MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition
Solutions & Examples for Database Developers and DBAs
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2006
Pages: 980

Along with MySQL's popularity has come a flood of questions about solving specific problems, and that's where this Cookbook is essential. Designed as a handy resource when you need quick solutions or techniques, the book offers dozens of short, focused pieces of code and hundreds of worked-out examples for programmers of all levels who don't have the time (or expertise) to solve MySQL problems from scratch.

The new edition covers MySQL 5.0 and its powerful new features, as well as the older but still widespread MySQL 4.1. One major emphasis of this book is how to use SQL to formulate queries for particular kinds of questions, using the mysql client program included in MySQL distributions. The other major emphasis is how to write programs that interact with the MySQL server through an API. You'll find plenty of examples using several language APIs in multiple scenarios and situations, including the use of Ruby to retrieve and format data. There are also many new examples for using Perl, PHP, Python, and Java as well.

Other recipes in the book teach you to:

  • Access data from multiple tables at the same time
  • Use SQL to select, sort, and summarize rows
  • Find matches or mismatches between rows in two tables
  • Determine intervals between dates or times, including age calculations
  • Store images into MySQL and retrieve them for display in web pages
  • Get LOAD DATA to read your data files properly or find which values in the file are invalid
  • Use strict mode to prevent entry of bad data into your database
  • Copy a table or a database to another server
  • Generate sequence numbers to use as unique row identifiers
  • Create database events that execute according to a schedule
  • And a lot more

MySQL Cookbook doesn't attempt to develop full-fledged, complex applications. Instead, it's intended to assist you in developing applications yourself by helping you get past problems that have you stumped.

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oreillyMySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition

(based on 7 reviews)

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Every MySQL 'cook' Needs this

By thejartender (The Jar Bar).

from Borgund, Norway

About Me Designer, Developer

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition:

      Having purchased the first edition as an ebook from Oreilly, I was happy to receive the updated version for free (thank you Oreilly).

      Oreilly Cookbooks provide me with exactly what I need in an easy-to-find-it format. You can trust me with this as I fell ill with a brain tumor in 2010 and suffered brain damage due to surgery, but thanks to books like these from Oreilly, it is still possible to continue doing what I love.

      My only annoyance is lack of information on tuning your MySQL server for optimal performance. A few configuration examples would enhance what is already a fantastic book.

      Things like session timeouts and increasing memory allowance come to mind.


      I needed a good mysql review - this was great for that purpose

      By Edmonton Linux User Group

      from Edmonton

      Comments about oreilly MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition:

      I do not have the original edition, but I do have a review of it in front of me as I write this. We are seeing approximately the same number of pages previously (under 1000), but now there are 287 recipes versus the previous 314, 20 chapters versus the previous 19, and four appendices. I can't say what what was taken out and what was added, so I am wondering if it may be worthwhile to locate the original edition, just in case I'm missing something useful.

      Apparently, the original edition did not have much in the way of examples with various language APIs, but this edition has example code for Perl, PHP, Python, Java, and Ruby.

      The organization seems typical of other books in the Cookbook series, so it should feel familiar. Though the book's audience is for database developers and DBAs, I think it could be used as an instructional manual, as the recipies start out with very basic MySQL client program interactions and build to using all kinds of useful features. And, of course, if/when you have a specific problem to solve, you can simply page to the appropriate chapter in the table of contents, and see if it's there.

      I also found that it was a good book to browse through. I needed a good review before starting a new database project - I haven't actively done database for a bit - and this was great for that purpose. I was able to identify some solutions that are applicable to my project, so that was a definite bonus.

      Great book. It will be kept handy while I'm working, and close at hand on my bookshelf, otherwise.

      ELUG Review (


      Treasure Trove of MySQL Recipes

      By Larry

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition:

      At 900+ pages this book addresses a lot of common SQL tasks. And that's what a good cookbook should do. Not only does it present the SQL queries in the MySQL dialect, it also covers how to pump those queries through Pearl, Ruby, PHP, Python, and Java APIs.

      As an added bonus you can actually use this book to learn SQL. I thought the chapter on JOINS was especially well written.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


      True to the Title

      By Conrad Shultz

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition:

      As indicated, this book is true to its title. It is a cookbook, by which I mean it contains a great number of (generally useful) recipes of varying complexity, but lacks detail and analysis that a more focused text would have.

      Mr. DuBois and O'Reilly publishing are clearly targeting a wide audience: the recipes range from frighteningly simple (e.g. 3.1, Specifying Which Columns to Select) to fairly sophisticated (e.g. 12.14, Performing a Join Between Tables in Different Databases). The recipes are typically clearly written, with ample supporting code examples and few typographical errors.

      I must also note that Mr. DuBois nicely avoids a pitfall many authors (the competence of whom I have to question) in this genre encounter: failure to weave security considerations into the text. While other books often mention security as an afterthought, or worse include code examples featuring disasters like non-escaped strings (hello, SQL injection!), DuBois explicitly points out the need to sanitize input and writes code examples that demonstrate the use of prepared statements in best-practices.

      Unfortunately, in other areas he is less thorough. For example, only passing mention is made of the (possible) dependence of FULLTEXT indexes on choice of storage engine. There is an entire chapter on handling duplicate rows, but the oft-needed (and non-obvious) process for removing pseudo-duplicate rows differing only by a primary key field is not directly addressed. Stored procedures, triggers, and other new additions to MySQL are among the least-well understood but most powerful features of the database engine, yet astonishingly little space is spent on them. (I could understand not discussing them in depth as there are other books available, but length did not seem to be a concern anywhere else in this book.)

      In summary, the book is an excellent resource for novices and experts alike - but only as a starting point. To return to the cooking analogy, the book at times feels like it is loaded down with recipes on how to add sugar to flour, but omits recipes on how to ice the cake.


      For anybody who uses MySQL""

      By Justin Pease

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition:


      Good. Page numbers and section title can be found on the bottom of every page.


      From the book: "This book should be useful for anybody who uses MySQL, ranging from individuals[...] to professional database and web developers."

      That is a pretty broad range, basically from introductory to advanced. Nevertheless I would have to say that the book meets this challenge well. This book should be of use to anybody who uses MySQL.


      I have to say that I have fallen for Cookbook style books. While I still thoroughly enjoy more theory heavy books, cookbooks can really deliver in the immediate practicality department.

      The MySQL Cookbook is a good example of this. This book has dozens upon dozens of recipes that will likely have some measure of application in whatever MySQL dependent system you are working on.

      Each recipe contains a brief "Problem" scenario, followed by an often equally brief "Solution", and finally a more lengthy discussion that shows how to actually implement the solution.


      I am very pleased with this book. Mr. DuBois and O'Reilly did a great job. For instance, one of the things I especially like is that often multiple solutions are offered. For example if you were to look up Section 6.6 "Extracting Parts of Dates or Times" you will find the solution lists 3 possible options. The discussion section contains 5 pages of examples of how you might use those options to extract the desired data.

      If you fit in to the intended audience of "anybody who uses MySQL", I would highly recommend this book.


      MySQL help!

      By Dave Walz-Burkett

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition:

      The MySQL Cookbook weighs in at over 940 pages and will help you find quick answers to everything from beginner-level basics up through dba and software developer tricks.

      The book is a collection of real-world tasks and compliments Paul's DuBois' other MySQL books very well. It goes beyond basic use and admin-level goodies - it has loads of code examples as well. As a software developer using MySQL for many projects, I find the MySQL Cookbook indispensible.


      Thick and Lovely

      By Chris Charlton

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly MySQL Cookbook, 2nd Edition:

      If you deal with MySQL on a daily or weekly basis then this book is a perfect go-to. So many scenarios (recipes) are covered, from simple to fairly advanced.

      This second edition is almost twice as thick as the first, but that doesn't mean it's too much to handle since you wouldn't entirely read it from cover to cover because you'll want to go try out so much of it.

      This really is worth space on a shelf (digital or not).

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