The columns in a table. All rows in table entities have the same attributes. For example, a customer table might have the attributes name, address, and city. Each attribute has a data type such as string, integer, or date.


The part of a database that stores the data. A table has columns or attributes, and the data stored in rows.

Database Basics

Databases are managed by a relational database management system (RDBMS). An RDBMS supports a database language to create and delete databases and to manage and search data. The database language used in almost all DBMSs is SQL, a set of statements that define and manipulate data. After creating a database, the most common SQL statements used are INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and SELECT, which add, change, remove, and search data in a database, respectively.

The Main Features of MySQL

The following list describes some of the important characteristics of MySQL:

Fully multi-threaded using kernel threads. That means it can easily use multiple CPUs if available.
C, C++, Eiffel, Java, Perl, PHP, Python and Tcl APIs.
Works on many different platforms.
Many column types: signed/unsigned integers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8 bytes long, FLOAT, DOUBLE, CHAR, VARCHAR, TEXT, BLOB, DATE, TIME, DATETIME, TIMESTAMP, YEAR, SET, and ENUM types.
Very fast joins using an optimized one-sweep multi-join.
Full operator and function support in the SELECT and WHERE parts of queries. Example:
mysql> SELECT CONCAT(first_name, ” “, last_name) FROM tbl_name
WHERE income/dependents > 10000 AND age > 30;

SQL functions are implemented through a highly optimized class library and should be as fast as they can get! Usually there shouldn’t be any memory allocation at all after query initialization.
Full support for SQL GROUP BY and ORDER BY clauses. Support for group functions (COUNT(), COUNT(DISTINCT), AVG(), STD(), SUM(), MAX() and MIN()).
Support for LEFT OUTER JOIN and RIGHT OUTER JOIN with ANSI SQL and ODBC syntax.
You can mix tables from different databases in the same query (as of Version 3.22).
A privilege and password system that is very flexible and secure and allows host-based verification. Passwords are secure because all password traffic is encrypted when you connect to a server.
ODBC (Open-DataBase-Connectivity) support for Win32 (with source). All ODBC 2.5 functions and many others. For example, you can use MS Access to connect to your MySQL server. See section 18 MySQL ODBC Support.
Very fast B-tree disk tables with index compression.
Up to 32 indexes per table are allowed. Each index may consist of 1 to 16 columns or parts of columns. The maximum index length is 500 bytes (this may be changed when compiling MySQL). An index may use a prefix of a CHAR or VARCHAR field. Fixed-length and variable-length records.
In-memory hash tables which are used as temporary tables.
Handles large databases. We are using MySQL with some databases that contain 50,000,000 records and we know of users that uses MySQL with 60,000 tables and about 5,000,000,000 rows
All columns have default values. You can use INSERT to insert a subset of a table’s columns; those columns that are not explicitly given values are set to their default values.
Uses GNU Automake, Autoconf, and libtool for portability.
Written in C and C++. Tested with a broad range of different compilers.
A very fast thread-based memory allocation system.
No memory leaks. Tested with a commercial memory leakage detector (purify).
Includes myisamchk, a very fast utility for table checking, optimization, and repair. See section 15 Maintaining a MySQL Installation.
Full support for several different character sets, including ISO-8859-1 (Latin1), big5, ujis, and more. For example, the Scandinavian characters `@ringaccent{a}’, `@”a’ and `@”o’ are allowed in table and column names.
All data are saved in the chosen character set. All comparisons for normal string columns are case insensitive.
Sorting is done according to the chosen character set (the Swedish way by default). It is possible to change this when the MySQL server is started up. To see an example of very advanced sorting, look at the Czech sorting code. MySQL supports many different character sets that can be specified at compile and run time.
Aliases on tables and columns are allowed as in the SQL92 standard.
DELETE, INSERT, REPLACE, and UPDATE return how many rows were changed (affected). It is possible to return the number of rows matched instead by setting a flag when connecting to the server.
Function names do not clash with table or column names. For example, ABS is a valid column name. The only restriction is that for a function call, no spaces are allowed between the function name and the `(‘ that follows it. See section 7.39 Is MySQL Picky About Reserved Words?.
All MySQL programs can be invoked with the –help or -? options to obtain online assistance.
The server can provide error messages to clients in many languages. See section 10.1 What Languages Are Supported by MySQL?. Clients may connect to the MySQL server using TCP/IP Sockets, Unix Sockets (Unixes), or Named Pipes (NT). The MySQL-specific SHOW command can be used to retrieve information about databases, tables, and indexes. The EXPLAIN command can be used to determine how the optimizer resolves a query.