

If you’re interested in seeing the process of building an app from beginning to end, check out Glide Next SQL Build with Andy Claremont, Glide's Head of Community, and special guest Yasin Hassanien from Voktech. Skip to 06:07 to get right into the build. 

Begin building your SQL Interface for free

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