Book Reviews

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Database Books

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Teach yourself MySQL in 21 days
Title:Teach yourself MySQL in 21 days
Author(s):Mark Maslakowski
Reviewer:Steve Pitchford

Firstly a confession - I didn't buy this book expecting to teach myself a great deal - I've been using Sybase for a couple of years, so I was already aware of RDBMS principles and the SQL language that goes along with them.

However, when I bought this book there wasn't a great deal of choice of books on MySQL, and after flicking through both the O'Reilly and SAMS publications, I opted for this one.

In a similar manner to a lot of the SAMS teachyourself books, this book is split into 21 sections, each representing a day of study, starting with an introduction to MySQL and RDBMS, and progressing through into MySQL administration. Each section is explained in a clear and consistent manner, and comes with questions to test the readers progression through the book.

The author appears to be a very strong advocate of MySQL, which is very apparent in the earlier chapters. Unfortunately I feel occasionally he goes too far, and fails to point out some of the drawbacks - such as the lack of stored procedures, foreign key constraint and triggers to name but a few. MySQL is an excellent product but does not have the feature of a lot of Enterprise RDBMSs.

Another slight problem with any book on MySQL is that MySQL evolves so rapidly that it will be hard for any publisher to keep up with it, casting a glance over the website, most of the features mentioned above are scheduled for later releases of Version 4.

In addition to introducing MySQL, interfacing the database to Perl and PHP get a section each, and there is also a section on ODBC which I ignored. The Perl section is quite short, although it does cover the basics, and there is an example application using Perl later in the book.

So in conclusion, I rather like this book. It gave me the essentials of MySQL in a few bus journeys, and it seems to be pitched at a good level for any newcomers to the world of the RDBMS. However whilst I occasionally return to it, my main source of reference remains the MySQL website.

My Verdict - Beginners have a lot to gain from this book, but people with experience of RDBMS may be best sticking to the website.