Thank You MySQL, We’ll Miss You!

Dear MySQL,

Thank you for introducing me to SQL. It must have been 1998 when we first met I and fell in love with the simplicity of SQL immediately. Before that I’ve been using C structs all the time; I had to do my joins programmatically and also create and maintain my indexes manually. It was even hard to combine several search conditions via and and or. But then there was the shiny new world of SQL you were showing me…

Everything was easily. Just write a where clause, no matter how complex, you found the right rows. Joins were equally easy to write and you took all the effort to combine the data from several tables as I needed them. I also remember how easy it became to manage the schema. Instead of writing a program to copy my data from one C struct to another, I just say alter table now—in the meanwhile it even works online in many cases! I didn’t take long until I used SQL for stuff I wouldn’t have thought a database could do for me. So I was quickly embracing group by and co.

But I haven’t spent a lot of time with you lately. It’s not because I was too busy. I’m still practicing what you have shown me! And I’ve moved on. Now I’m using common table expressions to organize complex queries and I use window functions to calculate running totals or just do a ranking. I’m also using joins more efficiently because I know about hash and sort/merge joins. A while ago I was wondering why you didn’t tell me about these things. But then I realized that you don’t know them.

I know it was not always nice what I said about you recently. But now that Oracle announced your retirement to focus on Oracle NoSQL, I realized how right this comment on reddit was. Sure you are neither the most advanced nor the most widely deployed open source SQL database, but you introduced millions of people to SQL. There should be no tears when some of them move away because they want to see what’s next. Isn’t that the greatest compliment a teacher can get? You can be proud of what you have accomplished.

Thank you!

Markus Winand
Markus Winand
April 1, 2014

ps.: Even when fooling around, I can’t resist to inform my fellow readers. Besides the claim that Oracle retires MySQL, everything is true. Initially I thought Oracle NoSQL is an Aprils fool’s joke but it isn’t.

About the Author

Photo of Markus Winand
Markus Winand tunes developers for high SQL performance. He also published the book SQL Performance Explained and offers in-house training as well as remote coaching at