Original article can be found here. It's a very good read!

Connection to MySQL databases

Local connection

Here are two examples which will connect mycli to a database employees hosted on localhost with the user root using the port 3306:

  • mycli -h localhost -u root -D employees -P 3306

  • mycli mysql://root@localhost:3306/employees

You can even execute queries while staying in your comfy shell by typing:

mycli -e "SELECT * FROM employees LIMIT 10" mysql://root@localhost:3306/employees

As you can see, the output format is not the prettiest. You can add the option -t to display a table.

Commands to Connect Quickly to MySQL Databases

Instead of typing each time the connection credentials to connect to a database, you can create DSN aliases.

To do so, you need to modify your config file .mycli under the section [alias_dsn].

For example:

employees = mysql://root@localhost:3306/employees 

Then you just need to type mycli -d employees to connect to your employees database.

The command mycli --list-dsn will display the list of DSN aliases you configured.

Connecting to Remote Database via SSH

It’s really easy to connect on a remote database via SSH using openssl.

First, you need to open a tunnel to your remote server: ssh -Nf <user>@<host> -L 3310:localhost:3306

Then you can connect to your database simply by using: mycli -h localhost -u <database> -P 3310

Here’s a concrete example:

  1. ssh -Nf cooluser@ -L 3310:localhost:3306

  2. mycli -h localhost -u cooluser -D employees -P 3310

  3. Enter the password for the user cooluser

  4. You’re connected to the database employees!

Obviously the user cooluser in our example needs to have permissions on the database employees.

Basic Usages and Commands

Congratulation! You should now be connected to your database with mycli! As you can see the prompt will display the username, the host and the database you are in.

You can of course execute queries from there. Try it out and see by yourself the amazing auto completion mycli offers by typing something like: SELECT * FROM employees WHERE id = 1

Normal SQL stuff. Notice that you don’t need to end your query with the annoying semicolon.

You can as well execute some special commands, all beginning with \.

Listing and Using Databases

  • \l - List your databases.

  • \u - Use a different database.

Displaying the List of Tables

  • \dt - List tables in the current database.

  • \dt+ - Show the created statement used to create the table. Useful to display the structure of the table.

Output Formatting

One of the most useful functionality of mycli is the ability to output data in different format:

  • <sql_query> \G - Display the query result vertically instead of horizontally. I find it very useful: scrolling horizontally is always a bit of a pain.

  • \T <format> - Change the output with the format of your choice. Type \T to list all the format available. The default format used is psql.

You can as well modify the default output of every result from horizontal to vertical only when the results is wider than your shell. You just need to modify the following line in mycli config file:

auto_vertical_output = True

I would advice to give it a try!

Remember that you can execute queries without using mycli prompt? You can format the output in csv as well:

mycli --csv -e "SELECT * FROM employees LIMIT 10" 

This can be handy if you only want to output quickly some data.

Query Snippets: your Favorite Queries

mycli has a system of favorite queries, basically snippets you can use with placeholders.

Here are the commands associated with these favorite queries:

  • \f - List all favorite queries

  • \f <name> - Invoke a specific favorite query

  • \fs <name> <query> - Save a favorite query

  • \fd <name> - Delete a favorite query

When you create a favorite query, mycli will write it in your mycli config file, under the section [favorite_queries].

Here are the ones I have in mine:

# $1 table name
# $2 index name
ikey = '''ALTER TABLE `$1`
ADD INDEX `IDX_$1_$2` (`$2` ASC)'''

# $1 table name
# $2 index name
# $3 reference table name name
fkey = '''ALTER TABLE `$1`
  FOREIGN KEY (`$2`)
  REFERENCES `$3` (`$2`)

For example, if I type \f ikey salaries to_date, this query will be executed:

ALTER TABLE `salaries` ADD INDEX `IDX_salaries_to_date` (`to_date` ASC)

In other words, it will create an index on the column to_date of the table salaries. Super handy!

Working with Files

The System Command

First thing first, if you want to know what files are in the folder you are, directly from mycli, you can use the command:

system ls

The command system can be used with any other shell command. It can be very useful if you need to do some cat or grep on sql files for example. If you want to clear your terminal, just type system clear.

Importing a SQL file

If you need to execute a SQL script, you can simply use the command \. filename.

Output To a File

  • tee [-o] filename - output everything into a file. Queries, results, everything displayed on your terminal will be written. If the file filename doesn’t exist, it will be created. To overwrite an already existing file, you can use the -o option.

  • notee - stop writing the output to a file.

  • \o [-o] filename - output the next result only into a file. Again, the -o option is to override a file already existing. However, it seems that this command only work once per session…

MySQL Command Line Happiness: Last Tips

The Auto Completion is Too Smart? Make it Dumb!

Playing around with mycli will show you the handy smart auto completion. If you’re not satisfied with the propositions, you can make the auto completion dumb by pressing F2.

It will propose you every keyword available whatever the context. If you want to come back to the sweet smart auto completion, press F2 again.

Refreshing the Auto Completion

The command \# will refresh the auto completion in case your new databases / table / alias you just created are not in the result set.

Vim Mode

A convenient Vim mode is available to be able to navigate in and modify your queries. You can enable it by adding / modifying this line in your config file: key_bindings = vi.

You have the choice between vi or emacs

MySQL Command Lines in Vim (or Nano)

You can use the command \e at the end of any query to be able to edit it with your favorite editor, defined thanks to both your $EDITOR and $VISUAL environment variables.

I love this functionality. Being able to modify complex query in Vim is a dream coming true.

Exactly like in your favorite shell, you can search a query you typed before by using the keystroke CTRL + r.

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