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Backups:  Command Line vs. GUI

Backups: Command Line vs. GUI

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Recall the differences between backing up and restoring from the command line and GUI.

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what's covered
This tutorial explores using the differences between backing up and restoring from the command line and GUI.

When it comes to backing up and restoring data from a database, we do have the option to use graphical user interfaces and the command line. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Most of the time, with a database, you will automatically have access to the command line access. This command-line interface will be consistent regardless of the platform that you use. With a GUI interface, this is typically a separate installation that connects to the database. You generally have options beyond what the database vendor offers to be able to connect to the database. The GUI tool interfaces with the database through application programming interfaces or running it through the command line.

Graphical user interfaces tend to be visually intuitive to use especially for a beginner. For a beginner, the command line commands and options can be quite difficult to handle and require some practice and expertise. For example, just look at the options in the prior tutorial here -a in the pg_restore command restores only data but the same option in psql echoes the input lines in the script. The same feature in a GUI form would just be an input field like a checkbox in a GUI interface without having to remember what the command looks like. Rather, you can execute the commands in the GUI without knowing the exact syntax and making mistakes in the underlying code.

The graphical user interface will use more memory as it has to display the graphical elements of the program whereas the command line will use a lot less memory as there is not extra overhead. With many different GUI tools for the database, you can customize the look and feel and save your settings. This allows you to choose the different interfaces based on the database you are using. With the command line, you would not have the same customization although you can create scripts to run your commands.

Since you can create scripts in the command line, you have the ability to combine statements together and perform tasks that cannot be done in GUI design unless it has been implemented. For example, from the command line, you could back up a database and immediately send the results to restore another database in the same script. You also have the option in the command line to connect to a remote database using the command line that is not always possible in the GUI.

Regardless of the choice, you can restore a database even if there are errors in the files as there can be some error checking and handling with the various options. With either option, you can also be able to backup and restore just the data, the schema, or an option of either one. You can also have the option to backup and restore data from and plain text files or non-plain text files.

There are some differences and similarities between backing up and restoring databases through the command line and GUI interface.