The home screen of MySQL Workbench is the first thing you see when you start up the application and it’s therefor an important hub to quickly reach important parts or do repeating tasks like opening certain connections. This article describes the home screen in some detail with additional info and tips.
There are 3 areas with the connection area being the biggest one which you can also expand by resizing the application window. In the rare case you need a very small window or have many entries each area has a paging control to flip between different parts of a listing.
Shortcuts – a direct wire to your plugins, docs and support sites
The shortcuts section is what the starters used to be in pre-6.0 versions. The entries in this area are read from the file predefined_starters.xml. If there is a file user_starters.xml in the data folder (e.g. C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\MySQL\Workbench on Windows 7/8) then additionally these starters are taken into account. The actual order on screen is controlled by another simple xml file (starter_settings.xml). It is easy to find the data folder on each OS by using Workbench’s Help menu. There’s a menu entry named “Locate Log Files”. This will open your file browser at the log files location which happens to be a sub folder of the data directory.
Models – all recently loaded model files in one place
This area is first and foremost your MRU (most recently used) model file list. Each entry lists the date and time when the model was last opened along with some additional info. Just like for the shortcuts, a single click opens the model editor.
A number of little icons provide quick access to certain functions. From left to right:
- Add a new model
- Open an existing model from disk
- Open an action menu with additional commands (currently for reverse engineering)
Each document entry also has a little context menu for additional actions like showing the file in the file system. We have plans to expand this are to more file types like SQL files. No promises however what will be there at the end.
MySQL Connections – SQL and server administration in one hand
This is the part which takes you to your servers. We designed this as a tiled layout which allows us to display additional info for each connection. It is also possible to organize your connections in one level of folders (no folder nesting). There are two ways to move a connection to a folder (and create a folder if there’s none yet with a given name):
- Use the context menu: “Move to Group…”.
- Use the connection manager and prefix your connection name with a group name separated by a forward slash (e.g. “Localhost/Localhost 5.6”).
A group is defined by the connections it contains. If there’s no connection in a group anymore then the group also vanishes.
Each tile has a sensitive area that will show a detail popup for that connection when clicked. On OS X this is the typical little italic “i” letter in the lower right corner. Other platforms simply use 1/4 of the tile’s right space. Clicking any other part will open the connection.
As you can see there’s no server instance paradigm anymore. We originally introduced this to allow n:m assignments between connections and server instances. As it turned out this is mostly unneeded. People just want to define a connection and be able to also manage the connected server over this connection. So we listened and this is the result: a single connection with everything in it. If you need a second connection to the same server use the connection manager to duplicate a connection entry.
The connection details popup shows you most of the interesting details about the connection. The left hand side shows informations about the MySQL connection (i.e. server version, target server machine, connection channel like SSH tunnel, user, passsword etc.). The right hand side has details about the management connection (ssh, wmi or nothing if nothing is used or not yet configured). Usually, when using SSH, the connection credentials for the MySQL tunnel and the management connection are the same, but that’s not necessarily always the case. The “New Connection Wizard” has been extended to ease setup by taking over existing SSH credentials from a MySQL connection to the remote server setup. Additionally, the SQL IDE (which now combines server management and other tasks, but that’s for a later article) is now able to cope with partial setups or no valid connection at all. This way you can use it to edit SQL scripts without defining a connection at all.
The connection details popup contains a number of buttons to bring you directly to related functions. These are currently:
- Edit Connection… – opens the connection editor and selects this connection for direct editing.
- Configure Local/Remote Management… – (only shown if management is not yet set up) to start the management wizard which helps to define all the necessary details to enable server management
- Connect… – opens the connection
Similar to the Models area there are a number of buttons to quickly access additional functionality in the MySQL Connections area. The plus button starts the “New Connection Wizard” while the wrench button opens the connection manager.
That’s for the main entry point in MySQL Workbench. More articles will follow describing certain features of the application in greater detail. So stay tuned for what comes up next.