Today, Vikram shows us the basics of a database and are introduced to concepts like Database Management Systems and Relational Database Management Systems. We are also given a thorough overview of MySQL and its features. This excerpt comes from chapter one of MySQL: The Complete Reference, by Vikram Vaswani (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN 0-07-222477-0, 2004).
To quote its official web site, MySQL is “the world’s most popular open source database.” No small claim, that, but the numbers certainly seem to bear it out: according to recent statistics published on the MySQL web site, MySQL is used in more than 4 million systems worldwide, with more than 25,000 copies of the MySQL database server downloaded every day.
As a reliable, feature-rich database server, MySQL has applications in business, education, science, and engineering—a fact amply demonstrated by MySQL AB’s customer list, which includes such names as Motorola, Sony, NASA, HP, Xerox, and Silicon Graphics. MySQL software today powers a variety of applications, including Internet web sites, e-commerce applications, search engines, data warehouses, embedded applications, high-volume content portals, and mission-critical software systems.
It’s no surprise that MySQL’s primary applications today lie in the arena of the web. As web sites and web-based distributed applications grow ever more complex, it becomes more and more important that data be managed efficiently to improve transactional efficiency, reduce response time, and enhance the overall user experience. Consequently, a pressing need exists for a data management solution that is fast, stable, and secure—one can be deployed and used with minimal fuss and that provides solid underpinnings for future development.
MySQL fits the bill for a number of reasons. Its proven track record generates confidence in its reliability and longevity; its open-source roots ensure rapid bug fixes and a continued cycle of enhancements (not to mention a lower overall cost); its portability and support for various programming languages and technologies make it suitable for a wide variety of applications; and its low cost/high performance value proposition makes it attractive to everyone from home users to small- and medium-sized businesses and government organizations.
While MySQL is one of the most full-featured open-source database servers currently available, it doesn’t provide a few things...yet! Here’s a quick list:
Stored procedures Predefined sequences of SQL statements that are compiled and saved within the database itself for more efficient execution.
Triggers Database actions that are automatically executed when a certain event (such as a change in the data within a table) occurs.
Views Virtual tables derived from the content of existing tables, which can be manipulated in exactly the same way as regular tables. The MySQL development roadmap indicates that these features will all be included in subsequent versions of the software.
Remember: this is chapter one of MySQL: The Complete Reference, by Vikram Vaswani (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN 0-07-222477-0, 2004). Vikram is the founder of Melonfire, and has had numerous articles featured on Dev Shed. Buy this book now.