A Fast Way to Learn MySQL

I've been doing development work for quite a while and up until my recent switch to Mac I had been doing that work using Microsoft technologies; on the database side I was using Microsoft SQL Server. When I started playing around with Ruby on Rails I also needed to switch out the underlying database I was using, settling in on the wildly popular MySQL.

Though there is a huge amount of information available online for MySQL I still like purchasing technical books and I cast about for a decent entry level book on the topic. What I found was Ben Forta's MySQL Crash Course. If you are trying to learn MySQL, especially if you are new to SQL in general, this book is a must buy, especially given the price.

The presentation is consistent throughout and Ben frames most commands with Input, Output and Analysis. He demonstrates what a particular command looks like in Input, displays the results of the command in Output and then discusses the nuances of the command in Analysis. His writing style is extremely easy to understand and makes walking through the examples interesting and informative.

This book does not really cover installing MySQL in any kind of detail. Since that's highly dependent on the version you will be using, the OS you are running it on, etc. that's best handled by web resources or from the MySQL web site. The book very briefly covers things like backup and performance tuning but those topics are better served in other places. Finally, if you're already a SQL expert then this book may be of limited value to you. I was quite rusty in my SQL skills so this book served more as a refresher for me and covered some of the MySQL specific nuances like full text searching.

If you have been wanting to learn more about MySQL and want a good desktop reference book that will help you master the basics quickly I recommend you grab a copy.

Got another MySQL book you like / recommend? Please drop a note in the comments.


Allen said…
Thank you so much for your insight and recommendations. They are tremendously useful to me, a seasoned computer user but developing newbie. I get a 'real guy' perspective that is so handy.
David Alison said…
@Allen: If you're going to be doing anything at all that includes MySQL then this book would be a great starting point. It's a little too light for anyone that is very familiar with SQL already but I really like Forta's writing style. Very quick and easy read.
Anonymous said…
Forta's book is also available through O'Reilly's Safari online subscription service. Safari is great for renting a title for six months or a year, then replacing it with a revised edition or a different book.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the review and post, David. I'm glad that you enjoyed the book, and truly appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on it.

--- Ben Forta
David Alison said…
@Ben: Glad you saw the review Ben. I really enjoyed the book; you have a great way of presenting the information so that it's really easy to understand.

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