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The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-in-one dept.
jsuda writes "The Definitive Guide to MYSQL 3rd Edition certainly deserves its title. It is a large, dense, complete guide to MySQL and updates its predecessor edition by covering new MySQL5 and new auxiliary software including database administration tools and interfaces. MySQL is the open-source database software which has become very popular for web-based database applications now being used by Yahoo, NASA, Slashdot, and other entities. Read on for the rest of Jsudas' review
The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5 3rd Edition
author Michael Kofler
pages 748
publisher Apress
rating 7
reviewer John Suda
ISBN 1-59059-535-1
summary The Definitive Guide to Mysql 5


The author of this book, Michael Kofler, has a Ph.D. degree in computer science and is an accomplished writer of technical books. The audience is intermediate to high-level database designers and programmers. Although the presentation assumes little prior knowledge of MySQL and databases, it does assume a good amount of contact with and knowledge of programming languages. The topic of this book does not lend itself to an easy, flowing writing style. Reading through this complex material is like chewing on heavy New England pound cake. That is not a criticism of the author as he thoroughly presents the topics in a comprehensive, workmanlike, textbook-like manner. The discussions of databases and MySQL features are lightened by numerous table, charts, graphics, and examples of relevant matters.

The updating from the 2nd Edition of The Definitive Guide involves the upgrade of MySQL from version 4.1 to 5.0 which now provides support for Unicode, the sub-SELECT and GIS functions, improved authorization features, addition of stored procedures, and other new commands and server options. It also includes discussion of new or updated auxiliary software used with MySQL, like PHPAdmin and new interfaces for Open Office, Star Office, and Apo.NET.

There are six parts with twenty-three chapters and 3 appendices, amounting to 748 pages with index. The parts entail an introduction to MySQL and databases, administrative tools and user interfaces, fundamentals of database design, programming using MySQL, and detailed content references. The appendices include short segments of a glossary, bibliography, and notes about the sample code files available for downloading from the publisher's website at http://www.apress.com./

The beginning chapters introduce the basic concepts of MySQL including its client-server architecture, tables, fields, queries, keys, and the distinction between relational and object-oriented databases. The author focuses the bulk of the book on relational databases. The many features of MySQL are itemized and other matters like licensing and setting up test environments are discussed. A large segment of this early material offers instruction on installing under Windows and Unix/Linux platforms and configuring the installations for function, usability, and security. An introductory example of building an opinion poll application with PHP is provided.

Chapters 4 - 6 cover a number of administrative tools to use with MySQL, including mysqladmin, mysqldump, and PHPAdmin. The author spells out how to install and configure, set up user management and security, create and edit databases, import and export data, and use auxiliary functions, among other things.

The best chapter, in my view, is Chapter 8 on database design. The technical aspects of databases are well-covered, like the various table types and data types, but the more theoretical aspects are noted in some length. There is some art in creating databases and tables which is above the technological. Correct design with related tables is crucial to efficiency, ease of use, accuracy, ability to revise, and consistency. A segment on "tips and tricks" in database design is especially interesting.

The bulk of Part 3 contains a comprehensive presentation of SQL features, syntax, configuration, and security issues, The new functions of version 5 are explored, like GIS and stored procedures and triggers. A section on transactions for advanced users and setups is nicely done. For novice users, mention is made of the "--I-am-a-dummy" option which warns and provides a second chance to avoid inadvertent updating or deleting of a table. Chapter 14 is all about maintenance issues - backing up, importing, logging, and replication.

Part 4 deals with how to combine MySQL with programming languages like PHP, perl, Java, C, Visual Basic, and Visual Basic.NET. Each is treated similarly - detailing features, concepts, syntax, and programming techniques. Most of the attention is given to PHP, which is described as a natural companion to MySQL for use in developing dynamic web applications.

Chapter 21 is a comprehensive SQL reference of operations, functions, data types, variables and constants, and commands. There are a large number of charts and tables to bring order to the dense material. Chapter 23 contains material on the various API's which can interact with MySQL. These include PHP.API, perl.API, JDBC, ADO-net, and C.API.

For those with a need to know, and those with a desire to learn MySQL, this volume contains nearly everything you would want and expect, not only about MySQL itself but about the software that interacts with it or web servers. The author deserves credit for presenting the dense material in a thorough and orderly manner."


You can purchase The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5 3rd Edition from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5

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  • Does this mean... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trolling4Columbine (679367) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:43PM (#13917336)
    ...that the first and second editions weren't all that definative?

    The problem with buying "new and improved" is the revelation that all along you'd been using "old and inverior".
    • Doesn't look like there's anything on ODBC.
    • by MindStalker (22827)
      Well in this one case its accurate, MYSQL 5 includes many new features that wern't included in MYSQL 4.x. So while the definative guide on MYSQL 4.x might have been definative concerning 4.x it is inferior when it comes to dealing with 5.
    • MySQL 5 is a new product, and vastly different/improved from earlier releases of MySQL. So yes, the previous "The Definitive Guide to MySQL" books were definitive for the earlier MySQL releases.

      And yes, the old books may be considered "inferior" when you're working with MySQL 5, just because it is new software and the older books thus do not cover it.

    • The problem with buying "new and improved" is the revelation that all along you'd been using "old and inverior".

      No no no. You obviously don't understand marketing speak. If something is "new and improved", it means the old one was "original", "classic", or "tried-and true".

      -ccm

  • Eh? (Score:1, Insightful)

    The Definitive Guide? And I thought the online documentation [mysql.com]...
    • that's the truth (Score:5, Insightful)

      by conJunk (779958) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:57PM (#13917444)
      The Definitive Guide? And I thought the online documentation...

      totally... i was wandering in my favorite geek bookstore [powells.com] yesterday... it's weird to look at the shelves, at the rows and rows of thick, expensive books, and think... "i've had no trouble with the online help for that one, and that one, and that one..."

      people will spend money on just about anything... but, in fairness, it can be nice to have a guide that you can flip through some times... i don't like online doucmentation for everything but it has its place... a lot of these books though seem a bit much

      • For me, not so much. (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheSpoom (715771) *
        Five years ago, when I first learned PHP, I needed a tutorial-style book to help me along. Granted, the PHP documentation is AWESOME as a reference, especially considering there are functions for practically anything you can think of. However, I can definitely say that having a book that went through the basics first in a style where one could easily learn the language from scratch helped me out a lot.

        (If anyone's trying to learn PHP, by the way, I highly recommend Sams' Teach Yourself PHP In 24 Hours. I
      • Printed books are good for reading in the bathroom. Maybe if I had a nice lightweight tablet I'd just read the digital stuff there but my laptop is an IBM that weighs like 57890235907 pounds...
    • Re:Eh? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well, given that MySQL's online documentation in the past claimed that you didn't need transactions and triggers and that you were better off without them, I don't blame people for looking elsewhere for docs.
    • Re:Eh? (Score:2, Informative)

      by CoolBru (798217)
      I'm really not that keen on the MySQL online docs - they are nowhere near as good as the PHP docs (especially the user notes), and there's a lot that's undocumented (seems to be much I search for). For example, where can you find out about logging warnings? I'd hope that a definitive guide was quite a bit better than the online docs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:45PM (#13917352)
    Please put all of your stupid, self-important comments about how MySQL sucks, isn't a real database, etc., in this thread so the rest of us can easily ignore them. Thanks.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Oh no you don't, mysql guy. Your favorite database isn't immune.
      You'll take your flames like every one here.

      BTW, BSD is dying, vi is better than emacs, open office is bloated, linux only has one game called tuxracer, and memory managed programming languages are slow.
      • BTW, BSD is dying, vi is better than emacs, open off....


        you forgot one.....


        Linux, the OS you never have to reboot! unless you have a driver problem, or you reconfigure your kernel, or you have a hardware problem with CPU, disk or memory...

        ok, you don't have to reboot if you change your IP!

    • I make boring backends for a bank using Oracle based systems costing 1 zillion dolars with an even more expensive support contract because the PHB was awed by Oracle sales persons, yada yada yada so all webdevelopers shouldn't use a free database perfectly suited for them.
  • by webmosher (322834) <webmosher@gCOUGARmail.com minus cat> on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:58PM (#13917455) Homepage
    It bothers me a bit that the reviewer considered the content intermediate to advanced, yet found the database design chapter most informative. Design in my opinion should be mostly irrelavent to the database its implemented on. Sure, you can optimize certain aspects of a design based on the features of the database server, but this should not define the design. Design should be a study in itself and not something thrown in for the sake of completeness.

    However, considering the average DB design skillz of a commonplace/low-rent PHP developer (or at least the ones I have had to clean up after). I am hopeful that more developers using PHP/MySQL will actually take the time to look at the content in this or other definitive books on MySQL.

    • It bothers me a bit that the reviewer considered the content intermediate to advanced, yet found the database design chapter most informative. Design in my opinion should be mostly irrelavent to the database its implemented on.

      can't both possibilities be true? why can't the book be geared toward an intermediate/advanced mysql user in terms of assumed skillset, features covered, etc., but also include a really good chapter on db design?

      • by brunson (91995)
        My concern is that a "Definitive Guide", especially one geared towards an intermediate/advanced user would not include a section on clustering, one of the most advanced and important additions to version 5.

    • by digidave (259925) on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:08PM (#13917511)
      Ya especially for a database with such bad design. MySQL can't even nest tables like HTML can, so I think I'll stick with HTML until MySQL improves a lot. Besides, with CSS you can make HTML look great, but last time I looked at MySQL it was just weird blue with some sailboat in the corner and you couldn't change it.
    • However, considering the average DB design skillz of a commonplace/low-rent PHP developer (or at least the ones I have had to clean up after).

      you now believe that the database design chapter was relative? you'd place money on the chapter helping civilization? you can see how someone would be so bothered to include a chapter on database design.

      Oh, you cursed and incomplete sentence! We shall never know your true meaning.

    • Like this book states in its title, it focuses on MySQL. It shouldn't waste pages dealing with general database design, since that's not what it's about. If you're interested in database design, then get a book on that instead.

      I wouldn't expect a book about using C++Builder to delve into designing C++ programs using common patterns, for instance. It's supposed to be about C++Builder, rather than designing C++ programs.

      • Like this book states in its title, it focuses on MySQL.

        It also claims to be the definitive guide. If something is definitive, it's got to be complete. You can't properly use a SQL DBMS without understanding the principles of the SQL language.

        This is especially true since MySQL takes liberties with the SQL standard which already diverges widely from the relational model.
        • Indeed, it is definitive. It is definitive with regards to MySQL. MySQL is an SQL implementation, with its own set of extensions. It is perfectly acceptable for it to be called definitive and only focus on MySQL, just because it is a book about using MySQL. It's not a book about database design, or about the SQL language.

          Again, it isn't the "Definitive Guide to SQL" or the "Definitive Guide to Relational Database Design". It's supposed to focus on specifically on MySQL itself, rather than more general SQL a
          • MySQL is an SQL implementation, with its own set of extensions

            Worse - unless things have changed it's an incomplete SQL (even SQL92) implementation.

            Consequently, it certainly was necessary, in previous versions, to review the link between relational calculus/algebra and 'SQL', since one couldn't even rely on the normal advice about normalisation when subqueries were not supported...

            (Btw, I'd be very interested to know if this still stands - I gave up with it when I found out how far from a relational D

    • Design in my opinion should be mostly irrelavent to the database its implemented on.

      "Should" being the operative word.
      In practice, this just isn't the case.

      For example, a unique ID for a primary key on a database could be implemented as a autonumber field in mysql, or a sequence in oracle.
      This changes the application using the database. What if that ID is the foreign key for child tables? Transactional support may be handled differently if the parent table's primary key is known before initiating the tra
  • Quiet in this thread (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <<akaimbatman> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:08PM (#13917510) Homepage Journal
    For novice users, mention is made of the "--I-am-a-dummy" option which warns and provides a second chance to avoid inadvertent updating or deleting of a table.

    Perhaps something less insulting to the user should have been chosen? e.g. "--novice" or "--safety=on"? I understand that they're trying to be funny, but they've never seen a highly frustrated newbie before. The poor sap may be so flustered that having the documentation call him a "dummy" might just be the last straw.

    Alternatively, your boss might not find it so funny when you tell him you'll just flip on the "I'm a dummy" flag. I know that my boss wasn't too impressed when I told him that I was going to use Bouncy Castle [bouncycastle.org] for encryption. The API is really great, but the name doesn't exactly scream "Professionsl!"

    In the same vein, I always got a kick out of the naming for the ElectricFire [mozilla.org] JVM. From "How did the project get it's name?":

    Scott Silver, one of the first EF developers, originally wanted to codename the project "Sexual Chocolate". (I'm not making this up.) That name was rejected, presumably because it would confuse Netscape's managers: "So, this Sexual Chocolate project actually has nothing to do with chocolate ?" Instead, Silver proposed "Electrical Fire" (two separate words). For the open-source release, Scott Furman coalesced the two words into one: "ElectricalFire", to make it apparent that the project was not to be confused with a safety hazard. A word of advice for the wise: if you end up working on a project with Scott Silver, do not allow him to handle the project codename.
    • by MrWiggum (910429) * on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:21PM (#13917621)
      the --i-am-a-dummy is an alias to a less unsulting option --safe-updates
    • The API is really great, but the name doesn't exactly scream "Professionsl!" ummmm, neither does that ;-)
    • It isn't just for novices. I work almost exclusively on the command line for mysql (it is so much faster than the GUI or phpMyAdmin). I am in the habit of typing my where statement immediately after I type 'delete' or 'update' and then going back and filling in the table name and update fields just so I don't accidentally blow away a table. However, on one occasion, I had typed "delete where field='foo';" and then, as is my habit, went back and typed in the table name. Unfortunately, I happened to type a se
      • So why didn't you just issue a ROLLBACK; and undo the delete, drop of the wrong table, drop of a column, etc. - whatever the mistake was.?

        I don't see the need for a new option to warn people when they make major changes to the database, when the transaction system should be able to take care of it.

        MySql has transactions now, right? Just get people into the habit of typing BEGIN; before they start to work, and they shouldn't get into trouble, an d no insultingly named options are needed.
        • DDL causes an automatic commit, so you can't roll it back.
          • Really? - that sucks. From all of the cheering abour MySQL supporting transactions, I had assumed that it actually supported transactions in a non-half-assed manner.

            PostgreSQL has no problem rolling back table changes - I can open a transaction and create or drop tables; add, delete, or change the types of columns in tables, change rules, triggers, and stored procedures, and undo everything with a single ROLLBACK;.

            It's really handy, because I can make a set of changes, and run some test queries to mak
            • MySQL and Postgress differ in interesting ways. For example. MySQL now supports the XA distributed transaction standard, beyond the two phase commit planned for PostgreSQL 8.1. It's well worth it for PG users to try MySQL with their real applications, IMO - seems likely to be the only way to find out which really is better for each application, unless the app needs something which is only present in one or the other of them.
    • Maybe Furman was an Alice in Chains fan. Layne Staley rasps out "Sexual Chocolate, baby!" at the end of Real Thing. You can also hear him hack up his esophagus, which is good for a laugh.
    • I think the i am a dummy switch is great. One time I was upgrading debian using dist upgrade but of course I had to do things my way so typed in a apt-get upgrade on one of the packages I wasn't suppoed to. Apt of course balked and said it wasn't going to upgrade the package unless I typed "I realize this is a bad idea". Yes the whole phrase. So being an idiot I typed the phrase in and proceeded to break my system.

      I find linux error messages refreshingly human. Often verbose and clear, in the vein of "I am
      • fyi the phrase is actually "Yes, do as I say!" and i had to actually enter it once to make a system upgrade (i think there was some old package on thier that was for some reason marked as essential) but you can bet i took care to triple check what it was listing it would do before i typed that phrase.
  • by url80 (927250) on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:08PM (#13917514) Homepage
    Unfortunately, the book expects the installation of several non-essential packages beyond the MySQL client and server. These include Apache, PHP, phpMyAdmin, and Perl (Chapter 2). Then, the introductory example (Chapter 3) is mostly about programming and testing an application in PHP with a MySQL database as a backend. At this point, I realized that the organization of the book did not meet my needs and purchased "MySQL (Third Edition)" by Paul DuBois, the organization of which demonstrates that it really concentrates on MySQL and which is actually the definitive guide I was originally looking for.
    • MySQL is rarely used alone. Frankly, it's probably not a bad idea to show it being integrated with other technologies, especially ones as popular and available as those.

      Considering that MySQL is mainly used for web-based tasks, it's most likely a very useful choice for most people who are purchasing the book. It gives them what they want, while also offering examples to those who are using MySQL for non-WWW-related jobs.

    • Yes, DuBois' book is better source of MySQL knowledge. But most people I know use MySQL along with a scripting language like Perl/PHP, so "The Definitive Guide" definitely has its merit.

      On the other hand, what I didn't like about this particular book is that it covers use of many languages (Java/Perl/PHP/C/VB) on the surface, without getting into the gory details of any language that one needs for real programming.

      For example, last week I was trying to figure out the best way to use "datetime" types in

    • I bought Paul DuBois' third edition a while ago; read most of it. It's a thorough work, but my main complaint is that it doesn't provide a descent index. Many terms are just missing, or don't refer to the most relevant pages. The kind invitation to send suggestions for improvements to indexes@samspublishing.com isn't really tempting either...

      Also, forward references to sections are a hasle as sections lack numbering (granularity is just chapters) and a page number isn't provided either. For a book this big
  • by sco08y (615665) on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:15PM (#13917577)
    "That is not a criticism of the author..." You can say that again.

    Aside from a few sentences of vague praise, the bulk of this "book review" is a summary of the table of contents.
  • While this has nothing to do with MySQL directly, I think it would be fantastic if the Mozilla people were able to come up with a decent book regarding the embedding of the Gecko rendering engine.

    Indeed, the online documentation is terrible. It is horribly outdated (we're talking 2 or 3 years here), and thus barely relevant today. Even if it might still be somewhat useful, there are often interfaces that have been changed, and the documentation ends up being more misleading than helpful. The example program
    • While this has nothing to do with MySQL directly, I think it would be fantastic if the Mozilla people were able to come up with a decent book regarding the embedding of the Gecko rendering engine.

      I think I remember seeing a book on this when I did my article on free books [blogspot.com]. Ah, here we are. [phptr.com] If I'm not mistaken, "Rapid Application Development with Mozilla" should cover the topic you're interested in. You can even download it [phptr.com] at no cost as part of Peren's dedication to Open Source Books.
      • Does that book talk about embedding Gecko within programs, or building applications (such as Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) on top of Gecko? Those are two completely different tasks.

        • No, those two are pretty much the same. Perhaps that's why the documentation [mozilla.org] is confusing you? A web browser is merely a wrapper around the HTML control that provides the "browsing" experience. For your own application, you'd pull up the HTML control whenever you needed it as opposed to using it centrally. Other than that, there really are no differences.

          If you're thinking that they're different, perhaps you're only looking for the ActiveX Control [mozilla.org]? You can get the binaries here [www.iol.ie]. It should work *exactly* lik
          • I'm aware of the ActiveX control, and that is not what I want. I have read the documentation. What is there is significantly incomplete or out of date, or was as of August.

            Most of the documentation focuses on using XUL to design Firefox-like applications. It looks like that book focuses on that as well. I was considering embedding Gecko into a proprietary C++ GUI toolkit. I was not interested in designing an XUL application on top of Mozilla. That is why such documentation was useless.

            The somewhat relevant
            • AFAIK, you should be able to ignore the XUL if you don't need it. All you really need is to intialize the XPCom system, then embed the nsWebBrowser into whatever application you are working on. For example, here's an MFC "brower" [mozilla.org] and here's a GTK "browser" [mozilla.org]. (The latter being based on the GTK Embed [mozilla.org] widget.) The rest of the docs go on to explain all the wonderful features you can make use of, including XUL.

              At the end of the day, though, the only way to really get going is to do as the Embedding FAQ [mozilla.org] suggests,
              • I know about the examples. They are the ones I mentioned earlier, had you bothered to read my posts. Take a look at them. They're very poorly commented, and the overall quality is poor. They're meant more as quick tests than they are as examples of any merit.

                Frankly, people who are developing serious projects (that is, often for money) with Mozilla do not have time to "muck around" with examples, especially ones of atrocious quality. We need solid documentation that is up-to-date, accurate, helpful and with
      • Here's the correct PDF link. [phptr.com] I accidently linked to the book on eCos. (Not that it isn't an interesting book...)
  • My take... (Score:4, Funny)

    by butterwise (862336) <butterwise AT gmail> on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:55PM (#13917943)
    With The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5, Michael Kofler masterfully concocts an intelligent and lucid thriller that marries the gusto of an international murder mystery with a collection of fascinating esoteria culled from 2,000 years of Western history.

    A murder in the silent after-hour halls of the Louvre museum reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected by a clandestine society since the days of Christ. The victim is a high-ranking agent of this ancient society who, in the moments before his death, manages to leave gruesome clues at the scene that only his granddaughter, noted cryptographer Sophie Neveu, and Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist, can untangle. The duo become both suspects and detectives searching for not only Neveu's grandfather's murderer but also the stunning secret of the ages he was charged to protect. Mere steps ahead of the authorities and the deadly competition, the mystery leads Neveu and Langdon on a breathless flight through France, England, and history itself. Kofler has created a page-turning thriller that also provides an amazing interpretation of Western history. Kofler's hero and heroine embark on a lofty and intriguing exploration of some of Western culture's greatest mysteries--from the nature of the Mona Lisa's smile to the secret of the Holy Grail. Though some will quibble with the veracity of Kofler's conjectures, therein lies the fun. The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5 is an enthralling read that provides rich food for thought.
  • Most of the attention is given to PHP, which is described as a natural companion to MySQL for use in developing dynamic web applications.

    Since MySQL 5.0 handles Unicode really well (except for regular expressions), and since PHP has close to zero Unicode support, and since any serious programming uses Unicode today, it's hardly correct to see PHP as the natural companion to MySQL 5.0. Perl and Python and Ruby however have excellent Unicode support.

    It will probably be a while before we see decent Uni

  • You can purchase The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5 3rd Edition from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

    Do you have to put that there? Is this really needed?

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