The unexpected pleasure of reading books about databases is that they are often written by authors with highly organised minds. Paul DuBois and his editors at New Riders have assembled MySQL
with a clarity and lucidity that inspires confidence in the subject matter: a (nearly) freely-re-distributable SQL-interpreting database client-server primarily geared for UNIX systems but maintained for Windows platforms as well. What isn't "free" about MySQL (the application) is its server's commercial use; all clients and non-commercial server use are free. DuBois's tome isn't free either, but its list price is modest in light of its own and its namesake's value.
The volume is superbly organised in 12 chapters and 10 appendices and contains a concise table of contents and an expansive 50-page index for relational information extraction. It is peppered with references to the on-line HTML documentation that comes with the source and binary distributions (which are available and trivially-installable in stable rpm and tar releases).
The first third of MySQL is an excellent instruction tool for database newbies; the second third is a detailed reference for MySQL developers; and the last third consists of clearly annotated appendices, including C, Perl (but not Python), and PHP interfaces.
Perhaps as an indication of the collective will of the developers of MySQL, DuBois does not separate Window 95/98/NT design or development specifics from its main discussions. Platform-independent design is a goal, not a reality, and users will have to rely on newsgroups and mailing lists for details. Moreover, security issues are addressed in a mere 18 pages, a large part of which is devoted to standard UNIX file and network-access permissions. Next-to-nothing is mentioned about defence against common hacking strategies, the use of secure shell interfaces or access encryption.
Although it is nearly 800 pages, DuBois's book is gratefully not encyclopaedic. It is a valuable précis of the MySQL database, and its easy-to-skim look and feel will make it an excellent browse for database experts who want to know what is and is not possible within MySQL, the application. --Peter Leopold, Amazon.com
From the Back Cover
In MySQL, Paul DuBois provides you with a comprehensive guide to one of the most popular relational database systems. As an important contributor to the online documentation for MySQL, Paul uses his day-to-day experience answering questions users post on the MySQL mailing list to pinpoint the problems most users and administrators encounter. The principal MySQL developer, Monty Widenius, along with a network of his fellow developers, reviewed the manuscript, providing Paul with the kind of insight no one else could supply. Instead of merely giving you a general overview of MySQL, Paul teaches you how to make the most of its capabilities. Through two sample databases that run throughout the book, he gives you solutions to problems youll likely face. He helps you integrate MySQL efficiently with third-party tools, such as PHP and Perl, enabling you to generate dynamic Web pages through database queries. He also teaches you to write programs that access MySQL databases.