Database Import eXport - console tool
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dix (Database Import eXport)

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dix is a console application for exporting and importing MySQL databases. It is written in PHP, and it is based on Symfony console component. For database operations it uses mysql command line tool, so from all this it is quite clear that dix has the solid foundation. While designing this application, my goal was to leverage existing well known software.

Using dix is easy, and you should be ready to use it after reading this whole document. dix will help you to easily backup database and restore it later. It is designed for web developers who work with PHP frameworks or content management systems. Before doing something that might damage your database you can easily create a backup, and then start to experiment all you want without worrying about your data. Of course, you can find another creative uses for this application.


To build dix phar file I used Box2. In the root of the project you can find box.json file which contains app definition. You can build it yourself by downloading box.phar file and executing:

php box.phar build

If phar.readonly option in your php.ini is set to true then use the following command to build dix:

php -d phar.readonly=0 box.phar build

and to build it, move it to your PATH and set permissions use the following one line command:

php -d phar.readonly=0 box.phar build && mv dix.phar /usr/local/bin/dix && chmod +x /usr/local/bin/dix

If you don't want to build the application yourself, you can download pre-built file from the following address:

If you want to access dix from anywhere on your system place it in your PATH and set the appropriate permissions.


mv dix.phar /usr/local/bin/dix
chmod +x /usr/local/bin/dix


mysql and mysqldump command line tools are required. If you want to upload your databases to Amazon Web Services, then you also need to install AWS command line tool.


dix has four commands. To see the list of commands and options use the following command:


1. Config

Every application needs to be configured, and the same is with dix. Application config is pretty simple, it consist of directory path where you will export databases, and the list of eventual database credentials. You will probably use this app on dev server, where you might have one password for all databases, so configuration will only have a directory path and one set of database credentials.

To see your current configuration use config command without any options:

dix config

Command alias is:

dix cf

To set the export directory where dix will save database files, use the following command:

dix config --dir=path/to/directory

To set the upload path to your AWS bucket use the following command:

dix config --aws-path=s3://backup/databases/

where s3://backup/databases/ is a sample path.

If you have a different credentials for every database on your server then you must set credentials for each. To set a specific database credentials use:


To set the global database credentials use asterisk as wildcard:

dix config --dbname=* --user=DATABASE_USERNAME --pass=DATABASE_PASSWORD

To delete database credentials specify database name without username and password:

dix config --dbname=DATABASE_NAME --user --pass

or shorter:

dix config --dbname=DATABASE_NAME

YOU DON'T HAVE TO SET DATABASE CREDENTIALS HERE - YOU CAN SPECIFY USERNAME AND PASSWORD ON EACH EXPORT IF YOU WANT TO AVOID SAVING SENSITIVE DATA. Please keep in mind that if you decide to save passwords, they will be stored in a plain text Yml file in your home directory.

2. Log

Every time you export a database, a log entry will be created. It consist of export hash ID, database name, path to the sql file, date and the log message. Log command is read only - you can't change log in any way from it.

To show full log in descending date order execute the following command:

dix log

Command alias is:

dix lg

Sort log entries in ascending date order:

dix log --sort=asc

Because you probably don't want to see everything in your log, there are some filtering options:

Limit the number of showed log entries:

dix log --lim=NUMBER_OF_ENTRIES

Filter by database name:

dix log --dbname=DATABASE_NAME

Filter by export destination (destination can be local or aws):

dix log --dest=local
dix log --dest=aws

Filter by date:

dix log --date=DATE

Date should be in one of the following formats: Y.m.d, Y-m-d or Ymd

Filtery by message:

dix log --msg="MESSAGE TEXT"

Filtery by message:

dix log --msg="MESSAGE TEXT"

Multiword search terms should be enclosed in the quotes.

3. Export

To export a database you must set the directory path by using config command. You can specify database credentials in this command or you could set them with config command if you don't want to type it every time you are exporting a database. To export a database if the credentials are stored in config use:

dix export --dbname=DATABASE_NAME

Command alias is:

dix ex

If you want to specify credentials in this command use:


Use the latter command if you don't want to store passwords in the config file. Every export can have a message associated with it, which can later be read from the log. To add message use:

dix export --dbname=DATABASE_NAME --msg="EXPORT MESSAGE"

Multiword export message should be enclosed in the quotes. Every export has unique ID which can later be used when importing database. You can find this ID in the log.

dix can upload a database to your AWS bucket. You must install the AWS cli app if you want to use this option. Find out more info about AWS cli here:

To upload a database to your AWS bucket use the following command:

dix export --dbname=DATABASE_NAME --dest="aws"

dix provides an option to delete all data from tables that contain a word cache in their names. It is usually a good idea to delete all data from cache tables, because that data is not needed and it just takes up a space. To clear cache just use the following command:

dix export --dbname=DATABASE_NAME --cc=true

4. Import

You can import database by specifying dbname or export ID. If you specify the database name, then the last exported database with that name will be imported. On the other hand, if you specify the ID, then database with that ID will be imported.

To import last exported database with specific name use:

dix import --dbname=DATABASE_NAME

Command alias is:

dix im

To import database with specific ID use:

dix import --id=EXPORT_ID

You don't have to type in the whole ID - it is enough to use only first 5 characters. You can find ID if you call log command. Please note that dbname and id are mutually exclusive commands.

You can specify username and password in the import command:


If existing database in not empty, then import command will fail. To force import use:

dix import --dbname=DATABASE_NAME --force=true

Even with this option, you will be asked for a confirmation, because you can potentially lose important data if you overwrite existing database.

5. Drop Tables

To drop all tables in a database you can use the following command:

dix drop-tables --dbname=DATABASE_NAME --user=DATABASE_USERNAME --pass=DATABASE_PASSWORD


To run tests CD to the root of the app and execute the following command:



This application is tested only on Linux, and it comes with no warranty whatsoever, either implied or expressed.


Goran Nikolovski
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