I am a very visual person. I like to see animations in a UI. I even have blogged about liking the new UI from Microsoft's latest Windows installment, why because everything is there and it's visually easy.
So that leads me on to my methodology to database design. I have mentioned before that I like to use PGSQL. Recently I have had some work to do that required MySQL. However, the database design was done already and I was touching up the code for someone else. So I needed to see the database design in a visual way. I tried to make diagrams, but when we are talking about hundreds of database tables, views and other goodies, I was just wasting time, or at least it felt like it.
So I looked online for Database designers for MySQL. I found an excellent helping from a company called Micro Olap. They have a couple of products for various database types. The ones of interest to me were the Postgres and the MySQL database designers. Including (and this was very important for me) a trial of their software.
So I downloaded the MySQL trial and within 5 minutes I had a working diagram of the hundreds of tables. How? The software included a reverse engineer feature that worked on the database that I was using. It had a lot of options but I quickly found what I wanted and ignored the rest so the best thing to do would be to have a look for yourself.
Then when it appeared you have a huge area that you can move about and see the data tables and views in relation to one another. It is similar to the database designer that you get with Visual Studio but for more useful database engines.
After a small amount of time I felt proficient enough with the software to say that I enjoyed using it. Whilst it may not be the sort of thing that you are after, especially if you prefer to see your data in a less visual way (there are people still like that out there!) but for me it answered my problem for me and I didn't have to write out all the tables by hand (which was a bonus because years of computer use have left my writing hand as out of shape as retired dosser!)
The pricing is as follows (for the products that I was interested in ):
MicroOLAP Database Designer for MySQL (Personal/Educational license)
MicroOLAP Database Designer for PostgreSQL (Personal/Educational license)