MySQL, at the time of this writing, is on version 5.0.19, with the significant upgrade version 5.1 due out later in 2006. Since the first edition of this book was written (in 2002), there have been several important releases of MySQL: 4.0, 4.1, and 5.0. Each has added new features to the software (Table i.1), while changing some functionality in the process. For this reason, I cannot stress this enough: it is vitally important that you know and remember what version of MySQL you are using. In this book I will highlight features that are new to, or have changed in, later versions of MySQL. Paying attention to this will help minimize problems and frustrations.
Table i.1. Some of the significant new features, and in which version of MySQL they were added.
MySQL Feature Introductions
Full-Text Binary Mode Searches
5.0 and 5.1
SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language (depending upon whom you ask), is the language used to interact with practically every database application. It is a standardized language, meaning that the terms and syntax it supports depend upon the regulated standard. The current SQL standard was released in 2003.
MySQL, like most database applications, adheres to the standards for the most part. MySQL does not support a few features of standardized SQL and has its own particular terminology as well. This is true for most database applications. In this book I focus only on MySQL's implementation of SQL. Almost every SQL command you learn here will be applicable to all database applications, but there may be some minor distinctions. If you ever go from using MySQL to using PostgreSQL or Oracle or SQL Server, you should be fine, but you'll need to do a little research to smooth the transition.