Database professionals around the world are heralding the release of MySQL 5, just in time for the holiday season! This major new release of the popular open-source database packs in quite a few new features that bring MySQL into the league of full-featured relational databases. In this article, well explore a few of the highlights of this new platform.
One of the most exciting features of MySQL 5.0 is the inclusion of stored routine support. SQL Server and Oracle developers have long benefited from the use of stored procedures and subroutines to simplify database programming and those capabilities are now available to MySQL developers as well. Essentially, stored procedures allow you to store SQL code on the database server and allow users and applications to call those procedures with applicable arguments without knowledge of the underlying SQL statement. In addition to the simplification benefits gained from this abstraction, administrators may also used stored routines to provide additional security. You may now grant users permission to use specific stored procedures/routines where you previously had to grant wider permissions on the database itself.
Youll find a number of improvements in the storage engines that support MySQL. The InnoDB engine now supports a compact mode that uses 20% less space than it required in MySQL 4. Theyve also made similar performance improvements to the NDBCluster engine. In addition, youll find two new storage engine options available to you: ARCHIVE and FEDERATED. The ARCHIVE engine is used for creating large databases that do not require indexing. The FEDERATED engine is used to create interfaces to remote databases.
The new BIT datatype included in MySQL 5 allows you to store simple binary objects in an extremely small footprint. You may use this datatype to represent virtually any variable that can be represented in terms of 0 and 1. For example, Yes or No, On or Off, Absent or Present and similar questions may now be stored by using only a single bit of storage. While this doesnt sound like much, that space savings can be tremendous when extrapolated across a large database.
Finally, database cursors may be used to traverse the results of queries returned by MySQL 5 databases.
Thats a high-level summary of some of the most exciting features of MySQL 5. You may download the latest version and experiment with it today by visiting the MySQL website.