This section describes some of the important characteristics of the MySQL Database Software. See also Section 1.5, "MySQL Development History". In most respects, the roadmap applies to all versions of MySQL. For information about features as they are introduced into MySQL on a series-specific basis, see the "In a Nutshell" section of the appropriate Manual:
Written in C and C++.
Tested with a broad range of different compilers.
Works on many different platforms. See Section 2.1.1, "Operating Systems Supported by MySQL Community Server".
For portability, uses CMake in MySQL 5.5 and up. Previous series use GNU Automake, Autoconf, and Libtool.
Tested with Purify (a commercial memory leakage detector) as well as with Valgrind,
a GPL tool (
Uses multi-layered server design with independent modules.
Designed to be fully multi-threaded using kernel threads, to easily use multiple CPUs if they are available.
Provides transactional and nontransactional storage engines.
Uses very fast B-tree disk tables (
MyISAM) with index
Designed to make it relatively easy to add other storage engines. This is useful if you want to provide an SQL interface for an in-house database.
Uses a very fast thread-based memory allocation system.
Executes very fast joins using an optimized nested-loop join.
Implements in-memory hash tables, which are used as temporary tables.
Implements SQL functions using a highly optimized class library that should be as fast as possible. Usually there is no memory allocation at all after query initialization.
Provides the server as a separate program for use in a client/server networked environment, and as a library that can be embedded (linked) into standalone applications. Such applications can be used in isolation or in environments where no network is available.
Full operator and function support in the
SELECT list and
WHERE clause of queries. For
SELECT CONCAT(first_name, ' ', last_name)->
WHERE income/dependents > 10000 AND age > 30;
LEFT OUTER JOIN and
OUTER JOIN with both standard SQL and ODBC syntax.
Support for aliases on tables and columns as required by standard SQL.
to return the number of rows that were changed (affected), or to return the number of rows matched
instead by setting a flag when connecting to the server.
Support for MySQL-specific
statements that retrieve information about databases, storage engines, tables, and indexes. MySQL 5.0
adds support for the
INFORMATION_SCHEMA database, implemented according to
statement to show how the optimizer resolves a query.
Independence of function names from table or column names. For example,
ABS is a valid column name. The only restriction is that for a function call,
no spaces are permitted between the function name and the "
(" that follows it. See Section
9.3, "Reserved Words".
You can refer to tables from different databases in the same statement.
A privilege and password system that is very flexible and secure, and that enables host-based verification.
Password security by encryption of all password traffic when you connect to a server.
Support for large databases. We use MySQL Server with databases that contain 50 million records. We also know of users who use MySQL Server with 200,000 tables and about 5,000,000,000 rows.
Support for up to 64 indexes per table (32 before MySQL 4.1.2). Each index may
consist of 1 to 16 columns or parts of columns. The maximum index width is 767 bytes for
InnoDB tables, or 1000 for
MySQL 4.1.2, the limit is 500 bytes. An index may use a prefix of a column for
TEXT column types.
Clients can connect to MySQL Server using several protocols:
Clients can connect using TCP/IP sockets on any platform.
On Windows systems in the NT family (NT, 2000, XP, 2003, or Vista),
clients can connect using named pipes if the server is started with the
--enable-named-pipe option. In MySQL 4.1 and higher,
Windows servers also support shared-memory connections if started with the
--shared-memory option. Clients can connect through shared
memory by using the
On Unix systems, clients can connect using Unix domain socket files.
MySQL client programs can be written in many languages. A client library written in C is available for clients written in C or C++, or for any language that provides C bindings.
APIs for C, C++, Eiffel, Java, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Tcl are available, enabling MySQL clients to be written in many languages. See Chapter 22, Connectors and APIs.
The Connector/ODBC (MyODBC) interface provides MySQL support for client programs that use ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) connections. For example, you can use MS Access to connect to your MySQL server. Clients can be run on Windows or Unix. Connector/ODBC source is available. All ODBC 2.5 functions are supported, as are many others. See Section 22.1, "MySQL Connector/ODBC".
The Connector/J interface provides MySQL support for Java client programs that use JDBC connections. Clients can be run on Windows or Unix. Connector/J source is available. See Section 22.3, "MySQL Connector/J".
MySQL Connector/Net enables developers to easily create .NET applications that require secure, high-performance data connectivity with MySQL. It implements the required ADO.NET interfaces and integrates into ADO.NET aware tools. Developers can build applications using their choice of .NET languages. MySQL Connector/Net is a fully managed ADO.NET driver written in 100% pure C#. See Section 22.2, "MySQL Connector/Net".
The server can provide error messages to clients in many languages. See Section 10.2, "Setting the Error Message Language".
Full support for several different character sets, including
and more. For example, the Scandinavian characters "
ä" and "
ö" are permitted in table and column names. Unicode support
is available as of MySQL 4.1.
All data is saved in the chosen character set.
Sorting and comparisons are done according to the chosen character set and
latin1 and Swedish collation by default). It is possible
to change this when the MySQL server is started. To see an example of very advanced sorting, look at the
Czech sorting code. MySQL Server supports many different character sets that can be specified at compile
time and runtime.
As of MySQL 4.1, the server time zone can be changed dynamically, and individual clients can specify their own time zone. Section 10.6, "MySQL Server Time Zone Support".
MySQL Server has built-in support for SQL statements to check, optimize, and repair
tables. These statements are available from the command line through the mysqlcheck client. MySQL also includes myisamchk,
a very fast command-line utility for performing these operations on
tables. See Chapter 4, MySQL
MySQL programs can be invoked with the
-? option to obtain online assistance.