MySQL 5th Edition by Paul Dubois

June 3, 2013

MySQL 5th Edition by Paul Dubois

MySQL by Paul Dubois recently was reissued in a fifth edition. I purchased my first edition of this book more than a dozen years ago and it has become heavily dog-eared, festooned with Post-Its, and hand annotated over the years. It has proven to be the ‘go-to’ book when other books or the manuals did not explain to my satisfaction any questions that have popped up.

The author is part of the amazing MySQL Documentation Team for Oracle and certainly knows the subject. At 1,154 pages it is not light in weight nor light in detail. The chapters include ‘Data Types’, ‘Writing MySQL Programs using C’, ‘Security and Access Control’, ‘System, Status and User Variable Reference’, ‘Query Optimization’, ‘Writing MySQL Programs using PHP’, and ‘The MySQl Data Dictionary’. The layout is easy on the eyes and the examples are able to spotlight the idea being covered fully. The text itself reads easily and amazingly clear. This is the most complete single book on MySQL and the one book you would bring if you have to use MySQL on the fabled desert island that allows only one book. The book is detailed enough for gnarled DBAs to discover undiscovered gems while clear enough for a junior MySQL-er to be able to get through a rough spot.

if you run across this book in a store, head directly to chapter 13 on Security and Access Control where ‘How to Steal Data’ provides any DBA a Steven King level horror story that will provide nightmare fodder for years to come. The author then guides you through MySQL security and provides the best details on Proxy Accounts I have found. Other chapters are equally profound and perfectly detailed.

It does cover some of the new features of MySQL 5.6 but 5.6 came out after this book was committed to publishing. This is a minor problem and should not stop anyone from getting a copy of this book in their hands ASAP.

And I apologize to Paul and his publisher for what I will do to this book in the next few years as I make notes, add Post-Its, fold corners on certain pages. This is a physically beautiful book that will look like a sea anemone as I make good use of it.


Book Review – MySQL Workbench: Data Modeling & Development

May 1, 2013

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.