Jul 20, 2023

Universal command-line interface for SQL databases

usql provides a simple way of working with SQL databases via a command-line inspired by PostgreSQL’s psql tool and has a few additional features that psql does not, such as syntax highlighting and context-based completion.

Database administrators and developers that would prefer to work with non-PostgreSQL databases with a tool like psql, will find usql intuitive, easy-to-use, and a great replacement for the command-line clients/tools available for other databases.

As a FreeBSD user or a frequent user of its ports system, you have likely come across the indispensable tool uSQL. uSQL, standing for Universal SQL, is an extremely flexible database interface that allows users to connect, manipulate, and manage virtually any database from your command-line interface CLI.

In this article, we will delve into the varied functionalities of this remarkable tool and outline the steps you need to follow to get started with it.

What is uSQL?

uSQL is a multi-database command-line client that aims to provide a simple universal interface for interacting with SQL databases. It currently supports 9 databases, including PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, MS SQL server and more. This makes it an excellent tool for managing your databases, regardless of the SQL flavor you’re running.

The biggest strength of uSQL lies in its simplicity and flexibility. It provides a consistent, easy-to-use command-line interface, which makes it ideal for beginners and advanced SQL users alike.

Why use uSQL?

The main strength of uSQL, when compared to other FreeBSD ports, like [PostgreSQL]https// or [MySQL]https//, lies in its universal client feature. You don’t need to remember different command syntaxes or switch between different clients when working with multiple SQL databases. With uSQL, you can manage all your databases from a single terminal window.

This greatly reduces the time taken to handle administrative tasks and increases the efficiency of your databases.

How to get started with uSQL?

Now that we understand the importance of uSQL, let’s look at how to install and get started with this powerful database management tool.

Step 1 Installation

First, you need to install uSQL. In FreeBSD, this is as simple as running the following command

pkg install usql

This command fetches and installs the latest version of the uSQL package from the FreeBSD ports collection.

Step 2 Connect to a Database

Once installed, connecting to a database is as straightforward as using the usql command followed by the URL of your database.

For instance, to connect to a PostgreSQL database

usql postgres//usernamepassword@localhost/mydb

Note Replace username, password, and mydb with your PostgreSQL credentials and database name respectively.

Step 3 Interact with the Database

After connection, you can directly use SQL commands to interact with your database. For example, to list all tables in your database, you can run


To exit the client, simply execute the \q command.

Use Cases and Applications

The practical applications of uSQL are extremely diverse. From software development to IT security, uSQL can help streamline and simplify your SQL workflow.

Software Development

For software developers working with SQL databases, uSQL can be an invaluable tool. It allows developers to interact with their databases directly from the command-line, which can greatly speed up development and debugging processes.

IT Security

For IT security professionals, uSQL’s universal client feature can simplify the process of examining databases during a security audit. In addition, combining uSQL with FreeBSD’s [nmap]https// port can aid in building a comprehensive network security framework.


uSQL is a powerful yet user-friendly FreeBSD port that offers a universal SQL client for various databases. With its easy installation and flexible interface, uSQL is a valuable addition to any SQL user’s toolkit.

Whether you’re a seasoned SQL veteran or a novice, uSQL’s capabilities can ease your SQL workflow and enhance your database management processes. Try it today and experience a new level of SQL interaction.

Checkout these related ports:
  • Zodb3 - Z - Object Database for python
  • Zodb - Python object-oriented database
  • Zabbix22-libzbxpgsql - Zabbix agent module for comprehensive monitoring of PostgreSQL servers
  • Xtrabackup8 - Open-source backup tool for InnoDB and XtraDB
  • Xtrabackup - OpenSource version of InnoDB backup with support of Percona extensions
  • Xrootd - Framework for fast, low latency, scalable data access
  • Xls2txt - Utilities to convert spreadsheet files to text and csv formats
  • Xapian-core12 - Probabilistic text search database engine
  • Xapian-core10 - Probabilistic text search database engine
  • Xapian-core - Probabilistic text search database engine
  • Xapian-bindings12 - Bindings allowing Xapian to be used from various programming languages
  • Xapian-bindings - Bindings allowing Xapian to be used from various programming languages
  • Wfb2sql - CIA World Fact Book to SQL Conversion Utility
  • Webdis - HTTP interface for Redis
  • Vsqlite - Well designed and portable SQLite3 Wrapper for C++