Managing and Using MySQL 2nd Edition (George Reese, Randy Jay Yarger, Tim King with Hugh E. Williams); MySQL Reference Manual (by Michael "Monty" Widenius, MySQL AB, David Axmark)

Reviewed by: Paul Schneider, send e-mail
Published by: O'Reilly Publishing, go to the web site
MSRP: $39.95

Between Managing and Using MySQL and MySQL Reference Manual you have two books with a total of over 1200 pages of knowledge aching to be absorbed by your addled brain! Although you probably gathered from the titles of these two books that the covered material is related, the approach and purpose for each is quite different.

MySQL Reference Manual is just that - a reference manual. Those familiar with the popular open source database program MySQL are also probably equally familiar with the plethora of online documentation and support for this fine product. This level of support is something of an irregularity among open source products. The full reference manual can be easily accessed online.

With this incredible resource available online the question is why buy a book when you can access its content online in a searchable format? Well that, my friend, is best summed up by the author. He indicates that it gave them an opportunity to provide all the documentation in a concise location. Literally speaking, everything is here in this one book. The topic coverage includes General Information, Tutorials, Database Administration, MySQL Optimization, MySQL Language Reference, MySQL Table Types, MySQL APIs, Extending MySQL, Problems and Common Errors, and Contributed Programs.

For the most part this manual reads like a manual. It's not particularly colorful in its examples or wordy in its explanations, but it gets the job done. Much like a dictionary, it also covers just about everything and provides short, decent examples. What it does not do is elaborate on how to use or do any one thing. The book is primarily a helpful companion for those who are doing development work with MySQL. For those out there who are database programmers, it is likely to become a welcome addition to your bookshelf and if nothing else it might impress someone by its girth! If you are a beginner I would start with something else (such as the second book in this review).

Managing and Using MySQL, hereafter referred to as MU, is about getting started with using this wonderful database program. First off I need to point out that I couldn't help but take a liking to the book when its authors used the rock group Jethro Tull in some of their examples and even went so far as use its primary member, Ian Anderson for additional examples. From the start I knew the authors must be full of wit, intelligence, and good taste!

MU's topic coverage includes the following areas: Introduction, MySQL Administration, MySQL Programming, and MySQL Reference. In the introduction the authors provide you with a bit of background about MySQL, where it came from and where it is going. They next help you to install the application and then provide an introduction to SQL as implemented by MySQL along with some administrative information.

The second section covers tuning your database and hardware, ensuring that you have a secure environment and pointing out the pitfalls in databases, applications and systems. It also includes a decent introduction to database design and normalization. A weighty topic to say the least, but one which the authors manage to cover in a concise and informative manner.

The third section covers more specifics such as database architecture and working with various languages and MySQL. The languages covered here are Perl, Python, PHP, C and Java. The section on PHP covers additional important elements such as securing user data, session management and writing data.

The fourth section is largely a reference section and somewhat redundant if you already have the MySQL Reference Manual. However, different examples are always good when one is attempting to learn something new. The specific reference areas covered here are SQL Syntax for MySQL, MySQL data types, Operators and Functions, MySQL PHP API, C and Python DB-API.

What is particularly refreshing about MU's coverage is that even items which are not specifically about MySQL get a fair shake. For example, the chapter covering the use of PHP with MySQL provides a wonderfully clear and concise explanation on some key aspects such as security and sessions. If you are looking to embrace MySQL, it's worth considering Managing and Using MySQL.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to:




© Copyright 2000-2006 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Forums Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe