DuBois organizes his cookbook's recipes into sections on the problem, the solution stated simply, and the solution implemented in code and discussed. The implementation and discussion sections are the most valuable, as they contain the command sequences, code listings, and design explanations that can be transferred to outside projects. The main gripe readers will have about MySQL Cookbook is that the author, in his effort to cover the range of MySQL-friendly programming languages, uses different languages in his solutions to various problems. You'll see a Perl solution to one programming challenge (Perl, in fact, is the most frequently used language, followed by PHP), a Python fix for the next, and a Java sample after that. Readers have to hope that they find a solution in the language they're working with, or that they're able to transliterate the one DuBois has provided. It's usually not a big problem. --David Wall
Topics covered: How to make MySQL databases do your bidding--in terms of queries, table manipulation, data formatting, transactions, and Web interfaces--through the database server's command line interfaces and (more importantly) through the MySQL APIs of Perl, PHP, Java, and Python. Particularly excellent coverage deals with formatting dates and times, management of null values, string manipulation, and import/export techniques.