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Is there a front-end management program for MySQL?

As someone brand-new to MySQL, I am having a basic conceptual problem. I am having a hard time visualizing exactly what MySQL is, even after reading definitions. My experience with databases has been with Filemaker Pro design, and I have done some pretty (I thought) sophisticated things with it. I'm trying to acquire some more marketable skills all on my own as I did with FMP and all other software -- by getting a book, installing the software, and away we go!

First problem: I installed MySQL on my OS X machine. My expectation was that I would find an application named MySQL somewhere, just like any other, and I would be presented with some kind of writing interface. Instead I hear about command lines and things I have never encountered. I thought SQL was a language and MySQL was a program which implemented it, kinda like Dreamweaver and HTML. I think I'm wrong right there. But if so, what have I installed?

It also seems to assume the existence of a database and server setup for me to query. I thought I would be creating these myself, defining my own new tables, etc.? Apparently not; I guess you use MySQL to simply communicate with some already existing database structure. Is that right?

Can you just steer me in the right direction and explain to me--what can I do with this, in what environment do I write with it, and what specific software executes its instructions? To "whom" (software-wise) am I speaking with MySQL?

So embarassed at my own stupidity!
Nov 27 '08 #1
3 2756
802 Expert 512MB
Hello Jim

You don't need to embarass. MySQL is a database server and you can communicate with MySQL using SQL. You can either use command line or some frontend tool.

Using SQL or GUI tool you can create database, tables and insert data to them.
Nov 28 '08 #2
That was helpful. Guess i'll find the frontend tool, as the "command-line" thing is intimidating me.

Part of my confusion, also, I think, has been that my conception of a "server" is a hardware object with an OS like any other, which stores data which is rtetrieved by client software. But in these new (to me) circles, "server" seems to denote some kind of a specialized software entity.

Thus, in my experience so far, we have a client computer and a server computer, both of which use a software program like Access or Filemaker Pro, which is used not only to build the data structures (tables, fields and such) but also used by the end user to access, update and manipulate data. And either the database programmer, administrator, or end-user all use the same identical software tool, just different features for the various tasks.

Now in this new realm, (please correct me if I'm wrong) the data seems to be served from the physical hardware server by a specialized server software like MySQL, to any of a number of available software "front-ends" which use SQL to send queries and instructions? And, further, the MySQL server software is not something a day-to-day database end-user would even come into contact with but would operate behind the scenes?

I am hoping I have this right. And so are their terms which denote one kind of database system vs. the other? Andvantages of one over the other?
Nov 28 '08 #3
5,058 Expert 4TB
You are essentially correct.

MySQL is a database server, which you can control via SQL commands.
It doesn't necessarily have to be located on a special "server-computer". In fact, a lot of developers have MySQL servers set up on their workstations for testing purposes.

And when I say "server", I mean a piece of software used by other programs, not a physical computer. (Keep in mind that hardware is just hardware. It is the software that defines it's purpose.)

MySQL itself does not have an interface. It is purely a "behind-the-scenes" kind of software.
You use front-end software, like the command-line tool that usually comes with MySQL, or even some sort of a GUI tool, to control the MySQL server.

The MySQL server itself accepts SQL commands. You use them to create and edit databases and their tables, as well as adding, manipulating and viewing the data contained in the tables.
(Check out this article to see how that works.)

Many programming languages can interact with MySQL servers.
It is very popular to use MySQL as the back-end database for PHP driven websites. When that is the case, the PHP website can be considered a front-end to the MySQL database.

There are even web-based applications specifically designed to serve as front-end GUI applications to your MySQL database, like phpMyAdmin for example.

This is very different from programs like Access, where the GUI tool that made the database is usually used to view and manipulate the data as well.
MySQL is meant to be used by other programs as a silent background service, unknown to those who don't know it is there.
Nov 30 '08 #4

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