If you haven't yet, please look at the tutorial that Anisha referenced. To be honest, it is one of the best introductions to MySQL that I have seen and will really help you to both get started and understand what MySQL does.
As Nylex mention, it is a database which holds data in key,value pairs where unlike a simple hash table the keys can be complex and compound expressions. By itself, a database doesn't do a whole lot for you. In order to unlock the real power of a database it needs to be combined with other applications. When combined with web based applications it becomes a very effective tool and most web scripting languages, for example PHP contain large libraries of functions designed to interact with databases. The net effect is that one can create pages that work with information stored in the database and can provide dynamic, customized content using the information stored in the database. The most common type of database driven application would probably be an e-commerce store. Another example would be an application that stores the results of a process and provides a web site where users can view customized graphs of the process variables based on desired search parameters.
SQL is also a programming language by itself and one can interact with a SQL database using this (textual) language. Since many find this difficult, there are graphical applications, like myadmin which provide a graphical interface and these applications run on Apache
Last edited by Noway2; 02-20-2011 at 07:49 AM.
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