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[school-discuss] Curriculum development : Databses

I think the following is useful for curriculum development and can be 

We need to teach the following Databases for the following reasons.

MySQL : Simple started database

PostgreSQL : Full featured Open Source Zero cost licence 

Oracle : Most popular in Pakistan 

IBM DB/2 : Popular in real life installations where governments and IBM is 

Jet Max DB : Upcoming database supported by SAP (a pumped up turbo charged 
version of MySQL) which is designed to replace all others like Oracle, MSSQL, 
DB/2 and whatever else as the platform of choice for SAP.
May be essential 1 to 2 years from now.

Databases to reduce teaching : 
Sybase/MS-SQL : Getting outdated and replaced by Oracle and Postgres.

MS Access : Too complex and not to be considered as a starter database for new 
To make life easier try PostgreSQL with Pgaccess.

Please send comments.

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Date: Wednesday 01 Sep 2004 08:25
From: Rajesh Kumar <rajesh@meetrajesh.com>
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Dr. Robert G. Rittenhouse once wrote:
> 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.

I respect your informed opinion, but here is what a MySQL user for 18
months has to say:

If you're going to be teaching a bunch of high school students database
basics (note I said "basics"), just close your eyes and go for MySQL.
Don't bother about the licenses, don't bother about complexity and lack
of features. And most important of all, don't listen to any
"professional" or adult advice as they always tend to under-estimate the
capability of a high school student. Mark me, I am myself a high-school
student and a self-taught MySQL administrator, having learned everything
by only reading the MySQL manual.

Are you going to be beginning day 1 with stored procedures and triggers?
No! It wouldn't even make sense to explain stored procedures, triggers
and UDF's after a year. And don't worry about MySQL deviating from the
ANSI standard, because there is a specific purpose for each of these
deviations. And most of the time, it's just increased comfort and usability.

Believe me, if people get used to MySQL, it isn't necessarily hard to
switch to another database, as some would have you believe. I have been
using MySQL for a long time, and when I tried to switch to PostGreSQL, I
was able to do so without too much effort (I'm a fairly talented
documentation reader, so I don't make a good example).

MySQL is very easy and doesn't overwhelm the user, and has pretty a
comprehensive documentation. Want quick info. about ALTER? Try

Nothing could be any more funny as this:

Q. What database do you recommend for first-time database users?
Someone else: But MySQL doesn't implement transactions well! It doesn't
do stored procedures the way it should. Its C code is not optimized well
enough! It doesn't have Foreign key support! And it hangs when bombarded
with 30 million records! And it does not support DB files spread across
multiple file systems, and it doesn't implement....

Relax, we're talking about kids who don't even know the syntax for a
SELECT! What good are triggers and procedures going to do for them? And
you hardly are going to load in 100 rows of data.

Believe me, after about year, students will automatically find MySQL
insufficient for their needs, and they will automatically move towards
other feature-filled databases. Till then, as a high-school student
myself, if you're teaching SQL to a set of first-timers, go for MySQL.
Don't even think of PostGreSQL (although PostGreSQL is better than MySQL
in some ways) Trust me, if you go for high-end databases at the start,
that would just serve to overwhelm your students and chances are that
they would simply reject the idea of learning anything at all about
databases. And once they are at that stage, it is very hard to make them
accept databases ever again.

Don't even go for MaxDB. Again, if students find MySQL incapable, they
will automatically, by a very natural process, switch to other capable
solution. But if you try to force this natural process, then be assured
your very noble endeavors will go wasted. And I sincerely would love to
see some high-school students learn MySQL, at a time when most students,
when asked about databases in general, go "what?!?  Whatssa dutabase? Is
it that telephone directory which lists all names in alphabetical
order?" And rest of the gang think Microsoft Access is the end of
database technology in our world. Mind me, I'm speaking from experience
and am saying exactly what people have said to me in the past.

Go MySQL, I tell you. I congratulate you for helping students learn
databases! It truly is a noble service.

[ Rajesh Kumar ]


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