1.2 About this manual

This manual is currently available in Texinfo, plain text, Info, HTML, PostScript and PDF versions. Because of their size, PostScript and PDF versions are not included with the main MySQL distribution, but are available for separate download at http://www.mysql.com.

The primary document is the Texinfo file. The HTML version is produced automatically with a modified version of texi2html. The plain text and Info versions are produced with makeinfo. The Postscript version is produced using texi2dvi and dvips. The PDF version is produced with the Ghostscript utility ps2pdf.

This manual is written and maintained by David Axmark, Michael (Monty) Widenius, Paul DuBois and Kim Aldale. For other contributors, see C Contributors to MySQL.

1.2.1 Conventions used in this manual

This manual uses certain typographical conventions:

Constant-width font is used for command names and options; SQL statements; database, table and column names; C and Perl code; and environment variables. Example: ``To see how mysqladmin works, invoke it with the --help option.''
Constant-width font with surrounding quotes is used for filenames and pathnames. Example: ``The distribution is installed under the `/usr/local/' directory.''
Constant-width font with surrounding quotes is also used to indicate character sequences. Example: ``To specify a wildcard, use the `%' character.''
Italic font is used for emphasis, like this.
Boldface font is used for access privilege names (e.g., ``do not grant the process privilege lightly'') and to convey especially strong emphasis.

When commands are shown that are meant to be executed by a particular program, the program is indicated by the prompt shown with the command. For example, shell> indicates a command that you execute from your login shell, and mysql> indicates a command that you execute from the mysql client:

shell> type a shell command here
mysql> type a mysql command here

Shell commands are shown using Bourne shell syntax. If you are using a csh-style shell, you may need to issue commands slightly differently. For example, the sequence to set an environment variable and run a command looks like this in Bourne shell syntax:

shell> VARNAME=value some_command

For csh, you would execute the sequence like this:

shell> setenv VARNAME value
shell> some_command

Database, table and column names often must be substituted into commands. To indicate that such substitution is necessary, this manual uses db_name, tbl_name and col_name. For example, you might see a statement like this:

mysql> SELECT col_name FROM db_name.tbl_name;

This means that if you were to enter a similar statement, you would supply your own database, table and column names, perhaps like this:

mysql> SELECT author_name FROM biblio_db.author_list;

SQL statements may be written in uppercase or lowercase. When this manual shows a SQL statement, uppercase is used for particular keywords if those keywords are under discussion (to emphasize them) and lowercase is used for the rest of the statement. So you might see the following in a discussion of the SELECT statement:

mysql> SELECT count(*) FROM tbl_name;

On the other hand, in a discussion of the COUNT() function, the statement would be written like this:

mysql> select COUNT(*) from tbl_name;

If no particular emphasis is intended, all keywords are written uniformly in uppercase.

In syntax descriptions, square brackets (`[' and `]') are used to indicate optional words or clauses:


When a syntax element consists of a number of alternatives, the alternatives are separated by vertical bars (`|'). When one member from a set of choices may be chosen, the alternatives are listed within square brackets. When one member from a set of choices must be chosen, the alternatives are listed within braces (`{' and `}'):

{DESCRIBE | DESC} tbl_name {col_name | wild}