MySQL AB has released a beta of the latest version of its MySQL Connector/ODBC that features performance enhancements and Unicode support.
MySQL Connector/ODBC 5.1, available for download, works with most versions of the open-source MySQL database used today, specifically MySQL versions 4.1, 5.0, 5.1 and 6.0.
MySQL Connector/ODBC, sometimes called MyODBC, allows users to connect to a MySQL database server using the ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) database application programming interface on Microsoft Windows and most Unix platforms, including applications and programming environments such as Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel and Borland Delphi.
Zack Urlocker, executive vice president of products at MySQL, said the new Unicode support makes it possible to deal with virtually every language on the planet—even made-up ones such as Klingon, the language of the alien Klingon species on "Star Trek."
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"I'm not sure that Klingon matters to most database developers, but having support for Unicode makes it much easier to create international applications with MySQL," he said. "And with solid ODBC support, it also becomes much easier to use MySQL with commercial applications and tools like Visual Basic, Access, Business Objects and so on."
Other important capabilities include support for SQL high-precision numeric types and SQL descriptors, which help provide additional information to the database for more sophisticated queries with more complex input/output or return types, he said.
"It gives you more flexibility in dealing with parameter passing and return values," Urlocker said. "High-precision math is important for financial applications such as currency trading, where you want fixed-precision math."
The beta version also features a native Windows installer using the standard Microsoft installer—part of the company's overall strategy to integrate with Windows. In addition, this version fixes some bugs, streamlines the code and improves performance over earlier versions, Urlocker said.
MySQL remains the most popular open-source database. A recent study by the Independent Oracle Users Group found that of the 35 respondents that use open-source databases, nearly three-quarters use MySQL. Urlocker said there will likely be one or two more beta releases before the product is made generally available, which is scheduled for the first half of 2008.
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