Friday, February 15, 2008

Reviews: Kexi Project - Open source data management

Kexi is a Free/Libre and Open-Source integrated data management application, a long awaited Open Source competitor for products like Microsoft Access. Kexi can be used for creating database schemas, inserting data, performing queries, and processing data. Forms can be created to provide a custom interface to your data. All database objects - tables, queries and forms - are stored in the relational database, making it easy to share data and design.

  • Full visual designers for tables, queries and forms. Queries can be also designed in dedicated SQL view.
  • Running queries, support for parametrized queries.
  • Data entry and sorting.
  • Support for "Object" data allowing to store images of many types.
  • Designing and displaying relational data using combo boxes (lookup columns).
  • Simple printounts for table and query data with robust print preview.
  • Advanced CSV data import and export from files. Copying to clipboard and pasting from clipboard is also available, thus the data can be easily transferred to applications like spreadsheets or word processors.
  • User Mode, allowing to switch off all commands related to editing project's design (since 1.1.2)
  • "Find" window for searching thought table and form's contents with rich set of options (since 1.1.3)
  • Support for simple database templates (since 1.1.3)
Supported Database Engines
  • SQLite - file based (version 2.8 and 3.2) - the default built-in databse format allowing to store al lthe data and design in a single file that can be easily e-mailed or published in the Internet; requires no maintenance and installation.
  • MySQL servers.
  • PostgreSQL servers.

Data/Project Migration Tools

  • MySQL, PostgreSQL migration assistant allowing to reuse existing databases.
  • Microsoft Access migration assistant for database tables, being a unique solution.
  • An assistant allowing to export Kexi file-based database to a MySQL or PostgreSQL server.

Scripting and Macros

  • Python and Ruby programming languages are supported (beta stage, JavaScript support is in development; scripting is not yet available on Windows)
  • Macros similar to these in MS Access (usable, currently in further development, not yet available on Windows)

Used Technologies

  • Kexi uses the KDE and KOffice features for better user's experience. You can run it on most other destops (e.g. GNOME or XFCE) as well - Kexi will just use KDE's facilities in the background.
  • While the application is available on many operating systems, it does not contain Java or .NET code (only C++) and it is optimized for speed and ease of use.


  • APIs for developing custom widgets, data providers and data importing/exporting. C++ language can be used as well as Python and Ruby scripting.