Ulf Wendel

PHP MySQL documentation updates

The MySQL part of the PHP reference manual is currently being restructured: new landing and overview page, mysqli quickstart prepared. Ten years ago, there was the mysql extension and that was it. Today, beginners are faced with three MySQL APIs/extensions, two libraries and more than three library plugins. MySQL support by PHP has never been better. But, where to start: web search for tutorials, a book? The results one gets tend to be flawed: outdated, incomplete, flawed… Thus, the update.

A landing and overview page

The MySQL documentation staging server already shows the new landing and overview page "MySQL Drivers and Plugins". Its introduction makes the PHP reference manuals "Vendor Specific Database Extensions" section less cluttered by grouping all MySQL information under this new overview page.

Under the address http://docs.php.net/manual/en/mysql.php (later on php.net/mysql may work) users find an overview of the MySQL PHP drivers:

After an overview on terminology the three PHP MySQL APIs/extensions mysql, mysqli and PDO_MySQL are compared. A comprehensive feature matrix helps to get started. Next, it is explained how the extensions connect to MySQL by help of a client library. Again, a comprehensive feature matrix compares the two choices, the MySQL Client Library (AKA libmysql) and mysqlnd.

The landing page continues with links to the mysql, mysqli APIs/extensions, followed by mysqlnd and its various plugins.

Hands-on mysqli quickstart prepared

Many years ago when Zak Greant and Georg Richter developed the mysqli extension they made sure to have examples for each and every function. That’s fantastic but meanwhile there is a logical and good trend to include hands-on quickstarts and background concepts information to PHP manual. We all know, a software is worth nothing without adequate easy to use documentation.The documentation must cover the needs of beginners, intermediate users and experts who need little more than reference materials. A bit like with the ~70 pages of PECL/mysqlnd_ms documentation, which begins with a quickstart and a concepts section before the reference section.

Therefore, I’ve written a mysqli quickstart. You have seen some excerpts of it already in my blog:

I hope Philip will be able to review and add the quickstart to the mysqli extension documentation soon. That’s it? Come on, its not yet christmas eve and, do we really need chrismas for making presents…

If you would like to comment on the new contents, please do so on the php.net documentation mailing lists. That’s the appropriate forum for discussions on the PHP reference manual. I’m sure there are still some edges in the new materials that need to be cut off.

.oO( If Andrey and I continued our current pace, where would we be next christmas… )

Happy hacking, happy holidays!


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