Mastering phpMyAdmin 2.8

Browsing through your favorite library, or online store, you might say to yourself, “A book about phpMyAdmin? What’s there that I don’t know already?”.

Mastering phpMyAdmin 2.8
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Well I’ll tell you. Having worked with phpMyAdmin for the last seven years, I did only know about 10% of the options which are available in phpMyAdmin, if you want to use it to the fullest extent – and so promises the cover, “Increase your MySQL productivity and control by discovering the real power of phpMyAdmin.”

On a sidenote, this is to my knowledge the only book solely about phpMyAdmin – while there are at least a thousand books on MySQL. Most of those books also cover a very basic installation of phpMyAdmin. But none of those to this extend!

The author of this book, Marc Delisle, is an active contributor to the phpMyAdmin project since December 1998. Thanks to him, we get phpMyAdmin in the language we appreciate the most today. He created the first multi-lingual version of phpMyAdmin in ’98.

Why we use phpMyAdmin

The reason why we use phpMyAdmin today is because there is this web hosting account with a database – which in 99% of all cases is MySQL – and when dynamic websites are build, tables in the databases need to be created, then data is entered and the developer has to check up what’s under the hood when the applications (or a set of scripts) around it are build.

More than often database administrators also manage the setup of databases and users through phpMyAdmin because it is so much more convenient than typing in long commands using MySQL client interface.

But it does not matter what phpMyAdmin is used for, the installation is often soon neglected once the initial stage is mastered and the development gets past it and the applications are built.

Despite my usual installations of phpMyAdmin, I read this book over the course of two weeks and I am not left with a completely different phpMyAdmin than I knew before. One I can apply to various day-to-day tasks, one that really saves me time.

So what’s inside?

The book consits of 19 chapters which range from a basic introduction of phpMyAdmin (and its achievments for the Open Source community), an interface overview (and configuration), the setup on Windows and Unix/Linux, to data entry, searching, imports and exports, user and server administration.

One of the most enlightening chapters for me was “Character Sets and Collations”. Marc Delisle managed to explain everything in very plain and not so geeky English, which is a big plus since not just MySQL pros but also beginners will find this pleasant, which increases the overall benefit of this book for just about everyone.

Since all his knowledge comes on not even 300 pages, “Mastering phpMyAdmin 2.8” also makes a great companion for subway on your way to work. And I will take it with me because it’s so useful to have all the information ready if a new install comes along.

Another perspective

Something I constantly run into is, that I have to build administration interfaces for applications we roll out at work. For example, how easy is it to build a nice Ajax-enhanced form to collect data for the new Holiday sweepstakes? But then, what a pain is it really to build an interface to list all entries, to allow editing the data and so on.

Before this book I would have considered phpMyAdmin way to advanced to provide the public relation department with this tool to manage the collected data, but after working through those 19 chapters, I can see that you can actually configure phpMyAdmin to do a lot more, or even less in some cases, so other people can get the work done with it.

One of the coolest things ever (along with the explainations on Collations and Character Sets) is the chapter 16 on MIME-based transformations in this book.
Since it is not a secret that you can save files – for example pictures – into the database, and yes, there have been countless discussions online where people flame each other on why or why not to do this, phpMyAdmin has a pretty cool feature in the backhand.

So once you saved the picture to the database in a column of type BLOB (MEDIUMBLOB) you can make phpMyAdmin display a preview thumb of the picture the through MIME-based transformations. The upload of the picture to the database can be done through phpMyAdmin as well.

So once again, along with a now firm understanding about what Collations and Character Sets are for, this is by far my most favorite feature and chapter of the book. Especially since I already implemented this using the example from the book at work.

Conclusion

“Mastering phpMyAdmin 2.8” provides a more than comprehensive overview about what you can do with phpMyAdmin. This means that the book will take you beyond the basics of adding a user, creating a database for this user and adding some tables to it. You will become an expert working with an installation of phpMyAdmin which is just right for you, your tasks and duties.

This book really is a must-have on the shelf of everyone who deals with MySQL – be it from a developer or an administrative perspective.

In regard to the version of phpMyAdmin discussed in this book – I have applied most of the examples to version phpMyAdmin 2.9.0 and even more current releases of phpMyAdmin. All of them worked just as expected.

Product Rating:

Company:
Packt Publishing

Requirements:
n/a

Pricing:
$34.99

Reviewed by:
Till

Competition:
n/a

Pros:
Easy to read and understand for the novice and the pro. Full of tipps and tricks you never knew of before.

Cons:
None

Bottom Line:
This book really is a must-have on the shelf of everyone who deals with MySQL – be it from a developer or an administrative perspective.

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