There are various methods of interacting with a MySQL or MariaDB server to develop or work with a database. A program that interfaces with the server is known as a MySQL client. There are many such clients, but this book focuses on one that best serves the need of interactive users, a text-based client known simply as mysql. It’s the most commonly used interface, recommended for beginners and preferred by advanced users.
There are alternative clients with GUIs, but in the long run they’re not as useful. First, you don’t learn as much while using them. Because they give you visual hints about what to do, you may be able to carry out some basic queries quickly, but you won’t be as well prepared for advanced work. The text-based mysql client causes you to think and remember more—and it’s not that difficult to use or confusing. More importantly, GUIs tend to change often. When they do, you will need to learn where to find what you want in the new version. If you change jobs or go to a customer’s site, or for whatever reason use someone else’s system, they may not use the same GUI with which you are familiar. However, they will always have the mysql client, because it’s installed with the MySQL server. So all examples in this book assume that this is the client you will use. I recommend that when examples are shown, that you try entering them on your computer with the mysql client so that you can reinforce what you’re learning.