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Hendrik Weimer


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One of the few possible showstoppers of a GNU/Linux deployment in a corporate environment is the access to databases with a graphical frontend, usually with forms and reports for data input and extraction. Knoda is a program that provides all these nifty things, paired with a user-friendly interface.

Knoda is merely a frontend to the hk-classes library written by the same author. The library supports many free databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, and an ODBC driver provides support for more exotic backends. Knoda is a KDE application, but of course it will run without major problems even if you don't use KDE as your window manager.

When you start Knoda, you will find all the usual modes for editing tables, queries, forms and reports. Each mode comes in two variants, the design mode and the view mode. For example, the design mode for tables allows you to edit the database field properties while the view mode lets you modify the actual data.

Setting up queries is almost impossible for a person unfamiliar with SQL. For example, setting up a filter for certain fields (i.e. a WHERE clause) requires the user to stick to the exact SQL syntax.

Knoda's form designer

Knoda's form designer
(click to enlarge)

The form designer is the heart of Knoda. Designing forms is dead easy with the provided point-and-click interface. Each form element can be associated with a database field, a view or even a complex query. Every action such as changing the value of a field can trigger a Python script, which provides an extremely powerful extension to Knoda.

Having seen the form designer, the report designer is a small disappointment. Basic report generation functionality is supported, however even automatically adjusting the height of a multi-line field to the actual content is impossible. The documentation has a Python script for this task, unfortunately this will only work for monospace fonts. On the positive side, the report generator produces standard Postscript documents.

Knoda can be launched in a kiosk mode that allows the user only to access the view mode of a certain form. This is especially useful in environments where the person entering the data is different from the database administrator. However, it is important to note that Knoda stores its own data such as queries, forms and reports in the user's home directory, which makes centralized management a little bit difficult.

Altogether, Knoda scores a big point by providing an enterprise-ready graphical database frontend. The report generator is somewhat weak, but nothing will beat a DBI script that extracts the data and stores it in the appropriate format anyway.

License:GPL (libraries are LGPLed)
Distributions: [?]■ Debian stable■ Debian unstable
□ Fedora■ Mandriva
■ Suse■ Ubuntu


  • Easy form design
  • Python scripting
  • Difficult query mode
  • Few reporting features

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