One of the great things about working on great products is that you get to meet such intelligent and interesting people. I can apply that to everybody that I work with, but there are some teams where not only are they working on great products, they are also all great people just to spend time with. I have had the good fortune of working with the MySQL Enterprise Monitor team as an advisor, and more recently in writing the documentation, for the last 18 months. We’ve had some great fun at meetings in Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Santa Cruz and recently Riga. In the meeting rooms we are professional, but fun. But in the evenings we’ve gone out and just had plain good fun. Unless you’ve experienced a full day, or even week, of non-stop meetings for 12 hours a day you have no idea how important it is to kick back in the evenings. That, as a team, we are still able to have a good time at the end of each day while still being in the same room together is a good indication of how well we all get on. Why am I telling you this? Because there is an opportunity to come and work for MySQL Enterprise Monitor team as a GUI developer, and if you are going to join us, you need to be as much fun at the dinner table as you are in the meeting room. We are looking for talented people, obviously, and you are going to need to be good both with the design and the programming aspects of the GUi development. We use frameworks like Hibernate and Spring, and build our interfaces using DHTML and AJAX. If you know about MySQL and scale-up/out environments, that would be even better. If it sounds like a good fit for you, and you just happen to want to have a good time to boot, apply here. What they don’t tell you on the official pages is how much you will be expected to also get on with the rest of the team. It’s really important, because when we have those meetings we’ll be looking to the new guy to provide us with entertainment and interesting stories, at least until the next guy comes along.
The MySQL documentation is huge. In fact, it can sometimes be difficult to get a handle on exactly how big. The main reference manual is large by most documentation standards, the MySQL 6.0 reference manual is almost 2400 pages in length now. Keep in mind that we also have 4.1, 5.0, 5.1 and 5.1-Maria manuals, in addition to the GUI tools, NDBAPI and other material that we produce and you realize that there are thousands of pages of documentation to wade through, if you want. We’ve toyed for ages with different methods of splitting up the manual and making it more accessible, but the reality is that different manuals introduce other issues, and wouldn’t actually solve the issue of finding information in the online manual. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that we have traditionally listed our manuals by their titles, not, necessarily, by what they contain and what you might want to know. For an example, imagine that you are a Java developer working with MySQL. If you went to the main documentation page how would you know to look in the reference manual, then the Connectors and APIs chapter, and finally the Connector/J section. Let’s ignore, for the moment, the issue of different versions. This weekend we have hopefully solved all of that by introducing a new table at the top of the page that provides you with a direct interface into parts of the manual by topic. You can see a screenshot of the new topic table here:
- Some are links straight into a corresponding section of the 5.1 reference manual. For example, the Spatial Extensions link takes you to that chapter in the manual.
- Some are standalone guides. We have had the MySQL Version Reference and Connector manuals as standalone for a while now, and you can download HTML and PDF versions of those guides like before. Others are new. The Security Guide, for example, takes information straight from the reference manual and puts it into a new standalone, downloadable, guide.
All of the documentation is up to date – the standalone guides are not snapshots of the documentation. If we update the main reference manuals, the standalone guides will be rebuilt too. Already we have a pretty good list of top-level topics here, and standalone guides. Windows users, for example, should appreciate the new Windows-specific deployment guides. But we want more ideas for standalone guides, and more ideas for topics and sections of the manual to be highlighted on this page. What don’t we have listed in that table that you want to see. Let me know!
We are looking at the MySQL University session list at the moment and would like to see some more topics and ideas for future sessions. The original purpose of MySQL University sessions has been to cover some technical content on the internals of MySQL, but we’re looking into spreading out and looking in to more general areas. For example, how about these for some ideas on potential sessions:
- How to start a local MySQL user group
- Using MySQL with different connectors
- Using MySQL in different applications (including programming and/or end-user applications)
- Making the best of MySQL on different platforms (our recent MySQL/Solaris session is an example)
These are just off the topic of my head, so don’t take these as hard list, I’m sure you can come up with some better ideas than these. If you have any idea, leave it in the comments.