Thursday, June 6, 2013

Resource Rundown: Intro to MySQL

I recently had a conversation with Eric about MySQL and SQL resources.  He was looking for some quick introductory material he could pass along to a connection.

Since I had a few good resources on-hand, I figured I would give a rundown of resources I suggest for those that are just looking to get some quick and dirty information on MySQL.  These MySQL resources, along with resources on a variety of topics, can also be found on our resources page.
  1. First, I would suggest watching the video embedded below from the edx.org cs50 class taught at Harvard.  One of the Teaching Fellows, Christopher Bartholomew, presents the basics of what a database is, and the basic queries performed on them.

    You can view the entire (quite extensive) course material from cs50 on edx.org here:

    https://www.edx.org/course/harvard-university/cs50x/introduction-computer-science/254



  2. Next, I would head to w3schools for a quick tutorial and reference on SQL syntax.  Even though w3schools can be a questionable source (I've heard a lot of people speak disparagingly about w3 because they don't necessarily present the most standards-based content), I have found it helpful for giving me an overview of new languages/frameworks/technologies/whathaveyou.  They also have little apps built into the tutorial so you can edit queries and see how it changes your result set.  Find the SQL section here: http://www.w3schools.com/sql/default.asp

  3. Now that you have your feet wet, it's time to put your SQL knowledge into practice.  As with most web technologies, there is a very comprehensive manual for MySQL, which is continuously updated and gives you great info straight from the horse's (or in this case, dolphin's) mouth.  The documentation for MySQL can be found here:
    http://dev.mysql.com/doc/

  4. Since you know a bit of MySQL vocabulary by now, you'll know how to ask your questions when you (inevitably) get stuck.  When you do have a question, you can either Google it, or head straight to Stack Overflow.  If you do Google your question, you'll probably be directed to Stack Overflow anyways.  If this is the first time you're hearing of Stack Overflow: get acquainted!  It is an amazing resource for web development (and some other topics too!).  The site is well maintained and has an amazing repository of community questions and answers.  Chances are somebody has already asked the same exact question you have; even better, chances are somebody answered that question too.  Here's the link to the most frequently asked MySQL questions on Stack Overflow:
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/mysql?sort=frequent&pagesize=15

That should be good enough to get you going.  If you have other questions about resources, or you have another introductory MySQL source that you use frequently, let us know in the comment section below!

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