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Beginning Databases with MySQL

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List Price: $39.99
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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 3.38

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: downloads gone
Comment: I found the book very useful, but a note of caution -
The downloadable code supporting the examples in the book seems to have diappeared; saw some refs to the publisher going out of business. Gonna have to type in the code, but I can live with that.

Customer Rating: 4
Summary: Not exactly for beginners!
Comment: Many excellent books have been written about database design, SQL and applications such as Oracle, Mysql and Access. With a few exceptions, I've generally been pleased with the books on the subject, and this book is no exception.

First, let me deal with the "beginning" in the title. It refers not to the proficiency of the intended reader but rather the book's tendency to start from square one and explain everything as if the reader knew absolutely nothing about mysql. Most books on this subject approach it in two ways: the systems approach (Chapter 1: Data Types, Chapter 2: Authentication, etc) and the tutorial approach (" First we need to install the program. Then we need to set up users and set up a simple database," etc). Although "systems" books usually prove more useful in the long run, tutorial books are easier to read and try to present a logical order in which to learn concepts. They generally have better examples and offer better strategies for performing elementary tasks. They also offer fuller explanations of the concepts and the mechanisms underlying an application or programming language. A good book can combine aspects of both types, but most books show a clear emphasis for one type over the other.

Beginning Databases with Mysql did an excellent job at explaining what is happening under the hood during certain tasks. After reading the chapter on transactions and locking, I feel for the first time I really understood that very important subject. The book did a great job of explaining various scenarios and how mysql processes them. The book did a good job in pointing out common mistakes that DBA's make when writing queries or updating tables, as well as precautions to observe while loading new data (using a temporary load table for example). The book does a good job in conveying how to accomplish basic tasks and write queries efficiently.

Beginning Databases with Mysql does spend time on advanced data selection. In addition to talking about union joins, outer joins and self-joins, as well as subqueries (and alternate ways that DBA's can accomplish these tasks even if Mysql doesn't support subqueries), the book stays abreast of what is changing in Mysql and talks about new developments, such as using Innodb tables for mysql transactions. I would have thought that a book like this would skimp on talking about administration and performance, but after reading the administration chapter, I've concluded that the information presented here is sufficient for my purposes.

The book also contains some extra's, such as graphical Mysql GUI's in a Windows environment (which I had never seen before). Significantly, though, the book does NOT discuss myphpadmin, the most common web-based interface, which would have been nice. The book spends a chapter each on the mysql API's for Perl, Php, and C++ . I only skimmed through the chapters on Perl and C++, but the PHP chapter seemed confusing at parts and probably not sufficient for me (idiotprogrammer that I am). The book also includes appendices on database limits, data types, mysql syntax and support for BLOB's. Each appendix was about two or three pages long.

The real question for the potential book buyer is whether to buy this book or the printed version of the official MYSQL documentation by Paul Dubois (with a new 2002 edition recently printed by Oreilly). I'm a big fan of the online MYSQL documentation, and I actually have been using the 1999 New Riders version of the same book before picking up this one, but after looking through the Wrox book, I can see the real value of an introductory text like this. Things are easy to find and everything is much more readable. I generally find the answer in the official MYSQL documentation as well, but only after reading 15 pages of comprehensive explanations that distract you from your main question. I don't consider myself an advanced database administrator and can say that this book suits 90-95% of my needs. For that remaining 5%, I can refer to the online documentation. For those who are already DBA's and have some experience designing new mysql databases, they may prefer the convenience of having the official documentation in book form, even if it is a little difficult to find things.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: For Beginners but good
Comment: I wanted a book to get me workng with MySQL. This book was adequate and very quickly got me chugging mysql commands. Although not really administrative material, its good enough to get one familiarized with the essentials.

Got some good looking tutorials and sample code to go with each one. Perfect book if you are a database newbie(the intro to databases could be invaluable) and need to manage a medium sized database with not too much traffic on it; hence the rating.