Friday, August 8, 2008

Foundations Technology: MySQL

I can understand why Small Business owners find it difficult to get started with SQL databases. There is something reassuring about seeing all of your data immediately accessible and editable in the rows and columns of a Symphony spreadsheet or even in legacy Microsoft products like Excel and Access. Leaving that familiar environment behind and moving to a new data modelling paradigm with SQL (Structured Query Language) is a big step.

It's not the reliability of the SQL technology which is the concern. Like Lotus Foundations Server, MySQL has a ten year development history since the first Windows version of MySQL was released on January 8, 1998. MySQL is a core component in the open source LAMP development environment.

The problem is that getting your head around statements like...

FROM mowers WHERE price > 400.00
ORDER BY brand;

... is a big step when all you've been used to doing is a two column Data Sort on your spreadsheet and then scrolling down to find the right price point. I can sympathise with the fear factor but ignoring that challenge will keep your business permanently down at the S end of the SMB market.

Unfortunately I can't teach you SQL in a half-page blog entry. You can read more about MySQL at the MySQL home page or if you want some free on-line training for MySQL then check out a combined PHP-MySQL tutorial or Tizag, or for a more advanced developers try MySQL Tutorial or Tutorials Point.

BTW MySQL is also a good a strategic investment for larger organizations that are trying to wean themselves off the habit of paying annual licence fees to Microsoft for SQL Server. Reminds me of that anti-drug campaign from years ago...

Just say No!



AxelJanssen said...

The Head First SQL book looks usefull to get started on databases. It uses mySQL heavily as reference rdbms.

Bob BAehr said...

php and mySQL Bible is a good learning and reference guide, too.

Bob Baehr
The Unofficial Poster Child For Lotus Notes, Domino, and Lotus Foundations