MySQL for Python

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Author: Albert Lukaszewski

Publisher: Packt

MySQL for Python is a good book for any beginning to intermediate Python programmers who want or need to get their minds and hands on a crash course in SQL programming and MySQL administration.

I base the opinion above on the fact that I am someone who is comfortable with Python, but does not code in it often during my job. I am also someone who can work his way around a MySQL database without having to research every SQL command; my knowledge of Python and MySQL is functional, but not expert.

The book’s format is one that I would think someone who didn't know what they were doing with MySQL would find helpful. Each chapter is dedicated to performing a certain set of MySQL tasks; for example Chapter 7 is titled “Creating and Dropping” (as in tables). The chapter opens with a quick discussion about what information the chapter is supposed to convey. Then it moves on to which commands one will use in MySQL to perform the desired tasks. After these commands are discussed, the book then goes into how to perform the same commands in Python. Each chapter ends with a project that is supposed to challenge the reader to create something that exemplifies the chapter's topic.

One area where I find the book lacking is that there is no mention of Python3 or the changes that one's code would require to make it compatible with Python3 vs Python. For example, there are a couple of code examples in the book that heavily rely on the function xrange(). Not that xrange() is bad function to use, but that particular function doesn’t exist in Python 3. I could theorize that maybe the author didn’t want to complicate the idea of using Python as a tool to learning SQL, but it does limit the amount of time that the content stays relevant.

A part of the book that I did find quite good was the quick and easily understandable explanation of the various join functions in Chapter 13. Although the descriptions were a little short, the brevity was acceptable because of the included Venn diagrams to help illustrate the how the joins worked logically. This was a great touch for helping someone learn these concepts; it was also the first time I’ve seen Venn diagrams used to teach someone about joins.

I recognize I might have been overly harsh on this book review, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend it for the right person. I feel the right person for this is someone who is already comfortable with Python and wants to expand their knowledge to include the basics of MySQL administration and SQL programming.

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