Implementing MySQL 5

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-04-19 Print this article Print

.0"> Axmark and Widenius, for the umpteenth time since development on 5.0 began, ran down the list of whats coming in 5.0, including stored procedures; support for triggering statements; views, both read-only and updatable within one table, which is useful for accessing the result of a query as if it were in one table, Axmark said; distributed transactions; and a new information_schema database with meta information that will be useful for finding meta information about your data. MySQL 5.0 also will include Precision Math, which is good for commercial banks in that it provides exact calculations with well-defined rounding, at least 56 digits of precision, and very fast static memory allocation; and Strict Mode, or the ability to get rollback/errors instead of closest value/warning messages.
Other goodies await: a federated storage engine, which will enable you to use a table on another machine as a local table; Greedy Optimizer, which is the fast handling of many tables in a join; SQL standards; and useful extensions for very particular users, including data warehousing gurus, whove asked to store 20 petabytes (thats 20,000 terabytes!) in MySQL databases.
It all sounds great, but, although a sizable chunk of the audience raised their hands when Axmark and Widenius asked who had already downloaded MySQL 5.0, some attendees offered up explanations for a wait-and-see attitude. Demetria Williams, a Web programmer at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Mass., told Ziff Davis Internet that her college was still running 4.1.9 because 5.0 hadnt been released as a production version yet. Williams is looking forward to 5.0s enterprise-class features, though, she said, particularly stored procedures and triggers, assuming that the database will run more smoothly with the colleges core Oracle database. Phillip Morelock, director of operations at Evite, is still running on a version that his companion, MySQL Developer Bjoern Hansen, groaned at as being a bit dusty: MySQL 4.0. "It aint broke," Morelock explained. Hes using the venerable MySQL for tracking user sessions and e-mail because its "cheaper and faster and easier to maintain" than his main Oracle database. Morelock might be interested in the enterprise-class features in 5.0. Maybe. If and when they work. "Ill probably wait for 6.0," he said. "Im an IT guy. We wait until things work before we use them." Thats your typical enterprise conservatism, and MySQL is meeting it and catering to it, particularly with MySQL Network. "Data-center people want minimum change," Axmark said during his keynote. "In the community version of the software, we fix all the bugs all the time. Not everybody wants that." Read more here about MySQL Network. The MySQL Network subscription service, which the company rolled out in February, includes software certification, MySQL advisors, a knowledge base, production support direct from MySQL engineers, IP (intellectual property) protection with full indemnification, and more. But above all the talk about features and new support services, the open-source message rang loud and clear: Its all about the community pitching in. "The biggest advantage of open source is bug reports," Widenius said. "People who spend their time trying to help us, we are committed to helping them. I hear people say, Open source is not innovative, blah blah blah. I think thats [expletive]. I think its better than any proprietary [software]. Because people fix the small things. Some vendors dont care about things like a keystroke. [Such things] will never make a headline." Indeed, repeatable bug reports are as valuable as code, Axmark proclaimed. All bugs get fixed, and all fixes and all features get disbursed to all users, unlike the fancy features that get tucked away into Enterprise editions in databases such as Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server. "In MySQL, all things area available, even the more esoteric features," Axmark said. "You also have freedom. You have the ultimate documentation: the source code. And security is not by obscurity. You can look at the thing. You can find out. We feel that open source is like a democracy. You can see things." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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