Book Review – MySQL Workbench: Data Modeling & Development

MySQL Workbench: Data Modeling & Development
Michael McLaughlin
Oracle Press
ISBN 978-0-07-178188-5

MySQL Workbench is one of those tools that quickly becomes invaluable. It is a SQL query tool, a data modeler, and an admin tool all in one. As such a complicated tool, there is a bit of a learning curve before one can move beyond the basic functionality. Now there is a book that not only is a guided tour of MySQL Workbench but it contains little snippets full of DBA and system admin tricks that make this a must have for anyone using Workbench.

The book is divided into six sections that starts with configuration. This part of the book assumes now previous database or MySQL background as it gently guides you through the installation of the key components on mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. The author’s teaching background is very evident here as the material is ‘undergraduate proof’ and very clearly written. The illustrations are large, clear, and informative.

The second section covers data modeling including creating tables, reverse engineering schemas, and creating routines. This section covers it all from the theory of data modeling through building complex schemas with foreign keys. The discussion on the choice of keys in tables should be mandatory reading for any DBA.

The third section delves into using Workbench for query development and the management of SQL scripts. This section is short and to the point.

Many folks use Workbench as an admin tool and the fourth section covers setting up connections, user management (MySQL has no predefined user roles but Workbench allows the set of users with privileges for various task like DBA, backup administrator, and such). Importing, migrating and exporting databases is extensively covered.

The book finishes up with chapter questions (and you need to be careful; some of the questions are tougher than they look), how to extend Workbench, and setting MS SQL Server (to use the migration tools).

Does the book lack anything? Well, it does not cover the recent MySQL Utilities that allow the cloning of a server for replication and replication fail over. But those are very new and no doubt will picked up for a future revision.

But do you need this book? Yes, if you are new to Workbench and want to get up to speed quickly. Yes if you are getting into data modeling. And yes if you are not a full time DBA and want to use this free tool as your admin interface. Old, barnacle crusted DBAs my not need a copy but they should buy them for their juniors.


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