Database Management with phpMyAdmin

This is part one of the quick review of the book “Mastering phpMyAdmin for Effective MySQL Management” and the phpMyAdmin software.

This article/review is not just another review about phpMyAdmin, but more some information about features I haven’t used during the last years of PHP/MySQL web development.

About phpMyAdmin

PMA is a full featured tool to administrate your MySQL database server via a web browser. While the functions are almost unlimited, it’s also a powerful tool to maintain the database content even for less experienced users.

Mastering phpMyAdminIt’s already a year ago (or more) that I got the book “Mastering phpMyAdmin” as a present/reward for contributing some snippets on weberdev.com. Finally I found the time to read (most of) the book during a vacation. The book is great for webmasters using phpMyAdmin (PMA) the first time and also more advanced users. The book covers the installation, basic database interactions using PMA like simple INSERT or SELECT commands and also advanced features like the relational system provided by the phpMyAdmin software.

More advanced user should read the book to learn more about:

  • Changing the configuration fies to customize your current installation
  • how to handle binary data inside phpMyAdmin
  • saving export files on the server
  • better understanding on how-to import CSV files
  • complete database search
  • the PMA relational system
  • using the Mimer SQL validator
  • better understanding of the multi table query generator
  • using bookmarks for frequent used queries
  • building relational schema in PDF
  • mime based transformations
  • character sets and collations

While the book is published in 2004 (I see it was time for me to read), the descriptions and screen-shot are actual enough to translate the book information into the users work with the current version of phpMyAdmin.

The Installation part

I remember me my first installation of phpMyAdmin, the hardest part was to enter some configuration of paths and database connection parameters. The book shows clear information about
basic installation (one user with one database)

  • Multi server installation
  • Multiuser installation
  • restricting access to phpMyAdmin by IP and/or user

Sure over the years an experienced user will discover all types of installations, but using this book the user gets a better understanding of features like authentication types or Multi use/server configuration. I must say that the user restriction function in PMA are new to me, sure I didn’t needed them before. Restrict the access by IP address to allow access only in your companies network, this way a .htaccess user protection is more safe because you are able to control the access from outside of your network!

The Interface and basic database interactions

The PMA interface is very self-describing, I found a nice feature for people working with multiple databases accessed by the same user. The nested display will show tables for each database without selecting a different database.
Do you know the vertical mode for editing multiple records? with setting the configuration value $cfg[‘DefaultPropDisplay’] to “vertical” the records are arranged in vertical order. A great feature if you edit 2-3 records the same time.
While contributing to PHP forums I noticed often question about database fields from the “Blob” type. Sure it’s not a really good idea to store binary data inside a database, this book will give some useful guidance to store and read this type of content.

Import and export of data

Exporting content or complete database tables is a very common function in PMA, but do you noticed the export function even for results based on queries? I got this question very often: “could you send me just these data from that table?”, most of the time they got the whole table because it was much faster to export, Or better why not exporting single records from a complete result set?
Another useful feature is to export to the server, this function is available if you configure the safe_dir in your PMA configuration.

For all users on shared hosting platforms is this following feature very useful: By default the upload size and memory limit are very limited. Uploading data import files bigger than 2MB (compressed) could be a problem. The option “upload_dir” will help. Create one central folder and upload your import files via FTP, after then select the file from the select box on the import screen.

Searching and selecting data

Do you ever noticed the feature “database search”? Just access the search tab (without selecting a database table) and search for data using wild cards, an exact phrase or regular expressions get results from your whole database.

This was part one of the PMA / book review, if you like to read more about the relational system, bookmarks and MIME-based transformations subscribe to this blog post.

5 thoughts on “Database Management with phpMyAdmin

  1. Hi Marc,

    thanks for pointing us on the new versions of your book.

    …ooh and it seems I got an old copy via the weberdev coding contest ;)

  2. Hi Olaf,
    Thanks for this review. I would just like to draw attention to the fact that this book has been updated after 2004:

    Mastering phpMyAdmin 2.8 (October 2006)
    Mastering phpMyAdmin 2.11 (March 2008)

    The author.

  3. I never realised that it has so many possibilities. I just use it to check and change some table-content for background administrations. I’ll definitely have a closer look at the interface from now on.

  4. Hey thanks for this valuable info. But i found SQLyog as a rocking tool as mysql db management tool. Give a try!!!

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