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1.5 Organization and Structure of the MySQL Reference Manual

The MySQL Reference Manual is MySQL AB's primary documentation for the MySQL server and related products. It's included with distributions of MySQL software and is also available in several forms and languages online.

There are two main methods of accessing the online documentation:

  • By going to the address

  • By using your browser to request the page, where keyword is a section name from the reference manual. For example, typing INSERT in place of keyword will take you to the section of the manual that describes the INSERT statement.

1.5.1 General Reference Manual Organization

The MySQL Reference Manual consists of the following main sections:

  • General description of MySQL (the product) and MySQL AB (the company).

    • Information on licensing of the MySQL software.

    • Information on the MySQL server development roadmap (features planned for future versions).

    • Notes on MySQL and the SQL standards. To which standards does MySQL adhere? Which extensions to the standards does MySQL provide?

  • How to install and upgrade MySQL.

    • Configuring and administering the MySQL server.

    • Server utilities. What scripts are available for starting and stopping the server? How do I set up multiple servers on the same machine?

    • Security issues. How do I make MySQL secure against crackers? How does the privilege system work? How do I add and remove users?

  • A short MySQL tutorial.

  • Database administration.

    • Backup and recovery of data.

    • Database administration. How do I create a database or a table? How do I repair broken tables? How do I optimize the tables?

  • International support. How do I make MySQL sort strings according to my preferred language's alphabetic sort order?

  • Optimization. How do I make my queries run faster?

  • Client-side programs and scripts. How do I use the command-line client? How do I import and export data? How do I find out what those pesky error codes mean?

  • Using MySQL.

    • Language reference. How do I write SQL statements?

    • Column datatypes. What's the correct datatype for the data that I want to store? What are the limits of each datatype?

    • Storage engines. Which table type is the correct one to use for my task?

  • Programming interfaces. How do I interface my PHP, Perl, or C/C++ program to a MySQL server? How do I use ODBC with MySQL?

  • Error handling. How do I track down the causes of errors?

1.5.2 MySQL Reference Manual Change Notes

One appendix in the MySQL Reference Manual contains the MySQL Change Notes. This list of changes and updates for each version of MySQL is one of the more important sections of the manual, especially if you work with MySQL installations over which you have no control (for example, if you have an account with a Web hosting provider).

By checking the Change Notes, you can find the changes and bug fixes that have been made to MySQL over time. If you cannot otherwise track down an error, this might be the place to look. For example, a common problem is that a statement does not work because it relies on a feature that was introduced more recently than the version of MySQL you're using. The Change Notes can help clarify this.

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