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Re: [school-discuss] MySQL in classroom

Dr. Robert G. Rittenhouse wrote:

I am going to be teaching a High School computer course this fall,
and one of the components I want to cover is databases and in
particular SQL queries.

I am going to use MySQL for my DB both because it's free and it's
what I already have familiarity with.

A bit offtopic and at the risk of starting a flamewar I wouldn't really recommend MySQL for this role. Prefer to work with a more standard SQL compliant and more capable DBMS such as SAP DB/MaxDB or perhaps PostgresSQL.


Obviously for a theory only course on SQL choose a database that fully implements SQL. For a course including practical applications read on.

MySQL does lack subqueries, one can use joins instead which is valuable to know. A good real world lesson is to compare the performance of a subquery or complex join with lots of small selects, which MySQL does well and most web applications use. With some work one can sustain 40 connects per second from MySQL being accessed from a web front end.

For learning SQL MySQL will get you most of the way there and is very well documented and easy to set up. Postgres doesn't currently have the breadth of documentation available that MySQL does but is just as easy to install. Postgres is starting to make good headway on some features like replication, and has always been good where large complex database back ends are needed and one finds more complex SQL queries, stored procedures, etc. being used.

At our pretty small and insignificant college we tend to use Oracle and Postgres with native compiled front ends, open source and proprietary, for core business stuff like accounting and financial aid. Most of our MySQL is directly accessed via web applications and uses subsets of data originating in the main institutional databases. Sybase is the back end used by Novell NDS, Novell Groupwise still uses the old Perfect Office database system, and OpenLDAP runs on Berkeley DB.

From a teaching perspective one now has a large open source arsenal of proven database systems including Postgres, SAP, Firebird, Sleepycat, and MySQL which all have significant markets and uses.

I think MySQL is fine to start with, but don't hesitate to show and use multiple database systems and compare their various strengths and weaknesses.

Hope that is helpful.

- cameron

- cameron miller
- UNIX systems administrator
- outhouse attendant
- http://staff.adams.edu/~cdmiller
- http://portal.adams.edu/