Registered: Jun 2001
Distribution: Gentoo, RHEL, Fedora, Centos
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 9
very good allround coverage of MySQL and how to use it
none i could see
So often, books on any given programming language, database or suchlike, take a strict line on what is deemed to be suitable for inclusion. Often this can be understandable given the potentially huge breadth of what this could be, so many OSes to over and some many other ways to use the product in question once it's core functionality is covered. Michael Kofler's definitive Guide to MySQL takes that challenge on, touching pretty much every likely way people will use SQL.
The book is split into two main areas, Fundamentals and Programming. Each doing admirable justice to its objectives.
The basic principles of MySQL is covered though the near 300 pages of the Fundamentals section. We get a reasonably standard grounding in the basics of the SQL language, including a responsible discussion on the limitations of MySQL, primarily it's areas of non-compliance to the ANSI SQL92 standard, something that's bitten me too many times in the past.
And so it comes to pass that by about page 230 you have been given a lot of really comprehensive advice about every part of the core SQL language with suitable examples and applications aplenty, in addition to good adherence to SQL best practises such as table normalisation.
The rest if Fundamentals takes us onto basic administration tasks, to provide the bread and butter foundations of any DBA's knowledge: both theory and practise of topics including transactions, security, backups, data import and export and others besides, and we've long since covered customized installations and configuration way back in the Introduction.
For me it's put a tick next to everything I'd have on my checklist for getting to know the insides of MySQL, but what about the outsides? How is MySQL going to help you and me in "real" world? Cue the second phase of this weighty tome: Programming.
As a moderator of LinuxQuestions.org, I'm used to people asking how they actually do something with MySQL, or any other database on Linux. Maybe they've done some Access work in windows, and got the hang of SQL (or rather, a very "interesting" version of) and are not ware of how a real database operates. From page 373 onwards is going to be the answer to anyone's question, you've just got to find it.
Thanks to the rise and rise of the Great Big InterWeb, and LAMP with it, PHP is the main focus of programming literature. In really good detail we're shown what libraries exist to allow the M and the P to do business, how to use the basic API functionality, and sizeable examples to go with them. Rather than the somewhat typical experience of having one pretend business be battered into submission to demonstrate every API call, we have two short and succinct case studies: a Library (OK, it is still books... but it's too easy not to I guess!) and also a basic Web forum. Each example sets out it's manifesto and goes and does everything it says it will. We're then offered a number of extensions to implement should they take your fancy.
Whilst PHP takes the lions share of the section, we are, in no uncertain terms, given a more than able grounding in Perl, Java, JSP, C, C++, VB and more generic ODBC interactions. Really not much more you could ask for if this is your first taste of MySQL, ehh?
This is a great book, really nice to see the author going for something of a holistic approach to the subject of MySQL. I have to say that this is wholly recommended for any new and fair-to-middling user. Or at least it will be until MySQL 5.0 settles in, and then Iíll be waiting for the third edition, and a much smaller Limitations section.