Beginner Series: MySQL Tutorial
What is MySQL?
Before you can fully understand what MySQL is, we need to define what a computer database is. They are in direct relation to one another.
What Is a Database?
In simple terms, a database is nothing more than a collection of data. Specialized software – like MySQL – is designed to collect that data, and handle the storage and retrieval processes in an extremely efficient manner.
Databases exist to handle the organization and facilitation of great amounts of data. The data contained within them can be just about anything from a list of customers and their shipping addresses to personal info for students enrolled in a class, and more.
What is SQL?
SQL, often pronounced “sequel,” is a computer programming language that database software – like MySQL – uses. A variety of computer platforms – especially web-based apps like blogs, CMS systems, and photo galleries – must be able to store and retrieve data in order to operate fully.
For example, a CMS or content management platform like WordPress must store and retrieve a wide variety of data. When visitors navigate to your site, it must be able to retrieve stored posts (articles) that you’ve written along with any content associated with them, including images. It does this, through SQL, MySQL, and database software.
So, What is MySQL?
MySQL is the database software used to carry out the data storage and retrieval. To clarify, MySQL is the software, SQL is the language, and both of these elements work together to create and manage a computer database.
In technical terms, it is an open-source relational database management system or RDBMS.
MySQL is not the only database software that developers can use. There are other options like PostgreSQL. Both of these database software tools are incredibly popular because they are free. This is why you see a great deal of hosting providers advertising support for MySQL and PostgreSQL.
As we already established above, a majority of web applications like WordPress require the use of computer databases and related software to store and retrieve data.
How is MySQL Used?
MySQL is used for many web applications to organize important data. Most applications will use a database in the following ways:
- To store content for display
- To save information entered into forms, such as customer info, emails and dates
- To log visitor data as well as when certain actions are performed within the application
Some applications and platforms that require use of database software include:
- CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla
- iPhone and Android Applications
- Desktop Software
- Software repositories
Next, we’re going to take a look at the Benefits of Learning MySQL.
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