MySQL – The Golden Retriever

MySQL – The Golden Retriever

Do you know what is common among these three web sites – Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia? Other than of course the ability to search through millions of pages of information, sort the results and rank them, all in a matter of seconds? A database management system called MySQL.

A database management system allows you to store data and provides the ability to sort, search and retrieve data. MySQL is the most popular Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that uses the Structured Query Language (SQL) to add data to a database, retrieve it, update it and also process it. MySQL is powerful enough to allow multiple users to work with it at the same time, providing fast access to them all and at the same time ensures that unauthorized persons are not given access. Compared to commercially available databases that require you to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for a license, MySQL is a bargain because it’s free to install and use.

MySQL is not just popular because it’s free and open source though that does add to its appeal – it is popular because it has great processing speed, proven reliability and excellent security features.

Most importantly it offers tremendous ease of use and flexibility. MySQL is completely portable and can be used on Unix, Linux and Windows systems.

However, what has made MySQL the defacto choice for databases on millions of web sites is the way it can be used in combination with PHP (a popular scripting language used mainly in web development) to deliver dynamic web pages. It is this powerful combination that has led to the creation of some stunning Web 2.0 applications like digg.com or del.icio.us or in the development of community networking software like phpBB or phpNuke.

You may wonder if this combination of MySQL and PHP works well for all kinds of web sites. Well, if you are planning on starting a portal for a bank with millions of account holders and with extremely sensitive transactions taking place every second, you may want to bring in other databases for comparison on security, reliability and maintaining transaction integrity. However, for most small or medium-scale web sites, MySQL is a perfect choice. Whether you are operating a medium sized e-commerce web site or running a high traffic networking portal, you will be more than happy with the speed, reliability and security that MySQL provides. In fact, there are few databases that match the speed of MySQL for small or medium web sites.

Another important feature of MySQL is that obtaining upgrades, security patches or help with your installation is easy. There is a very large development community associated with MySQL. This community continues to add new features to MySQL and act almost immediately on any bug that is reported to them. There is an even larger user community that interacts through blogs and forums and here you will find answers to most of your MySQL related questions.

MySQL is being used increasingly with PHP and many other open source components to develop and deliver cutting edge Web 2.0 applications. MySQL is so popular because it’s open source, fast, secure and reliable. It’s golden!

Kurt R. Hansen