The jacket claims that this book will accommodate a variety of users, from students on a limited budget to self-employed individuals with no formal training. While SQL in Easy Steps is very reasonably priced, students and small business owners will have a hard time doing anything without previous database administration experience. The lone administrative example is hidden near the end of the book and isn't detailed as well as the rest of the examples:
GRANT FULL PRIVILEGES ON *.* to mony@localhost IDENTIFIED BY password WITH GRANT OPTION;
Furthermore, anyone who gained access to the monty@localhost account could do whatever he pleased, creating databases and tables, granting users whatever permissions they wanted... This is not a good way to secure your system.
It seemed strange that the book would discuss importing data using the
source command and not talk about backing up data using
mysqldump. (MySQL is used throughout the book, though
other databases are covered here and there).
Also missing is any mention of using MySQL with PHP, Perl, or other
languages. Some might consider the missing discussion on PHP/Perl a good
thing, since it means the book just sticks to the basics, but its
exclusion reduces the book's value to someone interested in using MySQL
to run her business. Though hacker types might not mind using the
mysql client to do everything, most small business owners
new to MySQL would probably prefer to set up a Web-based interface for
With all these problems, you might be wondering why I would
review/recommend the book at all. Though perhaps not as useful as it
could be for users completely new to SQL, it's a handy book if you
already know a little about SQL administration but are a little shaky on
joins and the myriad of
What's particularly good about this book is that following every
documented keyword is a good example. This is one of the few books I've
found with such extensive examples. I also like the fact that the MySQL
Open Source database is used over its non-Free relatives. Some examples
have a sidebar which tells how Oracle or Access differ, which makes
SQL in Easy Steps useful to users of non-Free databases.
Unlike my experience with the Dummies series of books, I actually paid attention to the warning/tips icons. The icons are different enough that they're recognizable at a glance, and most of the tips are useful.
It's likely that the publisher/author considered administration, but purposefully left it out because of the variety of ways available to perform administration tasks on various databases. Unfortunately, the topic of administration really cannot be avoided for a book like this to be truly useful to someone who has never touched a database before and is planning on actually using MySQL/SQL. The inexpensive price makes the book very attractive, but I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to MySQL because of the gaps in administration. As a second book, however, it's really handy for referencing simple SQL keywords.