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by Paul DuBois
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Good programming--which is to say, programming that yields both efficient code and a profitable life for the programmer--depends on not reinventing the wheel. If someone else has solved the problem you're facing (and someone almost always has), you'd be foolish to waste your energy figuring out your own solution. MySQL Cookbook presents solutions to scores of problems related to the MySQL database server. Readers stand a good chance of finding a ready-made solution to problems such as querying databases, validating and formatting data, importing and exporting values, and using advanced features like session tracking and transactions. Paul DuBois has done a great job assembling efficient solutions to common database programming problems, and teaches his readers a lot about MySQL and its attendant APIs in the process.
DuBois organizes his cookbook's recipes into sections on the problem, the solution stated simply, and the solution implemented in code and discussed. The implementation and discussion sections are the most valuable, as they contain the command sequences, code listings, and design explanations that can be transferred to outside projects. The main gripe readers will have about MySQL Cookbook is that the author, in his effort to cover the range of MySQL-friendly programming languages, uses different languages in his solutions to various problems. You'll see a Perl solution to one programming challenge (Perl, in fact, is the most frequently used language, followed by PHP), a Python fix for the next, and a Java sample after that. Readers have to hope that they find a solution in the language they're working with, or that they're able to transliterate the one DuBois has provided. It's usually not a big problem. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to make MySQL databases do your bidding--in terms of queries, table manipulation, data formatting, transactions, and Web interfaces--through the database server's command line interfaces and (more importantly) through the MySQL APIs of Perl, PHP, Java, and Python. Particularly excellent coverage deals with formatting dates and times, management of null values, string manipulation, and import/export techniques.
The new edition covers MySQL 5.0 and its powerful new features, as well as the older but still widespread MySQL 4.1. One major emphasis of this book is how to use SQL to formulate queries for particular kinds of questions, using the mysql client program included in MySQL distributions. The other major emphasis is how to write programs that interact with the MySQL server through an API. You'll find plenty of examples using several language APIs in multiple scenarios and situations, including the use of Ruby to retrieve and format data. There are also many new examples for using Perl, PHP, Python, and Java as well.
Other recipes in the book teach you to:
MySQL Cookbook doesn't attempt to develop full-fledged, complex applications. Instead, it's intended to assist you in developing applications yourself by helping you get past problems that have you stumped.
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