Most webmasters have learned the basics of the HTML scripting language before they moved on to programming languages such as PHP or Python.
With PHP come databases like MySQL as the primary storage source for project data. Many popular online applications, such as WordPress, use PHP and MySQL to bring their services to the Internet.
You usually do not need to know PHP or MySQL if you download and install an application like WordPress. But if you want to start developing your own applications or plugins, or modifying existing ones, then you need to know the ins and outs of SQL database commands and need to have a solid PHP foundation as well.
Head first SQL: Hands On is a free service by O'Reilly that can be used to learn and execute MySQL queries online. When you open the Head First Labs site for the first time you see a form near the top that you can use to run MySQL commands.
The service provides access to several tables that are listed above the form. All you need to do is to enter a SQL query in the form to execute it. The core benefit of testing SQL commands here is that you do not have to create your own database first and fill it with data. Plus, you cannot really damage the database or tables this way, and you can reload the page at any time to start over.
The results are displayed right beneath the form. But the site offers more than just an option to run your own MySQL queries, which is especially useful for users who are just getting started and do not know anything about SQL.
The Get Started section of the page lists 33 MySQL lessons. The majority of lessons teach a specific command or command sets. This ranges from basic queries such as SELECT or INSERT to more complex operations. Not all lessons make sense, which can be attributed that some require that you have read the Head First SQL: Hands On book.
Some on the other hand can be used without having the book in reach. MySQL beginners will probably like the form on the start page the most, as it allows them to run custom SQL queries on sample database tables to see what results their queries will yield.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.