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!