A few days back I read the Workbench Team’s blog and was curious about the printing capabilities of MySQL Workbench Community edition. As we already know by now, it only allows you to print a single page. I needed to review a customer query which had several tables and some complicated relationships, so I decided to take Workbench Community for a spin (I already knew the Standard edition from my previous job) and tested the following steps:
- imported the database after doing a
mysqldump -d(Workbench Community can’t connect to the database to get the schema directly).
- had Workbench rearrange the diagram.
- followed the Workbench Team’s blog instructions to spread it among more pages, since it ended really cramped.
- created a PDF file, which was barely readable on paper.
Here’s where the heavy testing started. Besides the PDF file I also created an SVG and an EPS. All of these are scalable. My thinking was that if I imported these files into the right tools, I should be able to get a bigger printout.
SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. The only free (as in freedom and beer) utilities I could find for SVG were Firefox, which includes a SVG viewer within the browser, and an Adobe viewer which is going to be discontinued soon and runs only on Windows. Neither worked so well, and I had some weird issues displaying the graph. So I moved on to the next alternative.
EPS stands for Encapsulated Post Script. In this case there are more tools, including importing the graphic into a regular text document (Open Office in my case). Again, things didn’t work as expected so I moved to the PDF.
Looking around the PDF printer driver in Linux, I discovered that it has the option for “poster printing”. This means that you can print a big document across several pages and then paste them together. It worked like a charm — I was able to print the one page PDF across six pages, which in turn I printed to paper from a PDF reader. I don’t recommend doing the poster printing straight to the printer because it takes some time to create each page, and you may end up tying up the printer. In a networked environment, that can create some animosity.
The PDF printer driver I have for Windows does not have this feature.
MySQL Workbench Community is a very versatile tool, suitable for work in small and medium size projects with no problems. The solution I found — generating a PDF from Workbench, generating a bigger PDF, and then printing — won’t scale if you have hundreds of tables or many databases to look at. In that case, the Standard edition is a bargain.