MySQL Mistake

MySQL is often accused of delivering the Redmond brew – Just Good Enough software. For a long time its database has lacked such enterprise features as Views, Triggers, Constraints, Stored Procedures, and basic Sub-queries. MySQL 4.x attacked the Views, Sub-queries and some of the Trigger/Constraints issues. The new MySQL 5.0 does a major fix up on Stored Procedures, Triggers, Constraints and other enterprise features. But as MySQL moved from 3.x to 4 and from 4.x to 5, the newer version was clearly identified as alpha or beta. But in reality, these were notalpha or beta software because the underlying core of the database systems was built on a working core. So I could try the sub-queries knowing full well that I would be able to revert to two step queries one into a temp file to accomplish the sub query if the new code did not work.

Thus, in effect, MySQL was giving me alpha++ or “beta slightly” software to test with so I could gauge when to make my upgrade. Essentially the core of this stuff already worked fairly well and only on the margin would I expect errors. And even then I would expect to be able to find work arounds. However, with MySQLs new GUI Tools, MySQL has included its new SQL Workbench and ERD diagramming tool that is identified as alpha software. On boot up SQL Workbench warns you to backup your database before using it(take their advice!). And this software is based on a earlier working system. So you would expect the software to fit the MySQL mold. But it does not – it simply does not work effectively in the most simple of tasks like changing the properties of an object. See the screenshot for an example.

In effect MySQL is trying to have users test software that apparently cannot perform basic useful functions. Its as if the MySQL troops omitted even basic usability tests when packaging SQL Workbench with its GUI tools. This is not good. There is a difference – with SQL 4.0 and then 5.0 I could get some useful work done – with SQL Workbench I get nothing done. And I am sure the developers of the other MySQL GUI tool are thrilled to have their software delivered with a tool that, for whatever reason, is this dysfunctional. MySQL made a mistake on releasing such a Not Even Good Enough software.

(c)JBSurveyer 2006

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