Many sophisticated topics appear in this comprehensive manual, ranging from the hitches you may run into when first installing MySQL to internals that will help you tune your queries. MySQL Reference Manual contains all the comprehensive reference material one would expect for building the product, running administrative utilities, and using various API as well as MySQL's rich version of SQL. In addition, you can turn a page and find such unexpected riches as:
* A thorough comparison of MySQL with SQL standards and other databases
* A discussion of privileges and suggested uses of privileges to enhance security
* Directions for replicating a database and for running several MySQL servers on a single system
* Directions for initializing a database from a flat file
* Guidelines for estimating the performance of different queries
* A far-reaching discussion of optimization, with reference to the implementation of MySQL
* Investigations of the differences between data types and the pros and cons of each type of number, string, or timestamp
* An extended inquiry into the effects of using delayed inserts
* A candid explanation of why various errors occur and how to recover from them
* Tips for weighted, full-text searches
* Detailed descriptions of the features, strengths, and weaknesses of available table formats
* A guide to adding new functions to MySQL
No serious MySQL user should be without this book.
But there is one area in which the online form is more useful: searching. By opening the MySQL manual in a text editor, one can search it, making the poor organization of the manual less of a problem.
The printed copy suffers from the same poor organization (indeed, it is the same as - or very, very close to - the online manual) but without the ameliorating factor of searchability. The index is not very good, but even if it was better, the scattering of information throughout the book would make for lengthy index entries.
Take security for example. What is the recommended process for securing a fresh MySQL installation? Start at the Table of Contents: Aha! 4.3 "MySQL User Account Management" Sounds promising. P. 249. GRANT and REVOKE Syntax? Not what I had in mind. I just want to know about the right way to secure the system and create new users. Back to the Contents. 2.4 "Post-Installation Setup and Testing" P.113. Nope, nothing there.
Last resort: The index. Security, against hackers, p.227. Nope. But that page is in section 4.2 "General Security Issues and the MySQL Access Privilege System." Now that sounds like it. Start reading section 4.2.1 on p. 224... "If you are able to connect successfully to the server without being asked for a password, you have problems! ... Review the MySQL installation instructions..." I thought I just did that. Now I know the secret is burried in the installation instructions. Back to Chapter 2. Still no dice.
Give up and install phpMyAdmin.
While I don't doubt that the answers to this and a myriad other questions are in there somewhere, the poor structure of the book makes it extremely hard to find anything.
A complete rewrite would do the trick.
Lack of a printed reference manual has long been a complication of using MySQL, although the electronic documentation has been great for the last couple of years! As author and MySQL developer Monty Widenius stated about the book (MySQL web site announcement), "The printed version of our highly-used reference manual will be an essential resource for any MySQL user, and it will complement the wide selection of MySQL books that are currently available."
This one, as the actual reference manual is a great complement to Paul DuBois' popular 'MySQL', which serves as the users manual. Together, these are the printed resources necessary to be a power administrator and user of MySQL! Thanks Monty!