Monday, 4 April 2011

The MySQL Community Podcast and other MySQL Resources

Should you find yourself learning MySQL for professional gain or as a hobbyist interest there are some resources that you would be best advised engrossing yourself in to gain that extra inch. Considered a prime cut of opensource software, MySQL is very accessible and well documented. As you peel back the layers you will find a busy and extremely welcoming community ready to assist, collaborate and discuss reams of subject matter.

In terms of official resource you will find a plethora of subdomains. One of my regular stops is The custom built blog/news aggregator built by Arjen Lentz, is a rollup of articles submitted and labeled with the `mysql` keyword. Pop on over to read the latest musings from those giving their $0.02 on various topics. You will find plenty of articles on MySQL and frequently articles on forks, tools, findings and guides from some of the loudest voices in the MySQL ecosystem. Names like Lenz Grimmer, Guiseppe Maxia, Baron Schwartz and Ronald Bradford will promptly become familiar names of the MySQL database rockstars. Simply put it's an ace dynamic for the community and a real way to have your voice heard.

There are few more channels that I won't explore too much as they are pretty self explanatory if you're familiar with any interactive web platforms. The do exactly as it says on the tin and allows you to join and read the MySQL mailing lists. Both are places that can fast become bookmarks in your fave browser. They certainly have made it into my Chrome Bookmark Bar. So besides the 'official' channels (official in appearance anyway) there are some other forms of connecting with the community in an educational or troubleshooting capacity. If you're an IRC user already you can point your fave IRC client at the Freenode MySQL channel. Here you will find many of the most experienced DBAs and DEVs hiding behind their carefully chosen guises. If you're struggling with something in realtime try the IRC channel for some friendly advice. But be forewarned, if you've not tried to solve your own problem before hitting the channel (RTFM) don't be shocked when you're hounded out. I've seen lazy newbies shot down fast by asking shallow questions born from thinking freenode == free support.

My next mention on this whistle-stop tour of MySQL resources is the countless amount of great books written about the product and it's implementations. Browsing a few of the search results on Amazon (or your favourite online book retailer) you will notice that there have been hundreds of books written for MySQL. There is usually a coupling of MySQL with PHP, the popular 'M' & 'P' of LAMP. So depending what you want to learn there's something out there for you. Should you visit my office you'll be sure to find something with Paul DuBois' name on the spine and also the awesome O'Reilly published offerings; "High Performance MySQL" & "MySQL High Availability". I've also got "Expert PHP and MySQL", co-authored by the one and only Ronald Bradford, awaiting my attention. [ ISBN: 9780596807306, 9780596101718 and 9780470563120 respectively ]

So onwards to a format of MySQL ingestion that I've been enjoying and certainly learning from lately. It is the sole contribution to the audio movement in the MySQL community. The OurSQL Podcast is delightfully brought to us weekly by two more MySQL stars, Sheeri Cabral of Palominodb and Sarah Novotny from Blue Gecko. Available from iTunes or the OurSQLcast website so you can copy it to your non-branded mp3 player. Sheeri and Sarah have vast experience with MySQL, working in consultancy roles on one hand and feeding the community with the other. From the haunting title music (trust me it will be bouncing around in your head hours after hearing the latest episode) to the 'Ear Candy' and out-takes, the podcast is a great way to learn from some bonafide experts in the field without the consultancy bills. Sheeri and Sarah guide their listeners through various subjects on the show and are often joined by community favourites such as Brian Aker of Data Differential, Patrick Galbraith of Membase fame and Lenz Grimmer recently retired MySQL Community Relations Specialist. I'm sure that their contact list is far from exhausted and they will brandish many more interesting special guests for our listening pleasure. All the show notes are posted online so if you miss anything first time around you can bet your primary key that they have posted it on the episode's page. As the podcast continues to build popularity with the community the ladies are asking for your feedback via iTunes or their phone line (which you will hear on the podcast) dangling a "swag" shaped carrot on front of our noses for encouragement. So if you listen, be sure to let them know what you think, you might be boasting a shiny new OurSQL mug by the end of the week. A cool little feature that they run on the show is "Where you can see us" which is a run-through of their travel and physical appearances (in actual human form, no less!) across this shiny little globe. This leads nicely into meet ups and conferences.

Conferences and meetups are sweet! Although light on the ground here in the west of England they are certainly another avenue to connect with other MySQL evangelists and gurus alike. Keep your eyes peeled on London if in the UK or if you're lucky enough to be in an established MySQL locality there's a wealth of MySQL tracks through various conferences in the States and Europe. A fine way to see what-is-what conference and meetup-wise is keeping abreast of developments on or by tuning in to the podcast. One of the largest MySQL conferences is the O'Reilly MySQL Conference which is like the MySQL version of Disney World and this year is 11th - 14th of April hosted in Santa Clara CA.

I can't say I've been remotely thorough today. I've missed out the superb documentation, MySQL Forge, the, I didn't even mention Mark Callaghan's patching rants and probably loads more that you kind readers could mention in comments should you have the time to. I am going to sit in the dark and wait for the next installation of... "Sarah, Sheeri Optimise an SQL Query. Database is making me weary so I...." Ahhh get it out of my head!!!!!


  1. Believe it or not, the tune itself is our sound engineer's own song, called "Sara Jenny", that we parodied for the theme music. I like it exactly because it's so catchy. It makes me smile every week when I hear it.

    Thank you for tj e kind words!

  2. Thanks a lot for the great summary of MySQL community resources, much appreciated!

    I agree, the OurSQL tune is quite catchy. I always look forward to the next episode! Sarah and Sheeri do an excellent job there.

    By the way, Planet MySQL is not based on PlanetPlanet. It was initially written from scratch by Arjen Lentz while he was doing MySQL Community Relations. Duleepa "Dups" Wijayawardhana then further improved and reworked the code base.

  3. Hey, thanks Lenz. I've updated the article.

  4. Thanks for proving such a type of information.