Just like there is code highlighting for languages when you ask programming questions, can you add a feature where you can enter table design information and it is visually shown in the question?

Right now, we either use ASCII art to represent tables or paste the CREATE statement. ASCII is cumbersome and CREATE statements take a lot of time (at least for me) to understand and visualize.

Wouldn't it be great to have a feature where you can enter table names, fields, types, keys, relations etc. and it shows a DB table diagram so that people who answer can start working on the problem instead of spending half the time understanding the table structures?

  • 1
    +1 nice idea, I don't know how it might actually be done though... – Jon Mar 6 '11 at 7:12
  • You can also post images. – Bill the Lizard Mar 6 '11 at 15:45
  • 3
    If only HTML included some way of displaying tables! – MusiGenesis May 7 '11 at 1:11
  • 1
    Think this needs to go into the faq – Won't Jul 6 '11 at 11:35


Is there a web app to create ASCII art tables?

From our very own Senseful!

I just copied and pasted this from SQL Server Management studio:

-1  Community   210
1   Jeff Atwood 5636
2   Geoff Dalgas    148
3   Jarrod Dixon    101
4   Joel Spolsky    959

Into Senseful's web app and got

║ -1 ║  Community   ║ 210  ║
║  1 ║ Jeff Atwood  ║ 5636 ║
║  2 ║ Geoff Dalgas ║  148 ║
║  3 ║ Jarrod Dixon ║  101 ║
║  4 ║ Joel Spolsky ║  959 ║

(I probably should have ticked the "no header" option...)

How to format SQL tables in a Stack Overflow post?


You know you could use a query on http://data.stackexchange.com to represent your data structures and link to it. We allow for temp tables and table vars.

  • 1
    I am not sure I get it. That link is for querying StackExchange sites right? How do I use it to represent tables from my application when asking a question? – user154174 Mar 6 '11 at 7:50
  • 4
    overkill alert. besides, if your Joe Public user is smart enough to go to that site and set up temp tables and then a query, I doubt they would be asking that many questions on SO – RichardTheKiwi Mar 6 '11 at 8:25
  • 1
    For performance questions (involving creating tables with millions of rows), you really want people to play on data.SE? How much load can that server take? Ref: meta.stackexchange.com/q/81729/156011 – RichardTheKiwi Mar 6 '11 at 8:28

I would like to see a filter that can turn CREATE TABLE statements in the most popular SQL dialects into simple diagrams, but it can be argued that it adds a complex task that should be done by a third party.

It would indeed be a great job for an external service - converting CREATE TABLE statements into images (sub-optimal but nice-looking) or - ASCII art!

  • Where is @George Edison? – davidsleeps Jun 26 '11 at 12:28

You must log in to answer this question.