Book Review: Mastering phpMyAdmin for Effective MySQL Management
As a mission statement, the introduction of a book written for tutorial purposes forms the foundation for judging the success or failure of the subsequent pages. Marc Delisle has written Mastering phpMyAdmin for Effective MySQL Management as a tightly focused tutorial that is as successful at guiding its readers along its stated path as it is at avoiding the common pratfall of straying off target.
Having written my share of tutorial material to support classroom training as well as college course teaching, I can attest to the hard work required to keep to the stated topics. This is especially true when the subject is feature rich and lends itself to additional exposition, conjecture and even opinion.
In a market crowded with books of questionable writing quality, the clarity of Delisle's delivery is refreshing. Although I never have had the pleasure of attending one of his classes, as I read his words, I had the distinct feeling of being under the tutelage of a quality professor--one who truly cares about the material he is presenting. Given his leadership role in the phpMyAdmin community, it is not surprising that he takes such care. However, not all in leadership can write tutorial material as easily accessible as this book.
At no point does Delisle ever break the rhythm of his presentation within a chapter nor do the chapters stray from the topic material. Starting with an historical and feature overview of phpMyAdmin, he progresses reasonably and steadily from installation and initial configuration through progressively more involved interactive database tasks: creation, data and table management, simple querying and general database maintenance.
The latter sections present advanced tasks that offer significant value by drawing on the scope of thinking of various phpMyAdmin developers. Topics covered include interactive query generation, bookmarks that save successful queries, documentation and MIME-based transformations.
Screens shots augment each chapter, which is to be expected given the visually interactive nature of phpMyAdmin. They are interspersed properly within the course of the chapters and are well documented by the flow of the written material. Unfortunately, many screenshots are of relatively poor quality. This I found odd, given that everything else about the book was excellent.
An interesting addition is the inclusion of blocks of phpMyAdmin code, something a lesser authority would likely avoid. Frankly, the presence of code did more than a little to pique my interest in seeing all of the code behind the product. This is not an inconsequential result, especially given the nature of open-source software projects and the need to attract support from the community of users.
I heartily recommend this book to anybody who might use phpMyAdmin, whether for the visual interaction with MySQL or for the advanced features.