I want to build a database for my no-profit association, and i was planning to do it by myself. But then i realize that really i don't have the time to buid a solid, secure system.

So i was thinking, maybe like cms do exist, maybe there are also database management systems. I mean a layer of abstraction over the database that allow you manage data, manage access to data, create widgets with and expand the data. Maybe with a frontend to use this data and a backend to manage it. that is a cms but not based on pages and post but on data!

Moreover, i would like some standard solution, because my IT management position ends this year, so i need something that will be easy to use and expand even by someone that is not a developer.

So do exist something that fit my need?

PS: i would really like some modern and visually pleasant solution, javascritp and ajax heavy and that relies the fewest is possible on server and reloading of the pages.

3 Answers 3


Is there any reason not to just use a decent CMS you're familiar with for this? You say you're looking for a db manager, but then start tacking on stuff like output widgets and access privs. Unless you plan on doing a lot of custom development, you're starting to just describe a CMS. A templating system would also provide you with all of that and more. If you're not going to build a public-facing "site" then just blank out any templating or put it someplace private. It's a misconception that content systems must build sites; it's just a (very) common use case. If you look at Drupal's admin screens, it's really just a prettified and convenient database schema manager; technically, you can turn off pretty much everything involved in building a web site.

phpMyAdmin, as already suggested, would work as far as raw db management, but it's not exactly nice to look at and doesn't get you anything like widget creation, which would mean either looking for another app to do that or custom-coding them altogether.

As an alternative, with many application frameworks like Django, as part of creating your app you specify your data scheme in some config files. This then generates your db structure, but also automatically creates some basic administration screens/forms for you, and the overall framework will also provide you with the tools for permissions, widgets and whatnot. (FYI That link is to an outdated version of the Django book, but it has more screenshots than the current one.)


If you're using MySQL, phpMyAdmin is the best web based GUI for managing it.


If it needs to be web based then John's answer of phpMyAdmin would get my vote. But I also like tools like MySQL Workbench and Navicat which are offline but can connect in.

All of these solutions are well documented and well supported so people taking over the role shouldn't have too many issues picking it up or getting help if you weren't about.

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