Book Review: MySQL Cookbook

April 03, 2007
Ganadeva Bandyopadhyay

MySQL Cookbook (Paul DuBois, O'Reilly, 2nd ed.) is for tackling the MySQL database chores in terms of quick recipes and examples. The examples and recipes also cover using Perl, PHP, Python, Java and Ruby to retrieve and display data from the MySQL server. It is spread over 20 chapters and 4 appendices.

There are the ready made recipes and hints for the usage of entire range of the MySQL database operations ranging from using the MySQL client program to advanced topics like using multiple tables, statistical techniques, using stored routines, triggers and events. There is also the discussion for using MySQL for the Web in the later chapters.

Some of the important discussions include storing images into MySQL and retrieve them for display on the web pages, getting LOAD DATA to read the data files properly or find the invalid values in the data file, using strict mode to prevent entry of bad data into the database, copying a table or a database to another server, generating sequence numbers to use as the unique row identifiers, writing stored procedures and functions, using view as a virtual table, setting up triggers that activate to perform the specific data-handling operations when inserting or updating the table rows, creating the database events that execute according to a schedule.

One of the important chapters in this book gives the tips and recipes for writing web-based MySQL scripts. This allows the user to create the dynamic pages from database content or collect information for storage to the database. There is discussion on configuring Apache to run Perl,Ruby, PHP and Python scripts and how to configure Tomcat to run Java scripts written using the JSP notation. There is also the discussion for the overview of the Java Standard Tag Library (JSTL) that is used heavily for JSP pages in the closing chapters.

The author has been considerate for the beginning user of the MySQL database by giving the tips such as setting the PATH environment variable to allow the user not used to the terminal to run the executable without giving the entire path repeatedly. One of the appendices' gives a general overview of the JSP and installation instructions for the Tomcat web server. This is helpful for the readers needing to install the Tomcat server and writing the pages using the JSP notation.

The book is a useful tool and reference for getting the quick fixes and hints for solving the day-to-day and some of the advanced concerns of the regular users for MySQL, the database developers and the DBAs.

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