Author: Ben Forta
Publisher: Addison-Wesley, 2011
Aimed at: New users of MariaDB who don’t know SQL
Pros:Clearly written and doesn’t stray from what you really need to know
Cons:Some underlying concepts are skimmed over
Reviewed by:Kay Ewbank
As an open source offshoot of MySQL, MariaDB may well tempt database novices. Does this book help?
MariaDB Crash Course is based on Ben Forta’s Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes, but is obviously designed for use with MariaDB, the offshoot of MySQL. MariaDB Crash Course is designed to take someone who’s new with databases from the absolute beginning of connecting to a MariaDB database all the way through ‘basic’ SQL, ending the main coverage with triggers, stored procedures and transactions. It is split into short, well explained chapters each concentrating on a single SQL command. The book is well laid out, the examples are simple and clear, and there’s very little waffling.
Some concepts are described in very basic terms, but the descriptions should be enough to give the reader a grasp of the underlying idea and why it’s important. This isn’t the book to go for if you’re trying to understand ideas such as third normal form in relational databases, but it’s not claiming to cover such material. It does what it says on the can, it gives a crash course in MariaDB.
The one caveat in this relates to the final section of the book. This looks at areas that are probably beyond the scope of the readership of the rest of the book - using different character sets and collation sequences, managing database users, reviewing log files, and improving performance. Forta does stick to the basics in each of these cases, so the chapter on improving performance is a two page list of dos and don’ts such as using UNION on multiple Selects rather than a sequence of OR conditions.
Overall, I thought the book was well written and well placed for its target audience. Of course, you may think that a database novice is unlikely to end up using MariaDB. However, the advantages MariaDB offers in terms of being open source, having Monty Widenius as one of its creators, and essentially of being Oracle-free MySQL may well tempt database novices.