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First Look: MySQL 5.1 Open Source Database

MySQL 5.1 was released by Sun Microsystems in April, but I decided to test it out this month. I downloaded the Windows version of this open source database management app and gave it a spin.

The setup script added the MySQL server component with minimal interaction on my part. A wizard helped me perform the initial configuration and define a root password. After that, MySQL was fully functional and I was able to get to work right away.

I tested MySQL with a GUI frontend. Database operations were very fast during my test run, even with my larger databases. I did not encounter any bugs or problems during the tests.

I was extremely impressed with how easy it was to deploy MySQL 5.1 on a Windows system. In contrast, installation on other platforms (such as Linux) has typically been much more difficult.

MySQL 5.1 includes extensive documentation, with a SQL language reference in addition to MySQL troubleshooting tips. The language reference is an exceptional addition to the package, since many software manuals only teach the user how to operate the software itself.

By default, MySQL 5.1 uses a command line environment for running SQL statements. SQL code must by typed directly into the terminal by the user. When SELECT and SHOW queries are executed on the command line, the data are presented in a nice tabular format. However, distortion can occur if your terminal window is not wide enough. It can cause the text to wrap to the next line.

Expert users may prefer the command line. Other users may wish to install a front-end, such as phpMyAdmin or HeidiSQL, which can make working with databases and tables easier. MySQL has powerful server-side and clustering functionality. However, it is also very useful on the client side for smaller applications, especially when combined with a GUI front-end.

MySQL 5.1 is definitely worth a try, with its many new features listed here. The database app works with Windows x64, Mac OS X and various forms of Linux and UNIX OSes. You can download Version 5.1 at this link.

About the Author

Will Kraft is a Web designer, technical consultant and freelance writer. He can be reached at will@willkraftblog.com. Also, check out his blog at http://www.willkraftblog.com.

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