1.1 Introduction

When I fly across the country, I often pass the hours programming on my PowerBook. If that programming involves MySQL, I inevitably end up lugging around the book I co-wrote, Managing and Using MySQL (O'Reilly). I don't carry around the book to show it off; the problem is that no matter how experienced you are with MySQL, you never know when you will need to look up the exact syntax of an obscure function or SQL statement.

The MySQL Pocket Reference is a quick reference that you can take with you anywhere you go. Instead of racking your brain for the exact syntax of a variant of ALTER TABLE that you generally never use, you can reach into your laptop case and grab this reference. As an experienced MySQL architect, administrator, or programmer, you can look to this reference.

This book does not, however, teach MySQL. I expect that you have learned or are in the process of learning MySQL from a book such as Managing and Using MySQL. Though I start with a reference on MySQL installation, it is designed to help you remember the full process of MySQL installationnot to teach you the process.

1.1.1 Acknowledgments

I first would like to thank my editor Andy Oram, as always, for helping me along. I would also like to thank the book's strong technical reviewers, Paul Dubois, Justen Stepka, and Tim Allwine. Finally, I would like to thank my co-authors for Managing and Using MySQL, Tim King and Randy Jay Yarger, who helped set the foundation that made this pocket reference possible and necessary.

1.1.2 Conventions

The following conventions are used in this book:

Constant width

Used to indicate anything that might appear in a program, including keywords, function names, SQL commands, and variable names. This font is also used for code examples, output displayed by commands, and system configuration files.

Constant width bold

Used to indicate user input.

Constant width italic

Used to indicate an element (e.g., a filename or variable) that you supply.


Used to indicate directory names, filenames, program names, Unix commands, and URLs. This font is also used to introduce new terms and for emphasis.